Natural Products Insider is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Generating yummy gummies

Article-Generating yummy gummies

Gummi formulations can be modified to create strong new product design.

Gummi products are frequently linked with bears, but the market for these products has assumed, if anything, bullish proportions in recent years, making them strong candidates for new product design.

The basic gummi formulation is comprised of sweeteners, gelling agents, acidulants, colors and flavors. This formulation can be modified by using alternate sugars, varying gelling-agent levels and blends, and adding gums and starches to reduce the setting time. The design objective is achieving the proper texture, sweetness, flavor release and storage properties. European gummies tend to be tougher and possess more bite or tendency to cleave on chewing. U.S. products tend to be softer and chewier.

Sweet dreams

Sugars represent the largest component of gummies, approximately 75% on a dry-weight basis. Typically, the sugar with the largest concentration in a gummi formulation is sucrose, ranging between 40% and 50%. Sucrose supplies the sweetness, tenderness and moisture retention required to develop product structure.

Gummies require an extra-fine granulated grade of sucrose, having a minimum 99.9% sucrose, 0.03% water, 0.02% ash content, and a 0.02% invert-sugar level. The bulk density should be 48% to 53% lb./cu. ft. Granulation should be 90% through a 40 and retained on a 70 mesh. Color should be water white. Sucrose also is supplied as a syrup, although the resultant shipping and handling costs pose concerns. For manufacturers who would prepare and hold a separate sucrose syrup, handling considerations also exist, as microbiological growth dictates use within 60 days and storage between 70°F and 100°F. To prevent microbiological growth and contamination, storage-tank head space should be protected with UV lamps and filtered, forced-air circulation.

Besides sucrose, several other sugars are used to provide the proper degree of texture, crystal inhibition, moisture retention and sweetness.

Corn syrups

In gummies, corn syrups are highly functional ingredients, preventing crystallization of the sucrose in the high solids (80% to 83%) content of the finished product. They also prevent dextrose crystallization. The resulting sugar blend forms a glass, adding to the desired gummi texture. Corn syrups are prepared from corn starches hydrolyzed to yield sugars. The greater the extent to which the syrups are hydrolyzed, the higher the DE (or dextrose equivalent) attained. The typical products used in gummi formulations are 42 DE corn syrup and 63 DE corn syrup. Ion-exchanging the syrups removes minerals and catalytic metals, as well as proteins that could lead to Maillard browning.

There are distinct advantages to using any of the corn syrups that are available today, says Henry Nonaka, senior manager, customer support-food, Corn Products International, Bedford Park, IL. "The 42 DE syrup provides excellent control of crystallization and texture, but due to the lower reducing sugar level requires the addition of a simple sugar in the form of dextrose, fructose or invert," Nonaka says. "The 63 DE syrup has a higher reducing sugar level and usually does not require additional simple sugars if added at a higher percentage of the overall sugars."

Corn syrups, particularly ion-exchanged refined, have a low color and excellent color stability when properly handled. The taste is clean and enhances flavors. Sweetness varies, depending on DE. 42 DE is about 50%, while 62 DE is about 60% the sweetness of sucrose. These numbers may vary, depending on the application and the presence of other food ingredients.


Dextrose can be used as part of the gummi formulation to control moisture retention and texture. The monohydrate product is 99.2% dextrose on a dry basis, has 99.5 DE and 8.5% water. Dextrose syrups are available, but the shipping and holding temperature, microbial controls, and costs make it a more expensive ingredient compared to corn syrups.


Maltose is a reducing disaccharide composed of two glucose units, only one of which is reducing. The tendency to Maillard-coloration reactions is reduced by one-third, compared to dextrose. The sweetness level is 54, relative to sucrose at 100. Higher-maltose syrups may be used to replace regular corn syrups with several advantages. Less color and flavor development enhances the colors and flavor typically added to the formulation. This is especially true if the syrup has been ion-exchanged. It is possible to add larger ratios of corn syrup without adding excess reducing sugars and increasing the viscosity prior to depositing. "While high-maltose syrup has enjoyed limited use in confections, its versatility, coupled with the specialized nature of the candy maker's requirements, make it an ideal product for the future," says Nonaka.


