Ibrahim Belo Written by Ibrahim Belo

Specialist sugars in medicated confectionary and cough syrups

Sugar has been a staple in over-the-counter remedies for centuries. This week, we look at what different sugar products can help the medicine go down.

What is medicated confectionary?

Medicated confectionary is a medicinal product used to treat very minor ailments that take the form of a traditional piece of confectionary. Typically, this a hard-boiled sweet, lozenge or gum containing a formulation of medicine, sweetening agents and often vitamins or minerals that is used to alleviate the symptoms of coughs, colds and sore throats. As a result, medicated confectionary usually experiences a spike in popularity during the winter months.

In addition, their relative ease of access and ability to provide often instant relief make these products highly popular, so much so that Mordor Intelligence expects the global market to be worth $7.5 billion by 2023. As is the case with most pharmaceutical products (explored in more detail in a recent blog ), sugar plays a vital role in these products, both for taste and functional reasons.

Why is sugar used in cough syrups and medicated confectionary?

For medicated confectionary such as lozenges, glucose syrups aid in binding and solidifying the product, allowing the slow release of minerals and medicine to ease congestion, or sooth an irritated throat. Using glucose syrup, a liquid, reduces the risk of potentially damaging crystallisation and helps to ensure the right mouthfeel and texture of the final product.


Treacle improves the mouthfeel of cough syrups

Sugar also finds a home in nearly all cough syrups, however its role in these products differs. Cough syrups have a variety of ingredients and formulas, but most contain vitamins and different medicines to help ease throat irritations, coughs and colds. Without a sweetening agent these are often bitter and not particularly easy to swallow. The use of treacle which contains molasses masks the bitter flavours, as well as improving the mouthfeel and viscosity of the cough syrup and adding colour.

The molasses content in treacle is beneficial in the formulation of cough syrups as it contains a high level of trace minerals such as iron and calcium. Interestingly, due to the colour of cane sugar leaves, molasses can give the syrup a green tint. As a result, very small quantities of caramel can be used to improve colour to give it the red hue we often see. To extend the shelf life of a syrup, sugar glucose is best used as it can be stored for long periods of time.

What is the benefit of using Ragus Pure Sugars’ products?

As treacle, sugar glucose and caramel are all liquid solutions, the production of both cough mixture and medicated confectionary is made more energy efficient and economical. Unlike using crystalline, the sugar does not need to be dissolved into a liquid and then cooled. Using a liquid sugar product also reduces the manual handling required and no packaging handling therefore also reducing labour costs.

At Ragus Pure Sugars each syrup produced is tested to the highest standards in our state-of-the-art factory to ensure quality and consistency across all products to help you produce uniform products. We offer a range of products to suit different applications and offer consultations to talk through your requirements to help find a sugar that meets your needs.