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close this book Food Chain - Number 22 - January 1998
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View the document Greetings
View the document Research notes - utilisation of tomato processing by-products
View the document Shea nut processing - possibilities and problems in the choice of technology for women
View the document Booklines
View the document Weaning foods
View the document Latin America pages
View the document Coconut processing in the Mekong delta
View the document Asia pages

Latin America pages

Welcome to the Latin America Pages

As with the Asia Pages, these pages are for our readers in Latin America to share experiences and ideas which have been beneficial to themselves and which they want to share with a wider audience. I look forward to hearing from you all - this is your blank space upon which you can write. Food Chain has already published material from Latin America, but we want to establish a much greater involvement with you, the readers, in this region. It may be that it is easier for you to write in Spanish and direct to me here in Lima. I look forward to receiving your articles and letters. Please send them to me - Daniel Rodriguez at IT Peru, Casilla Postal 18-0620, Lima 18, Peru. Email:

Candy Production


Confectionery products are widely produced by small enterprises, and over the years Food Chain has published short articles on traditional sweets from many countries. However, previously articles have described what are known as low boiled products' such as toffees, fudges and marshmallows. This article describes the manufacture of 'high boiled! sweets (often referred to as candies), where much higher temperatures are used.

Low boiled sweets, in which the sugar mass is heated to about 120°C are comparatively easy to make. The sugar mass remains soft and pliable for some time and can be moulded by hand or poured into moulds. Sugar crystallization is rarely a problem. The production of high boiled sweets with cooking temperatures of up to 160°C is quite a difficult process involving great art and requiring a lot of experience. In this article the authors describe their experiences working with a candy maker in Peru.

As part of IT-Peru's food processing training programme, technical assistance for small-scale entrepreneurs is provided in their own production unit, to complement training courses. The programme has visited approximately 100 small enterprises producing liquors, cookies, soybean sauce, vanilla extract and a wide range of confectionery products. During these visits we began to realise that the particular products made, very much depend on the particular part of Peru from which the families originated. Those producing fried foods for example, tend to have originated from Cuzco in the mountains, while bakers come from another highland area around the town of Huancayo. In other cases products relate to particular family groups that have knowledge and skills passed down from generation to generation. This article describes the case of a family in Lima with a tradition of candy production.

About 15 years ago a Spanish citizen came to Peru, bringing with him all the necessary equipment to establish a small candy factory. He set up business and began training his workers. One of these was Wilder Onocuica, who, after the Spanish owner's death, became the factory manager inheriting all the equipment. He needed workers quickly, so he trained six nephews. This has now resulted in the establishment of six small candy factories, each having specific products based on the creative ability and dynamics of the owner.

We are currently providing technical assistance to Wilder Onocuica and are now considering extending this to the six nephews who we have already visited. When Wilder first started the business, he felt rather unsure and so he hired a skilled worker from a big factory in Lima, who provided valuable assistance in a very creative way. For example, the standard metal moulds available in Lima are expensive, costing US$ 400-500. Together they designed wooden moulds which cost only US$60 and had ten times the capacity of the metal ones. The assistance provided by Intermediate Technology has included simple quality control methods, information on how to obtain sanitary/hygiene certificates, market information, uses of alternative raw materials and in general how to formalize a small business. ness.

Production takes place in a room 5m by 6m which contains the following extremely simple, low-cost equipment:

• One kerosene stove.

• One wooden table covered with formica (2.40 x 0.80m)

• A cooling tank (a rectangular stainless tank 150 x 80cm placed in a wooden vat full of cold water)

• Two aluminium pots of 15-litre capacity.

• An iron pot, with a coarse mesh and internal charcoal heater (used to keep the candy warm and soft)

• One metal hook for candy pulling.

• Aluminium and brass moulds of different shapes. e Wooden moulds.

• A simple set of scales.

The main ingredients used are sugar, cream of tartar, flavours and colours, citric acid and glucose

The most important ingredient is a lot of creative ability and the desire to work.


In a typical batch of candy, 12 kg of sugar is mixed with 4 litres of water and heated on the stove.

After 5 minutes 5g of cream of tartar is added, which causes some inversion of the sugar, (a chemical change in which cane sugar breaks down into smaller sugars - glucose and fructose) and so reduces the risk of crystals forming in the final product. When the syrup is really hot, the sides of the cooking pot are very carefully wiped clean of any spatters of syrup with a piece of clean, damp cloth. If this is not done really carefully there are sure to be sugar crystallization problems. The syrup temperature must reach 162°C. It is then poured into a cooling tray which has previously been greased with 'butter. At this stage colour can be added.

When the mass of candy is cool enough to handle, but is still very hot, it has to be repeatedly stretched. This is done by throwing it over a hook, pulling down and extending it as shown in the photographs. It is heavy, hot work. As the candy is removed from the hook after each pull it is placed in the special container (essentially a bucket with a heater inside and a perforated plate) in order to keep the candy hot and pliable. Finally the candy is rolled out, rather like a bread dough, and placed in moulds as shown in the photographs.

At present, Wilmer produces about 10 different kinds of candies which are packed in bags of ¼, ½ or 1 kg according to the market requirements. Some of these are shown.

Is it profitable? This small company uses about 150kg of sugar a day and in our view appears to be profitable. Its basic costs, in US$ are:

Sugar 150kg at 58c/kg


Other ingredients




Total production cost


Sales value at


Profit *


*Note: this profit calculation does not take account of depreciation, insurance etc.

In this short article we wish to highlight that food processing enterprises, using very simple technologies, are an important source of employment for people of low income in countries like Peru. Mr. Onocuica's enterprise, for example, provides permanent employment directly to six workers and to another five indirectly, through marketing. All of this with a very low capital investment.

This article was written by Ing. Walter Rios and Roaldo Hilario, Ave Jorge Chavez 275, Miraflores, Lima 18 Peru. Tel: (511) 4447055 Fax: (511) 4466621