US drug maker Warner-Lambert has patented compositions that use fats to suppress the unpleasant mouthfeel of functional ingredients in hard confectionery composition. More specifically it concerns the use of saturated fats or partial vegetable oils. Functional ingredients are increasingly used in food products including confectionery, but some of them, notably mineral salts and botanicals (such as ginko biloba, kola nut or Echinacea), are associated with a negative mouthfeel, usually an unpleasant tingling sensation or astringency.


Protected under US patent number 6,242,019, the abstract reads:


    The present invention provides improved confectionery compositions which have a substantial reduction in the unpleasant organoleptic sensations associated with the release of functional ingredients from the confection in the oral cavity. The confectionery composition comprises a confectionery base, a functional ingredient which is a botanical or a mineral or a mineral salt having an unpleasant mouthfeel, and from about 0.5% to about 5.0% by weight of the composition of one or more fats, said amount being effective to suppress the unpleasant mouthfeel of the functional ingredient. For botanicals the confectionery composition is a hard boiled candy composition or a hard gum composition and the fat is one or more partially hydrogenated vegetable oils or saturated fats. For minerals or their salts the confection is a hard boiled candy composition and the fat is one or more partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. As a result of the present invention, improved hard confectionery products are provided which have a substantial reduction in the unpleasant organoleptic sensations associated with the functional ingredients upon release of the functional ingredient from the confection in the oral cavity.

The first claim (of nine) is for:


    A method for suppressing the unpleasant mouthfeel of a hard boiled candy composition which contains a mineral or mineral salt having an unpleasant mouthfeel, which comprises

    (a) providing a confectionery base containing a mineral or mineral salt having an unpleasant mouthfeel, and,

    (b) adding thereto a material to suppress said unpleasant mouthfeel of said mineral or mineral salt, said material consisting essentially of one or more partially hydrogenated vegetable oils in an amount of from about 0.5% to about 5.0% by weight of said composition said amount being effective to suppress said unpleasant mouthfeel of said mineral or mineral salt.

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