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How Are Gummy Candies Made?

Unlocking the Secrets: How Are Gummies Made?

The History and Evolution of Gummy Candies


Gummy candies have been delighting taste buds for over a century, but their origins can be traced back even further. The earliest known gummy-like confections were Turkish delight and gum arabic, both of which were chewy, gel-based treats popular in the Middle East.


The modern gummy candy as we know it today was invented in the 1920s by Hans Riegel, a German confectioner. He coined the term "gummi" and started mass producing the bears we've all come to love. Gummy bears quickly gained popularity across Europe and eventually made their way to North America in the 1960s.


In the early days, gummy production was an extremely labor-intensive process. The gummy mixture had to be poured into molds manually and allowed to cool and set before being removed one-by-one. As the popularity of gummies exploded, manufacturers looked for ways to automate and streamline production.


Today's gummy manufacturing facilities are highly automated, with specialized machinery portioning out the gummy slurry, depositing it into molds, and cooling the candies in large-scale cooling tunnels. This mass production process allows companies to produce millions of gummies per day efficiently while maintaining consistent quality.


Key Ingredients and Their Roles


Gelatin: The Backbone of Gummy Candies


Gelatin is the key ingredient that gives gummy candies their distinctive chewy texture and shape. This natural, protein-based substance is derived from collagen, which is found in the bones, cartilage, and skin of animals.


When heated and combined with water, gelatin molecules form a flexible, resilient gel structure that sets as it cools. This unique gelling ability is what allows gummies to maintain their shape while still being soft and pliable. Without gelatin, gummies would simply be a shapeless, liquid mess.


Gelatin can be sourced from various animals, with pork and beef being the most common sources used in commercial gummy production. However, with the growing demand for alternatives, plant-based gelatin substitutes derived from tapioca, seaweed or pectin have also become available for vegetarian and vegan-friendly gummy options.


Regardless of the source, the role of gelatin in gummy manufacturing cannot be overstated. It is the backbone that provides the signature "bite" and chewiness that consumers expect from their favorite gummy treats. Manufacturers carefully control the amount of gelatin used to achieve the desired texture, ensuring a satisfying and consistent gummy experience with every bite.


Sweeteners and Flavorings


While gelatin provides the structure, sweeteners and flavorings are responsible for the irresistible taste of gummy candies. Common sweeteners used include sugar, corn syrup, and glucose syrup. Fruit juices, extracts, and artificial flavors create a vast array of gummy flavors like cherry, orange, and lemon. As consumer preferences shift, companies like Vibes Snacks have started to offer more natural, low sugar, and better for you candy sweeteners like organic erythritol and glycerin are being used. Flavorings from real fruits, spices, and botanicals are also on the rise.


Other Ingredients


Beyond the core ingredients, gummies often contain additional additives. Although artificial colorants can be used, at Vibes snacks we prefer to stick to using fruit extracts as coloring agents to give our gummies their vibrant hues. Texturizing agents like starch can improve the gummy's chew. However, with increasing demand for clean-label products, manufacturers (like Vibes Snacks) are offering more allergen-free, additive-free gummy options using simple, recognizable ingredients.


The Gummy Manufacturing Process


Mixing and Cooking


The gummy manufacturing process begins with precisely combining the core ingredients - pectin, sweeteners, flavorings, and water - into a large, heated kettle or mixing tank. This initial mixture is known as a "slurry." Strict temperature control is crucial during this cooking phase, as even slight variations can impact the final gummy texture and quality.


Skilled operators carefully monitor and adjust the heat to bring the mixture to the optimal target temperature, allowing the pectin to fully dissolve and the ingredients to blend seamlessly. Specialized industrial mixers ensure even heat distribution and prevent scorching or burning.


Precise measurements are also vital, as even minor deviations in the ingredient ratios can throw off the delicate balance required for the perfect gummy. Once the slurry reaches the desired consistency and temperature, it is promptly transferred to a holding tank to maintain its fluid state until the depositing phase.


Depositing and Molding 


From the holding tank, ingredients are pumped through temperature-controlled pipes to the depositing machinery. Here, the liquid is precisely portioned out and deposited into the iconic mold trays. 


The molds themselves are highly specialized, with intricate designs that create the vast array of gummy shapes we know and love – from our signature fruity stars, to classics like bears, worms, rings, and more.


As soon as the slurry is deposited, the molds are rapidly cooled, allowing the liquid to set and take on its final gummy form. This cooling process is tightly controlled to ensure proper gel strength and texture development.


Finishing Touches


Once fully cooled and set, the gummies are carefully removed from their molds. At this stage, some manufacturers may apply a coating, such as citric acid to improve shelf life.


The gummies then undergo a rigorous quality control process, where they are inspected for any defects, proper texture, and flavor. Acceptable gummies are promptly packaged, in bags or containers to extend freshness during shipping and storage.


Proper handling and temperature control during packaging and distribution is essential to maintain the gummies' quality and prevent premature hardening or melting.


Automation and Mass Production


Modern gummy manufacturing facilities rely heavily on automation to meet the immense demand for these popular confections. Highly specialized machinery handles every step, from ingredient mixing to depositing, cooling, and packaging, producing millions of gummies per day with remarkable efficiency and consistency.


The Art of Gummy Crafting


The Art of Gummy Crafting

While the core manufacturing process is driven by science and technology, gummy candy making is also an art form that allows for endless creativity and innovation. Skilled confectioners continuously push the boundaries, crafting unique flavors that captivate taste buds around the world. From exotic tropical blends to daring savory creations, the possibilities are limitless.


The shapes and designs of gummies have also evolved far beyond the classic bear form. Manufacturers invest in custom mold designs that transform gummies into intricate sculptures, pop culture icons, and whimsical creatures that appeal to both children and adults alike.


The Future of Gummy Candies


The future of Gummy Candies

The gummy candy industry shows no signs of slowing down, with exciting innovations and trends on the horizon. As consumer preferences evolve, manufacturers are exploring ways to elevate gummies from mere indulgences to functional, better-for-you snacks.


The demand for healthier gummy options infused with vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial ingredients is on the rise. Manufacturers are experimenting with superfoods, probiotics, and plant-based proteins to create gummies that not only satisfy cravings but also provide nutritional benefits.


Advancements in ingredients and manufacturing techniques are also shaping the future of gummies. Gluten free, Vegan, Fat free, High Fiber and Non GMO like the ones used by Vibes Snacks are becoming increasingly important. Additionally, new production methods may enable the creation of innovative textures and shapes that push the boundaries of what defines a "gummy."


As the industry continues to evolve, one thing remains certain: the enduring appeal of these chewy, flavorful treats will ensure that gummy candies remain a beloved confectionery staple for generations to come.


FAQ Section:


Are gummy candies suitable for vegetarians and vegans? 


Traditional gummy candies contain gelatin derived from animal sources, making them unsuitable for vegetarians and vegans. Vibes Snacks however, offer vegan plant-based alternatives using ingredients like soluble tapioca fiber as gelling agents.


How long do gummy candies typically last? 


The shelf life of gummy candies can vary depending on the ingredients and packaging, but they generally last between 6 months to a year when stored properly in an airtight container at room temperature.


Can homemade gummy candies be made without special equipment? 


While commercial gummy production requires specialized machinery, it is possible to make small batches of homemade gummy candies using common kitchen utensils and molds. However, achieving the same texture and consistency as commercial gummies can be challenging.


Can gummy candies be considered a healthy snack option?


While gummy candies are generally not considered a healthy food, Vibes Snacks offers a better-for-you gummy option fortified with vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and vitamin E as well as other functional ingredients, providing added nutritional value.

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