US 20070014889 A1
The invention is a multi-phase, sheeted chewing gum product, a method and an apparatus for making such a product. The product includes a first mass of a chewing gum formed in a generally flat sheet and a second mass of a confectionery product having a different color than the first mass. The second mass is smaller than the first mass and is embedded in the first mass so as to be visible with the first mass from the top surface of the chewing gum. The method includes the steps of forming the first mass into a slab with a generally flat surface. The second mass is formed into at least one piece which is brought into contact with the flat surface. The slab and the piece are pressed to produce a generally flat sheet which is cut into segments of a desired width, length and shape.
1. A multi colored, sheeted chewing gum product with a top and bottom surface, comprising:
a) a first mass of chewing gum formed in a generally flat sheet; and
b) a second mass of a confectionery product having a different color than the first mass, smaller than the first mass, and embedded in the first mass so as to be visible with the first mass from the top surface of the chewing gum product, the second mass being present in a pattern.
2. The chewing gum product of
3. The chewing gum product of
4. The chewing gum product of
5. The chewing gum product of
6. The chewing gum product of
7. The chewing gum product of
8. The chewing gum product of
9. The chewing gum product of
10. The chewing gum product of
11. The chewing gum product of
12. The chewing gum product of
13. The chewing gum product of claim 111 wherein the bits are formed with nonuniform shapes and sizes.
14. The chewing gum product of claim 111 wherein the first mass of chewing gum is formed into a disk shape.
15. A multi colored, sheeted chewing gum product, comprising:
a) a slab of chewing gum having a first flat surface and a second surface; and
b) a rope of confectionery material embedded into the slab of chewing gum;
wherein the embedded rope of confectionery material is visible at the first flat surface.
16. The chewing gum product of
17. The chewing gum product of
18. The chewing gum product of
19. The chewing gum product of
20. A multi colored, sheeted chewing gum product, comprising:
a) a slab of chewing gum having a first flat surface and a second surface; and
b) a rope of a confectionery material embedded into the slab of chewing gum, the rope being present in an undulating pattern;
wherein the embedded rope of confectionery material is visible at the first flat surface in said undulating pattern.
21. The chewing gum product of
22. A multi colored, sheeted confectionery product with a top and bottom surface, comprising:
a) a first confectionery mass formed in a generally flat sheet; and
b) a second confectionery mass having a different color than the first mass, smaller than the first mass, and embedded in the first mass so as to be visible with the first mass from the top surface of the product, the second mass being present in a pattern.
The present application is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 08/004,240, filed Apr. 7, 1993, issuing as U.S. Pat. No. 7,112,345, which is hereby incorporated by reference.
The present invention relates to the field of chewing gum. More particularly, the present invention relates to sheeted chewing gum which includes more than one component, such as different colors, flavors and/or sweeteners.
It is generally known that novel forms of chewing gum are popular with consumers. Over the years, several novel chewing gum and confection products have been introduced. These novel products have utilized various combinations of flavors, types, shapes, texture and or packaging to interest the consumer. For example, a product sold under the trademark “BUBBLE TAPE®” bubble gum and made by the process described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,882,175 is a six foot roll of bubble gum rolled up in a tape.
Other novel chewing gum products include the product described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,902,519 is commercially available under the name “THUMB SUCKERS®.” This product includes a hard candy sucker in an elastic mold with a bubble gum seal at the bottom of the mold. Still another example is a product known as “BLOW POPS” confectionery which includes a mass of chewing gum surrounded by a hard candy sucker. Another example of a novel product is that sold under the name “TIDAL WAVE®” which is a cube of chewing gum with a hollow center filled with a liquid confection, which liquid confection typically has a recognizable flavor, different from or the same as the chewing gum.
Various attempts to achieve novel appearances of a chewing gum product have been made. For example, several colorants have been used to achieve desired color characteristics. Also, a product sold under the name “FRUIT STRIPES®” chewing gum by Beechnut is printed with a dye so as to have colored stripes running diagonally across a stick of chewing gum.
Briefly stated, the invention is a multi-phase, sheeted chewing gum product, a method and an apparatus for making such a product.
The product includes a first mass of a chewing gum formed in a generally flat sheet and a second mass of a confectionery product having a different color than the first mass. The second mass is smaller than the first mass and is embedded in the first mass so as to be visible with the first mass from the top surface of the chewing gum.
