I wouldn’t say I’m a jaded confectionery editor, but I have seen and consumed a broad range of confections. Granted, probably not as much as my colleague, Crystal Lindell, but then that is literally part of her job — trying out new products.
So what can turn a crusty curmudgeon of an editor into an excitable boy? Well, I must say that seeing one’s name being etched out by a 3D printer in gummy candy and edible glitter does help turn back the clock.
When Bastian Fassin, managing director of Katjes Fassin GmbH, and Melissa Snover, managing director of Katjes Fassin UK Ltd., provided me with a personal demonstration of the Magic Candy Factory concept at this year’s ISM, one couldn‘t help but get excited about the technology and “coolness” of it all.
Simply, the Magic Candy Factory can print a gummy candy weighing between 15-25 grams that’s all natural and vegan, gluten- , dairy- and nut-free and ready to consume in just five minutes. Consumers from seven (and younger) to 70 are able to witness the wonders of technological personalization while consuming a confection formulated by an experienced candy maker.
The Katjes booth at the ISM show was overwhelmed with visitors anxious to see the 3D printer whip out names, logos, designs — just about anything conceivable — in 12 different color and flavor combinations, finished off appropriately in either sweet, glitter, sour or fizzy toppings.
A year in development, Fassin and Snover saw an opportunity in the ongoing improvements in 3D printer technology. Fassin, who has a 3D printer at home, recognized the need to ensure a simplified program for such technology to work in a retail environment.
Snover, who founded the Goody Goody Stuff brand in the UK in 2010, eventually selling it to Cloetta last year, realized that the future of the food industry lies in integrating health and wellness, natural ingredients and lifestyle with new technologies.
The two then collaborated to develop a system that simplifies 3D printing technology and integrates it with Katjes’ formulation expertise to deliver excitement, innovation and personalization at the retail level.
As Fassin emphasizes, “This is not a marketing campaign; it’s a business model. We’ve optimized the process.”
As he then went on to explain, conventionally produced gummy candy normally takes up to 72 hours to
cool. The combination of Katjes’ ingredients along with Magic Candy Factory process allows customers
to make and eat their personalized candy in under 10 minutes.
All candy is produced from a set of premixed, clean and FDA & FSA (UK Food Standards Agency) approved ingredients which are put into a cartridge and then placed into a 3D printer where they are heated and extruded to create a beautiful shape in a specific color/flavor/shape/finishing.
Trained operators can, with the help of the Internet, transpose designs for the customer. This also opens up another avenue for retailers, says Snover.
“When the shop’s closed in the evening, the retailer can be working on wholesale corporate accounts,” she explains.
Currently, the Magic Candy Factory is in negotiations with retailers in Europe and the United States to introduce the concept into stores. And by the way, the Magic Candy Factory’s 3D Printer took first place in ISM’s Innovation Awards. No surprise really.