Optimising shelf life stability in confectionery

Our shelf-life analysis team helped a global food company optimise their recipe, process and storage conditions for a range of confectionery product prototypes. Find out how we can support the shelf life optimisation of your product here


Recognising that changes in crystallisation during shelf life can create unacceptable textures, our client identified the need to investigate the behaviour of various confectionery products including soft jellies, cookies and hard candy.


Controlling the crystallisation of certain ingredients, such as sucrose, lactose and starch, from initial processing to the end of shelf life is essential because it directly impacts product texture – and consequently product quality. The same defined characteristics need to be maintained no matter when the product is consumed. But a number of different factors can create problems along the way.


Temperature fluctuations during storage, for example, may cause recrystallisation and lead to a gritty or harder than expected product texture.


Unwanted powder agglomeration and stickiness can also develop under certain processing conditions, due to the release of moisture from amorphous to crystalline transitions. Our analytical team worked with the client to investigate whether detrimental crystallisation was taking place.



We used an X-Ray Powder Diffraction (XRPD) to evaluate amorphous/crystalline nature of the raw materials and finished product prototypes, along with lactose and sucrose references.


This analysis was carried out at the start of shelf life. We then subjected the samples to various controlled storage regimes, such as relative humidity, elevated temperature and reduced temperature. By comparing the different sets of data, we were able to assess the effect of different condition on the crystalline state during shelf life.



  • Our lactose analysis determined the presence of amorphous materials and distinguished between polymorphs of alpha and beta lactose. See figures 1 and 2.
  • Cooler storage conditions led to the recrystallisation of starch or sucrose in some cookie recipes; making the product harden during shelf life and unacceptable for consumers.
  • Elevated moisture during storage caused lactose to undergo an amorphous to crystalline transition; resulting in a softer/stickier finished product.
  • Our analytical insights informed the successful development of range of new confectionery products with the required taste, texture and appearance throughout defined shelf life.





Figure 1

Figure 2

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