In accordance with a preferred embodiment, the confectionery product is also chewing gum with a different color as well as a different flavor. Also, the product is preferably in the form of a rolled tape with undulating stripes of the second chewing gum running the length of the tape.
The method of the invention includes the steps of forming a first mass of chewing gum into a slab with a generally flat surface. A second mass of a confectionery material is formed into at least one piece which is brought into contact with the flat surface. The slab and the piece are pressed to produce a generally flat sheet. The flat sheet is cut into segments of a desired width, length and shape. Each segment includes some of the first mass with some of said second mass embedded therein and visible with the first mass from the top surface.
In accordance with the preferred method, the confectionery material is chewing gum which is extruded into a plurality of ropes which are laid on top of the first mass in an undulating pattern.
The apparatus of the invention includes means for forming a first mass of chewing gum into a slab with at least one generally flat surface. There is also means for placing at least one piece of a second mass of a confectionery material in contact with the generally flat surface and means for pressing the first and second masses into a generally flat sheet. Means are provided for cutting the generally flat sheet into pieces of chewing gum having the desired size and shape and so as to include some of said first and some of said second mass of chewing gum.
In accordance with a preferred apparatus, there is provided means for extruding a plurality of ropes of a second chewing gum and means for oscillating these ropes a distance across the width of the first slab as it passes beneath so as to produce an undulating pattern of the second chewing gum in the first slab.
One advantage of the product of the present invention is that it is a chewing gum product with a novel appearance. In addition to the novel appearance, the preferred product which includes a second chewing gum with a different flavor provides a vehicle for novel flavor combinations and taste experience for the consumer as the flavors mix when the product is chewed.
An advantage of the method and apparatus of the present invention is that they can be used by modifying conventional gum making methods and apparatus to produce this chewing gum product with a novel appearance.
It is noted that, as used herein, the term chewing gum is intended to have a relatively broad interpretation, including all forms of chewing gum such as bubble gum.
It is noted that, as used herein, the term “confectionery product” is a relatively generic term and is intended to include such products as chewing gum, taffy, marshmallow, chocolate, nougat, gelatin based and starch based candy, and the like.
It is also noted that, as used herein, the term “strip,” as in “strip of chewing gum,” is intended to have a relatively broad meaning including conventional sticks of chewing gum as well as extra long strips, for example, the 6 foot long strips known as BUBBLE TAPE® bubble gum.
It is further noted that, unless otherwise indicated, all percentages are given as percentages by weight of the composition.
The present invention, together with attendant objects and advantages, will be best understood with reference to the detailed description below and the attached drawings.
Referring also to the cross-section in
The second mass is formed from a confectionery product. The confectionery product can be selected from a wide variety of products so long as it is compatible with the chewing gum in the first mass. Preferably, the confectionery product is chewing gum. More preferably, the chewing gum is a bubble gum of a similar formulation to that of the first mass.
One feature of the product of the present invention is that it is multi-colored, that is the second mass has a different color from the first mass. Preferably, the colors are selected so as to show a distinct contrast. Also, the colors are preferably selected so as to represent the flavors of the first and second masses.
Preferably, the chewing gum of the first mass and the confectionery product of the second mass are formulated so as to not only have different colors, but to also have different flavors. Most preferably, the flavors are selected so as to compliment each other.
The most preferred pattern is shown in
An alternative pattern is shown in
Another alternative pattern is shown in
Still another alternative pattern is shown in
Another alternative pattern is shown in
In accordance with the method of the present invention, a first mass of chewing is formed into a slab. The chewing gum in this first mass can be any variety of chewing gum that can be formed into a slab and pressed. Preferably, the chewing gum is a conventional bubble gum formulation including gum base, sweeteners such as powdered sugar and corn syrup, colors and flavors. The exact formulation of the bubble gum is not deemed critical to the invention. The most preferred formulation for the bubble gum in the first mass is as follows:
This bubble gum formulation for the first mass is put together and mixed by conventional methods in conventional apparatus.