The shelf life of the gummi candy is largely controlled by the reducing-sugar content of the finished product. Excess levels will cause sweating and sticking, while insufficient levels will cause premature drying and hardness. This is especially critical for candy that sits on the counter unwrapped. The reducing sugars are contributed in varying amounts by the different types of sweetener. The level in the finished candy can then be calculated taking into account the content of each sugar and the degree of inversion of the batch while processing. The optimum level of reducing sugar will depend on desired handling and shelf-life expectancy.

Fructose, high fructose corn syrup, and invert sugar - if readily available - can be used in limited amounts in combination with 42 DE corn syrup to improve humectancy and contribute to a more tender texture. However, caution must be used to not use an excess, or stickiness will develop.

Hold the sugar

Any sugar-free gummi must share the same properties as its sugar-based counterpart to be successful. It's certainly a formidable task to achieve a similar chewiness, water-holding capacity, non-stickiness, non-crystallization and sweetness. Designing a system with the same bulk is a reach in sugar replacement. Fortunately, some ingredients can provide gummies of agreeable properties. Among polyols, hydrogenated starch hydrolyzates (HSH) and sorbitol are chief candidates, with the former leading the pack. Xylitol, mannitol, maltitol, and hydrogenated glucose or maltose syrups also play various roles or provide additive functions.

"Lycasin(r) is an HSH prepared from a selected maltose syrup which is hydrogenated to convert some of the reducing sugars to polyols," says Ben Moser, director, applications development, Roquette America, Inc., Keokuk, IA. "It is non-crystallizing, and possesses humectant and sweetness properties. The sweetness level is about 75% that of sucrose on a solids basis, and it can be synergistic with other sweeteners. The product is capable of retaining water, producing chewiness and shelf life; 85% Lycasin can be used as the only bulking agent in a gummi product."

When developing a sugar-free product, the end properties will determine which blend of bulking agents and sweeteners to use. Designing lower-calorie gummi confections requires a blend of polyols. It also might involve other carbohydrates, such as maltodextrins in conjunction with high-intensity sweeteners, such as acesulfame-K and/or aspartame. Suppliers can help with selection of ingredients with specific functionalities in the design process. Texture and formulation ingredients (such as sweeteners, flavors and acids) need to be altered when working with low-calorie products.

"With a sugar-based gummi, you may be using 6.5% gelatin," says Mike Tripodi, Ph.D., applications specialist, Roquette America. "With a polyol base, you have to move to 7.5% to 8.0% gelatin. A possible reason might be the high affinity for water of the polyols. With a sugar-free formulation, you need to be below the isoelectric point of gelatin (pH 4.7 to 5.0) for gels to form as well. The polyols do not buffer, and so the product must contain a buffer, such as citrate, to prevent drift toward the isoelectric point." Corn syrups that are ion-exchanged will have the same property.

"The basic procedure for preparing a Lycasin-based gummi consists of using the syrup at 85% solids," says Tom Parady, specialist, food applications, Roquette America. "It is not too different from the sugar-based product. The gelatin solution is blended into the syrup, where it is run through a HTST cooker, and is drawn into a nearly full vacuum chamber to dry and cool. The product then proceeds to the blending and metering area, where it is treated with additives and pumped into the product lines."

Designers also need to know the FDA status of the polyols and any label requirements. Xylitol and mannitol are listed as food additives. Sorbitol is GRAS, with the proviso that if 50 grams daily consumption is expected for an adult, the product must contain a label warning of its laxative properties. Lycasin is self-affirmed GRAS, meaning FDA has accepted the status based on petitions reviewed. Maltitol is pending GRAS status.

