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Monday, May 5, 2014

How Gummy Candy is Made

In the early 1920s, Hans Riegel created the first gummy bear and started a company named Haribo to produce and distribute his candies. Trolli created the first gummy worm in the early 1980s, stimulating a competitive market for unique shapes and flavors. Today, Haribo and Trolli are leading brand names in the candy industry and are known for creating unique gummy shapes and flavors, such as Haribo's Smurf gummy candy.

Gummy Ingredients

The main ingredient in most gummy candies is gelatin. This is a protein derived from the collagen found in animal skin, tendons, ligaments and bones. These animal byproducts are boiled in water over low heat for an extended period of time in order to form the gelatin used to create gummy candy. When the gelatin is dried, it takes on the chewy, elastic consistency that is characteristic of gummy candy.

Gelatin softens and eventually liquefies when heated, and that is why gummy candies seem to melt on your tongue if you hold them in your mouth rather than chewing them up immediately. While gelatin is what makes gummy candy unique, it is odorless and colorless. To create the sweet flavors that consumers enjoy, manufacturers mix the following ingredients with gelatin:
  • Flavorings
  • Sweeteners
  • Starches
  • Food coloring
  • Citric acid
Many manufacturers are now creating gummy candy from pectin instead of gelatin. Pectin is made from fruits and plants rather than animal byproducts, so it appeals to vegetarians. These candies are made in virtually the same way as gelatin candy, but the ingredient list varies.

A Gummy is Born

The creation of gummy candy starts at the design table. Creative thinkers determine the shape, flavor and color for the product and create drawings to reflect the design. From gummy bears and worms to sharks and bottles of root beer, these candies start out as fun characters with interesting shapes. Flavors and colors are selected depending on the character of each candy product.

Different companies work through the creative process in their own way. For example, Haribo design teams sketch each gummy candy by hand before creating designs on the computer. Other companies may start out with computer animations of their designs. Either way, the designs are used to create molds that will ensure a uniform shape for each gummy candy produced.

Once the molds are created, a manufacturing plant creates large batches of liquid gelatin or pectin flavored and colored according to the creative design. This liquid product is injected into the molds, and the molds are stored in a drying room. The liquid sets into the chewy, stretchy gummy consistency characteristic of gummy candies.

To prevent the candies from sticking together when packaged, they are covered with a thin layer of wax. The candies are then processed into sealed packages so that the manufacturer can distribute them to stores around the world. To ensure consistency in packaging, the candies are weighed to ensure each package contains the right amount of candy. While most candy is sold in individual packages, some gummies are also sold through bulk candy bins and are shipped to storefronts in bulk packages.

Testing for Quality

Manufacturers must check every batch of gummy candy created to ensure that it meets all industry regulations as well as expectations of quality upheld by the company. After the liquid gelatin or pectin is mixed with the flavorings and other ingredients required by the recipe, it is sent to a quality control laboratory to ensure that it is high enough quality for production. This is done before the actual gummy candy is created, so manufacturing teams can make adjustments as necessary.

Manufacturing plants also implement quality checks before the gummies are packaged for distribution. The final product should have a uniform appearance and taste, and all packaging is checked for tight seals to ensure the candy remains fresh.

The Legacy Lives On

In October 2013, Hans Riegel passed away at the age of 90, but his gummy creations continue to please taste buds around the world as the Haribo company thrives. Competing manufacturers continue to enter the market due to the extreme popularity of gummy candy around the world.


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