After the first mass is formed into a slab with a generally flat top surface, at least one piece of a second mass of a confectionery product is brought into contact with the flat surface. Preferably, this is accomplished by extruding multiple, continuous ropes 83 (see
As stated above, the second mass is preferably chewing gum, most preferably bubble gum. Except for the color, the chewing gum in the second mass may have a formulation identical or at least similar to that of the first mass. However, it has been found to be advantageous to modify the formulation of the first mass so as to make the second mass more easily extruded and stretched. Most preferably, the formulation of the second mass is as follows:
As can be seen, the most preferred bubble gum formulation used for the second mass is similar to that of the first mass except that the citric acid and high potency sweeteners are not added. Also, the most preferred formulation for the second mass includes a slightly higher amount of gum base. To date, it has been found that a formulation without acid extrudes and stretches better in the apparatus described below.
The apparatus for forming the ropes 83 is shown at 63 in
As is common in extruding chewing gum, it is preferable to heat the chewing gum in the second extruder, most preferably to a temperature between about 120 and about 140° F.
After exiting the die 91, the ropes pass over a roller 95 which is made with circumferential grooves 97 to receive the ropes 83. The roller 95 has a surface of Teflon® and is rotated about its axis by belt 96.
After passing over the roller 95, the ropes 83 pass over the roller 101 which also includes circumferential grooves 103. This roller 101 also includes a surface of Teflon® and is rotated about its axis by belt 102.
After passing over the roller 101, the ropes 83 pass under the roller 106, which roller has a surface of Teflon but does not include circumferential grooves. As shown, the roller 106 is preferably biased toward the first slab by a pair of half inch air cylinders 120, most preferably with about 30 P.S.I. of pressure. In this most preferred embodiment, the ropes are flattened somewhat and pressed about half way into the first slab by the roller 106.
As best seen in
Most preferably, the auger (not shown) of the extruder 63 is adjusted so as to extrude the ropes 83 at a linear rate about two thirds that of the slab as it passes below. Also, the angular speed of each of the rollers 95 and 101 is adjusted to account for these different speeds. As a result, the ropes 83 are drawn and made thinner between exiting the die and being pressed into the slab. Most preferably, the ropes are extruded at a speed of about 12 feet per minute and the slab is moving at about 18 feet per minute. As a result, the ropes go from a diameter of about 0.25″ as they exit the die to a diameter of about 0.125″ as they are pressed into the slab.
Preferably, the second mass of a confectionery product will comprise between about 2 and about 30 percent by weight of the total product, more preferably between about 4 and about 20 percent, even more preferably between about 5 and about 10 percent, and most preferably about 8.65 percent.
After the slab and ropes are brought together, they pass underneath a device (not shown) which applies a dusting compound to the gum. Preferably, the device is one such as is customarily used in gum sheeting operations, and the dusting compound is corn starch such as is also customarily used. Naturally, other dusting compounds such as talc may also be used.
Most preferably, the dusting compound is applied at this point in the line, namely after the first mass and second mass are brought together. In this way, it is difficult, if not impossible, for the consumer to separate the two masses in the final product. Alternatively, a dusting compound can be applied to the top of the slab before the ropes of the second mass are applied. When this is done, the stripes of the second mass can be peeled out of the first mass in the final product. Currently, this is considered less desirable.
After the dusting compound is applied, the slab and the ropes pass through a series of rollers 71, 73, 75 and 77 which further flatten the slab and ropes, trim the width of the resultant sheet and score the sheet in the desired dimensions to produce the strips of chewing gum. Collectively, this series of rollers is referred to as a chewing gum sheeting machine.
As can be seen in
As noted above, if the desired form for the chewing product is in the form of a stick of chewing gum, such as the typical 0.75×3×0.055 inch stick of chewing gum, the preferred sheeting machine is a conventional sheeting machine such as that purchased from the Gimpel Manufacturing Company. Conventional sheeting machines typically score the sheet of chewing gum on lines along the length and across the width of the sheet to thereby produce the typical 0.75×3 inch stick of chewing gum upon breaking along the score lines.