No matter what the calorie count, the goal is to attain texture comparable to the sugar-sweetened gummi products. FDA has released some "letters of non-objection to caloric claims" for polyols. Sorbitol rates 2.6 calories per gram on a dry-weight basis under this scenario. Xylitol and HSH's are rated at 3.0 calories per gram.

"The challenge with sugar-free confections is not just replacing the sweetness, but also the bulk," says Jessica Aldrich, technical sweetener specialist, Nutrinova, Inc., Somerset, NJ. "The sweetness of a product comes from the bulking agents used, as well as high-intensity sweeteners. A blend of bulking agents and sweeteners must be chosen to optimize the tastes and flavors. Attaining a pleasant level of sweetness, which does not inhibit flavors, can be achieved by using Sunett alone, or in combination with other high-intensity sweeteners."

Acesulfame-K stands up to heat and pH conditions. It also does not interact with other ingredients. Aspartame has a later onset of sweetness that tends to linger but carries flavor well. Combining high-intensity sweeteners yields a more balanced sweetness and flavor profile, especially in conjunction with some sweetness and body coming from bulking agents. Either sweetener can be used as the only added sweetener, though acesulfame-K can carry some bitterness. Aspartame has an optimum stability at pH 4.2. Above and below that pH, the aspartame will degrade in solution over time. The water activity of gummi confections at about 0.65 may somewhat help the stability. Balancing the sweetness, acidity and flavors is required to achieve an acceptable lower-calorie gummi product.

Show and gel

The primary gelling agent in American gummies is the protein, gelatin, which develops a chewy structure. Gelatin forms thermally reversible gels, which can pose shelf-life problems. The molecule forms a triple helical coil. At gelling temperatures, it can re-form helical regions in the chains, trapping water. The larger the relative size of the gelatin molecular chains, the greater the gel strength. Higher concentrations of gelatin also increase gel strength.

Gel strength is rated by the bloom strength and measured on a bloom gelometer. The standard test consists of a 6.67% weight-per-weight solution of the gelatin that has been chilled in a bloom jar at 50°F for 16 to 18 hours. "Bloom strength" is defined as the weight (measured in grams) required to produce a depression of 4 mm depth in a surface gel by a plate of defined shape and size. The typical strengths of gelatins used for gummies is 175 to 250 grams, or bloom.

Gel strength is important in attaining and retaining gummi structure, because high temperature and acidic conditions degrade gelatins. Higher gel strengths are less susceptible to this degradation. Under processing conditions, the gummi formulation must be quickly prepared and promptly cooled to prevent gel-structure loss. During storage, temperature might again affect the integrity of the formed pieces in transit to the retailer.

Gelatins are classed as Type A (acid hydrolyzed derived from pork skin) or Type B (alkali hydrolyzed derived from beef skin or bone). "Both products may be used in gummi formulations, though Type A is the choice of most U.S. confectionary companies," says Tim Dyer, technical manager, Leiner Davis Gelatin US, Great Neck, NY. "In formulations of 100% Type B beef skin, there is a tendency toward Maillard-reaction browning at cook temperatures of above 230°F. With blending Type A and Type B, higher cook temperatures are achievable without browning. This allows the gummi manufacturer to take advantage of the customarily lower-priced Type B beef-skin gelatin."

Carbohydrate collaborators

Other carbohydrates can play significant roles in improving gummies. Chief among these are food gums (such as pectins), modified starches, maltodextrins and polyols. Pectins and starches reduce the setting time of gummi products, a major manufacturing cost. Pectins and starches act as gelling agents as well. Maltodextrins add solids without sweetness, as the DE is below 20. These corn hydrolyzates add body and texture to gummies, and also act as crystal inhibitors. At low levels, polyols (such as sorbitol) are used in gummi formulations as humectants to prevent drying out during storage. Pectins and food gums also function as humectants.

