How to avoid the “kiss mark” effect on chocolate dragées

The production of panned chocolate products needs to unite both quality and efficiency demands. While efficiency gains in production lead time may go to the expense of the product appearance and cause the so-called “kiss mark” effect after chocolate sealing, there are ways to avoid this inconvenience.

How to avoid the “kiss mark” effect on chocolate dragées

Protecting chocolate dragées

Chocolate or compound coated products are particularly sensitive to fluctuations in temperature, humidity or when exposed to mechanical strain during packaging and transport. Glazing and sealing agents improve the dragées’ resistance by adding a very thin, yet effective protective layer to the surface. Besides protection, the finishing also visibly enhances the appearance of the panned chocolate products and provides a nice, long-lasting gloss.

The “kiss mark” effect

A perfectly sealed chocolate surface ensures that the consumer enjoys a visually appealing piece of candy that melts only where it is supposed to: in the consumer’s mouth. The so-called “kiss mark” effect can pose a risk to this endeavor and therefore be a serious issue in manufacturing. It occurs after the glazing and sealing of the chocolate and often becomes visible when the chocolate dragées are stored together afterwards. Where one dragée contact one another, under-cured or under-dried surface treatments can develop a stickiness that leaves visible marks on the surface of the chocolate pieces. When trying to separate the dragées, the glazing layers are compromised and create the undesired, so-called, “kiss marks”.

Residual humidity is key in the process

“Kiss marks are perhaps one of the most common problems when dealing with chocolate dragées”, comments Javier Miles, CAPOL® Technical Sales Manager. “Yet the issue is challenging to solve due to the variety of potential factors that lead to this undesired phenomenon.” One of the major parameters involved in a “kiss mark” effect is the residual humidity after the glazing process. Most of the glazing agents used in surface treatment for chocolate or compound chocolate are water-based. The water needs to completely evaporate before the sealing agent can be applied. If the residual moisture is too high, this will potentially cause complications in the sealing process.

“We recommend applying cold and dry air”, says Javier. “Still it is not easy to obtain since both parameters are inversely proportional.” With a lack of dry air, processing times increase and negatively affect production lead times, and in some cases, is why operators may be forced to proceed too early with the sealing step of the dragées. Javier explains how this leads to “kiss marks”: “After sealing, the remaining moisture can no longer evaporate freely and it starts to create pressure on the surface. In storage, the residual humidity interacts strongly between the surfaces of two dragées and creates ‘sticky points’ where the glazing layer then gets torn off.” 

Dosage and type of glaze need application expertise

Apart from the process air, the dosage and type of glazing agent play their part. “If the dosage is too high, the chocolate could start to absorb parts of the water”, explains Javier. The absorption of water will additionally hinder the evaporation and drying of the centers. A less than ideal, high residual-relative-humidity can occur.

Moreover, the type of glazing agent selected must be in accordance with all the challenges and process conditions involved. “This is why we have developed over 200 CAPOL® formulations, which will adapt to the most difficult production conditions, ensuring a good and stable gloss”, Javier concludes. Efficiencies in production lead time meanwhile do not need to be neglected. “Often we can achieve incredible efficiencies by adjusting the manufacturing process at the right parameters”, says Javier. “So, the flawless production does not only increase quality, but also efficiency.”

CAPOL® product innovations additionally support the optimization of processing time. The Performance Plus Glazing range for chocolate coated centers was specifically designed for quick drying times and helps manufacturers to decrease processing time significantly.


If you face the “kiss mark” effect or other flaws in your candy manufacturing line, get in touch with our CAPOL® Application Technology team, we are your application experts for surface treatment in the confectionery industry.