If, on the other hand, the desired product is in the preferred form of a long rolled up tape of chewing gum such as that shown in
Referring to Figure to
Actuating means, such as an air cylinder 125 on each side of the roller, is used to push the roller 123 down at the appropriate time to cut the desired length for the tape. In the most preferred embodiment shown, the air cylinders are activated at every fourth complete revolution of the lateral cutting roller 123. At this interval, the sheet is scored at 6 foot lengths. The signal to activate the air cylinders in the depicted embodiment is provided by affixing a protrusion (not shown) to the gear which drives the roller 123. The protrusion is adapted to hit a switch. The switch is connected to a counter which counts the desired number of revolutions, most preferably 4, and then activates a solenoid valve which, in turn, activates the air cylinders 125.
The depth of the lateral score is preferably determined by a point on the journal assembly for the roller 123 coming into contact with a stop on each side of the roller. Currently, the stops as designed for the original machine are at an appropriate height. Alternatively, these stops can be replaced by screws or the like to finely adjust the depth of the cut. Most preferably, the gap left by the lateral score is approximately 0.002″.
After passing under the roller 123, the sheet of confectionery product 137 is carried on a conveyor belt 131. The conveyor belt 131 is similar to that used conventionally, except that it is required to be long enough to carry the full length of the sheet. In the depicted embodiment which is adapted to make 6 foot lengths of tape, the conveyor belt 131 should be at least 7 feet long.
As with conventional stick gum making apparatus, the linear speed of the conveyor belt is intentionally set higher than the linear speed of the sheet coming out of the rollers. Preferably, the linear speed of the sheet is about 90 feet per minute as it exits the rollers, while the linear speed of the conveyor is about 130 feet per minute. As such, the conveyor 131 slides under the sheet 137 until the time at which the sheet passes under the breaking brush 134. The breaking brush is a freely-rotating, cylindrical brush which exerts sufficient downward force on the sheet so that the sheet at that point is positively engaged with the belt 131 below. When this happens, the sheet is pulled at the same speed as the conveyor and the sheet is thus broken at the lateral score line to thereby separate the sheet into the desired length for the rolled up tape.
Referring now also to
The rotating drum is mounted on an arm 175 which pivots about the point 177. A double-acting air cylinder 173 moves the rotating drum between a rolling position, as shown in
The rotating drum is driven by a motor and chain (not shown) preferably between about 240 and about 300 r.p.m. The surface of the rotating drum is preferably polyurethane which has been roughened to increase the friction between the drum and the sheet to be rolled. Preferably, the diameter of the rotating drum is about 4.375″.
Associated with the rotating drum is a curling plate 144 which is mounted on an arm 146. The arm 146 pivots about the axle 148 for the rotating drum 141. The double-acting air cylinder 171 moves the curling plate between a curling position as shown in
Most preferably, the curling plate 144 comprises a block of Teflon with a groove cut in its length. Most preferably, the groove has a radius of 0.375″. When in the curling position, the lowest point on the curling plate 144 is about 0.375″ above the highest point on the conveyor 131.
As shown in
After the curling plate is moved back, the sheet is continued to be rolled by virtue of the movement of the conveyor and the rotating drum. Eventually, the sheet will be completely rolled up into a roll 138. Preferably, each 6 foot sheet is wound with about 17 revolutions. Naturally, sheets of a shorter length would be wound with fewer revolutions. At the speeds of the depicted embodiment, the rolling of each sheet takes less than 2.75 seconds to be completed.
As shown in
As seen in
The embodiment shown in
The embodiment shown in
The embodiment shown in
The second mass of confectionery product gum can be formed into particles of the requisite size by any means, such as chopping, extrusion, slicing and/or scoring.
Preferably, particles of chewing gum are formed by a method that can be described as chipping. In accordance with this chipping method, a mass of chewing gum is made by conventional techniques. The mass of chewing gum is cured at ambient temperature for at least about 4 hours and then sheeted by conventional means to sheets which are about 1.4 mm thick, 248 mm wide and 425 mm long. As is customary in the chewing gum making art, the chewing gum is coated with a dusting agent during the sheeting process. Preferably, the dusting agent is selected from the group consisting of powdered sugar, corn starch, magnesium stearate, calcium stearate and combinations thereof. Most preferably, the dusting agent comprises corn starch.
Preferably, the sheets of chewing are then cooled to a temperature below about 18.3° C. and more preferably to a temperature between about 12.7 and about 18.3° C., most preferably to a temperature of about 14.4° C. It has been found that this cooling step improves the chipping process for the chewing gum.