Pectins are complex sugar-and-acid compounds found in plant cell walls. Light hydrolysis of dry raw stock, such as lemon peels, yields 30% to 40% water-soluble pectins. Due to their structure, pectins are able to form gels with sugars and acids. They can be used as the only gelling agent in firmer gel confections of the European type. They exhibit a clean break or bite, more than the chewiness and softness of the American version. Pectin gummies provide excellent flavor release.

The gelling type depends on the setting time for the particular formulation and is chosen to prevent precipitation and early gelling. "Faster setting times are achieved using pectins as an adjunct without radically altering the chew," says Andy Hoefler, senior research chemist, Hercules Incorporated, Wilmington, DE. "Pectin replaces 10% of the gelatin. Another advantage of the pectin is that remelt occurs at higher temperatures to protect product in shipping." Levels of 0.1% to 0.5% pectin may be substituted for an equivalent amount of gelatin in a formulation. At 0.5% pectin and 6.5% gelatin, the texture approaches that of 7.0% gelatin alone. Additionally, the remelt temperature of the gummi product will be greatly increased. At 0.5% pectin, the remelt temperature will increase 20°F from about 86°F to about 104°F. Other bloom gelatins may be used at appropriate levels to attain the same texture. The critical point is maintaining the in-process pH of the product between 4.5 and 5.0, and lowering the pH to be in the range of 3.0 to 3.3 prior to depositing, to avoid co-precipitation of the gelatin and pectin.

Higher-DE corn syrup or invert sugar may be substituted for isofructose, but some property changes might occur. For instance, the above formulation might contain 4.5% to 5.0% 250 bloom gelatin to replace the 6.5% 150 bloom gelatin. The buffer, acid or pectin type might require adjustments to accommodate the differences in properties of the different bloom strengths. The citrate buffer holds the pH above 4.5 to prevent gelatin-pectin precipitation, and prevents the pH from rising above 5.0, which reduces pectin's heat stability. Acid is added at the end of cooling to adjust the batch to pH 3.0 to 3.3 for proper gelling. The pH must be above 3.0 to prevent graininess in the product.

Modified food starches also reduce set time for the gummi clan. Product efficiency can be increased and costs reduced by using 1% to 2% starch. Gelatin and modified-starch blends will have better acid and heat stability with somewhat reduced cost. The texture tends to be shorter and less elastic. Some cloudiness and flavor-masking might develop. Gel products with starch tend to be softer and stickier.

On the outside

Molding starches are used to coat candy molds and ensure the release of the cooled candy from the molds. They consist of unmodified starches that contain an added oil at about 0.1% weight to allow the mold shape to be formed. Typically, in the United States, mineral oil is used, as it is stable and FDA-approved. Products containing vegetable oils also are available; these must be treated with antioxidants such as TBHQ, BHA or BHT to deter rancidity. During processing, the starch is monitored for quality parameters such as oil concentration, moisture levels and gummi grit. As the starch may become dextrinized by the gummi acids, the titratable acidity is monitored as well. During production, a certain percentage of starch is replaced as necessary to maintain the quality standards. Periodically, the starch used in a molding machine will be replaced.

Polishing agents function in two ways to complete the gummi piece. They are composed of carnauba wax at about 2%, plus mineral oils, vegetable oils with antioxidants, and medium-chain triglycerides. As a gloss coating, they give the gummi product a bright appearance and color. They also add clarity to the pieces. Major benefits are prevention of stickiness and moisture loss.

The polishing agent can contain d-limonene to add a fresh scent to the package upon opening. Typically, 0.1% to 0.2% is the suggested coating weight. Consideration should be given to the packaging material, as compatibility with the polish oils needs to be established. Medium-chain triglycerides might act as a solvent toward some plasticizers in the package, leaving opaque spots in the packaging. These oils also can be hydrolyzed by enzymes in the starch. Partially hydrogenated vegetable oils that melt below 60° to 65°F can develop an irreversible loss of gloss. Selecting the proper polishing agent can avoid delays in packaging speed and higher costs in the long run.

