Candy Trends: From Unicorns to Pearly blingbling

Jan 26, 2022


Candy Trends: From Unicorns to Pearly blingbling

Innovation requires three key elements:

1 In line with the current social culture

2 Visually defined as “interesting” enough to entice buyers to share to social media

3 Promoted by public figures

The "unicorn" possessed the above three points and became the internet celebrity at that time. Another trend has recently emerged in social media, using microscopic elements such as pearlescent and glitter to visually attract consumers' attention. From Bautz'ner's ketchup to glittery Ice Breakers to the new Summer Snow Cone Glitter Gum, these colorful treats are sparkling and more of a candy.

Flash factor: Pearlescent

One way confectioners add a metallic sheen or sparkle to their candy is through pearlescent pigments. FDA-approved mica-based pearlescent pigments can be added up to 1.25% in the following applications:

Mica is a durable and very stable mineral consisting of a flake-like structure that is heat resistant and nonreactive to water, most acids, bases, solvents and oils.

Forming layered pigments, the visual perception of pearlescent pigments is called "optical interference". When light hits the pearlescent pigment particles, the color is created by the interference between the light reflected by the titanium dioxide layer and the light reflected by the pigment particles. For pearlescent pigments to exhibit their sparkling effect under any conditions, there must be unhindered light hitting the pigment particles.

Both the color and the pearlescent particle size affect the overall effect the consumer sees.


Because whites and pastel colors absorb light, pearlescent pigments are less of an influence on these base shades. In contrast, a darker background or base tone reflects the light of pearlescent pigments, so the sparkle effect will be more pronounced.

The size of granule

Larger pearlescent particles provide more surface area for reflection, resulting in a more metallic effect or a larger glitter like craft glitter. The smaller pearlescent particles create a silky sheen effect.

The industry standard for pearlescent particle size is typically 10-60 microns per particle, with a wide variety of particle sizes ranging from 5-500 microns per particle. Pearlescent pigments offer candy manufacturers more opportunities to enrich their products, creating innovative candies that are more visually appealing.

The sparkling food trend is just getting started. With the continuous advancement of pearlescent pigment technology, more pearlescent products will appear. Our R&D team at Sunflower Chemical has developed dust-free pearlescent pigments to reduce flying dust during production. And we are currently researching and developing titanium dioxide-free pearlescent pigments, which have achieved phased results. A small number of models already meet the requirements.

Want to add a pearlescent effect to your product? Our color experts are always ready to serve you.