North West sweet expert helps launch sugar-free gum in Guyana

Confectioner, Andy Baxendale, FDMB North West

UK confectionery expert Andy Baxendale is helping to launch sugar-free gum in Guyana after agreeing a deal to help the country’s leading sweet manufacturer.

Andy has just returned from the South American country’s capital, Georgetown, where he taught staff at Edward B Beharry and Co. Ltd how to pan the glossy exterior for the gum.

The company is trying to capture the local market before possibly exporting its new product, to take advantage of the move towards sugar-free sweets. The centre of the gum is also being made in-house.

Machinery for the gum production was installed two weeks before Andy’s arrival and he taught staff the art of panning using xylitol as a replacement for sugar.

Andy, from Wigan, said: “The process is to make a solution of the xylitol, spray it onto the gum centre and when it reaches the desired weight take it out of the pans and let it dry. Once dry it can be polished to a high shine.

“The staff had no experience when I went – I taught them from scratch, both processing and product knowledge.”

Known throughout the industry as The Sweet Consultant, Andy Baxendale has 23 years experience in the confectionery business with a Master of Science (MSc) in Advanced Food Manufacture.

Andy is a former product development manager for Chewits a respected national consultant in every aspect of confectionery production.

He has extensive knowledge of regulation and legislation in the industry, advising companies on everything from recipes to staff training and enhanced production techniques.

Recently he has been one of the stars of the hit BBC 2 confectionery show The Sweet Makers.

He is currently working to set up a National Academy of sweets to teach a new generation the art of confectionery production and development.