These cooled sheets are then passed through a chipping machine which has two chipper heads. Each chipper head is made up of a series of about 57 blades which are each about 57 mm in diameter and about 3.2 mm wide. Each chipper blade is spaced from the next blade by a spacer of the same width and with a reduced diameter. Each blade includes a series of ridges which protrude radially about 0.8 mm above the surface of the blade. The two chipping heads are arranged so that the blades of one head are lined up with the spacers of the other head. Also, the heads are arranged so that the blades are intermeshed. In other words, the blades of one head overlap with the blades of the other.
In operation, the chipping machine is set up so that the chipping heads are rotated in opposite directions and a sheet of the bubble gum is fed between the chipping heads. The rotation of the chipping heads pulls the sheet through and the intermesh of the blades shreds the sheet lengthwise in strips about 3.2 mm wide. Also, the ridges on each of the blades score the strips of chewing gum at 3.2 mm intervals.
The scored shreds of chewing gum are then transferred to a ribbon blender wherein the shreds are more assuredly separated into individual pieces about 3.2 mm square. Typically, the shreds are blended for about 5 minutes. It is also preferable to add a dusting agent to the shreds in the ribbon blender. Adding the dusting agent to the ribbon blender coats the raw edges created during the separation process taking place in the ribbon blender, thus reducing the tendency toward agglomeration. Most preferably, corn starch is added to the shreds in the ribbon blender at about 7 percent by weight of the shreds.
As the chewing gum particles exit the ribbon blender, they are made to pass through a screen with openings slightly larger than 3.2 mm. After passing through the screen, the particles are transferred to the bin of the depositing device shown in
As an alternative to using a separate chipping machine, a conventional sheeting machine can be modified to include scoring rolls with ridges designed to score the sheet at the desired intervals.
The shape of the chewing gum particles is not seen to be critical. As a product of the chipping method described above, the most preferred shape is a rectangular block which measures about 3.2 mm×3.2 mm×1.4 mm. Alternatively, other shapes such as spheres and irregular shapes can be used.
Once obtained, the bits of chewing gum can be deposited on top of the slab of the first chewing gum mass in various ways. Most preferably, the bits are deposited by a device such as that shown in
The embodiment shown in
The following examples are provided by way of explanation and illustration. As such, these examples are not to be viewed as limiting the scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.
Example 1 is carried out according to the most preferred embodiment of the present invention. In particular, a first and second mass of bubble gum is made according to the formulations described above. These masses of bubble gum are made up made by the conventional methods. The bubble gum is then cured for about 2 hours.
The first mass, which is red in color, is extruded at a rate of about 18 feet per minute in a slab about 0.375 inches thick and about 12 inches wide.
The second mass, which is yellow in color, is extruded into ropes by the apparatus shown in
The slab with the ropes on top of it is passed through the sheeting machine described above. The resultant sheet is about 0.055 inches thick and is scored at 0.75 intervals and cut every six feet of length. This scored sheet is rolled up on the apparatus shown in U.S. Pat. No. 4,882,175 referred to above. The individual tapes are separated and the product is packaged in a cylindrical cup with a lid such as that shown in this patent.
Example 2 is carried out the same as Example 1 except that the high potency sweeteners are removed from the formulation for the first slab. No change in the extrusion or sheeting operations are observed.
Example 3 is carried out the same as Example 1 except that a candy formulation is used for the second mass. In particular, the formulation had the following ingredients in the amounts shown:
The first 9 ingredients in this list are blended in a steam jacketed kettle at a temperature of about 250° F. with constant agitation. After the ingredients are blended, the steam is turned off and water is run through the jacket. The agitation is continued while the blend cools to about 140° F. At this point, the flavors and fondant are added with beating to blend in thoroughly. The mixture is put into tubs and cured in a hot room (approximate 100° F.). The resultant candy mass is fed into the second extruder, such as that shown above and extruded as undulating stripes on top of a bubble gum slab.
It should be noted that although much of the discussion has involved the use of chewing gum for the second mass of confectionery product, other confectionery products can also be used. Also, although bubble gum is preferred and has been described in most detail, other forms of chewing gum, sugar containing or sugarless, can also be used. Certainly, these and all other modifications which are within the ordinary skill in the art to make are considered to lie within the scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.