A popular choice

The gummi group has achieved popularity for three main reasons. That chewy texture, which attracts kids and adults who are kids at heart, is perhaps the product's most appealing aspect. Children are drawn to the wild colors and the creatures that wear them. But these impressive attributes pale in comparison to the flood of flavors that rush out of a handful of well-designed gummies.

Flavor and taste ingredients can be both critical and problematic. The primary taste ingredient is, of course, the sweetener blend, which serves to modify flavor perception. The basic gelled structure has a tendency to hold flavors, although more release can be obtained by using adjuvants, such as pectins. Also important to modifying and delivering defined fruit notes are food acids, such as citric acid and malic acid, which also are required to develop gel structure.

"In gummi confections, flavors employed are generally artificial, or artificial and natural," says Mike Lynch, vice president, flavor division, H&R Florasynth, Inc., Teterboro, NJ. "They are concentrated flavors to overcome any retention due to the gelatin, as well as to compensate for losses through the cooking and cooling stages; 10% to 15% more flavor than the recommended level may be needed." Moisture level is important as well, which provides more flavor perception.

"A key situation is when you have a red piece," says Ernie Semanski, H&R Florasynth. "Flavors need to be modified to yield recognition in a given colored gummi. For instance, a given shade of Red #40 should deliver a cherry note, whereas a darker shade might connote a raspberry flavor. Flavors can be modified where necessary to deliver the proper blend of notes for the given flavor. We have been showing a lot of blended flavors lately that appeal to kids and adults, such as tropical and berry blends."

A floral note can be added to raspberry flavor to distinguish the red gummi in a single flavor, according to Nancy Laskey, H&R Florasynth. "With blended flavors, such as a cherry/berry combination, the benzaldehyde note of the cherry might be diminished by the floral notes of the raspberry," she says. "You can reduce the floral notes that are coming through strongly from the gel. The resultant flavor would be unbalanced or indiscernible without definition from top notes." Tropical flavor combinations also might need tweaking to deliver strong characteristic notes. It's not necessary for any gummi flavors to be very complex, just readily definable.

Color my world

Due to their stability, low use levels and low cost, certified colors are typically used to brighten the gummi picture. Several naturally derived colors also are utilized.

"In practical terms, some of the certifieds have limitations," says Byron Madkins, associate chemist, Warner-Jenkinson Company, Inc., St. Louis. "Blue #2 has low solubility, and poor stability to pH, light and heat. Red #3 has rather low light stability and will precipitate below pH 3. Green #3 is fairly expensive, so that the palate of candy colors comes down to basically Blue #1, Red #40, and Yellows #5 and #6."

Nevertheless, as these are good primary colors, blends of these dyes will yield satisfactory shades for many applications. Blue #1 and Red #40 have good compatibility with food ingredients, while the yellow dyes have somewhat more moderate compatibility with food ingredients.

The exempt colors are less stable in candy systems, with red cabbage, b-carotene and acid-proof cochineal extract having some potential in candy applications. Heat and light stabilities range from fair-to-good in cabbage, to good in beta-carotene, to excellent in cochineal. Cabbage produces shades of red to pink in acidic conditions below 3.8 pH. As pH rises toward 7.0, the color changes to a blue hue. As with other anthocyanins at that pH, it isn't stable. Acid-proof cochineal extracts yield some pink to magenta red shades, but no exempt blues exist to yield the blue, green and purple shades needed.

In the United States, chlorophylls are permitted for pharmaceuticals, not foods. Chlorophylls also aren't very stable to heat and light. beta-carotene, which can be label-friendly, lends its yellow-orange shades if limited in color combinations with the other available exempt colors. The excellent stability of the acid-proof cochineal product can be useful even in a blend with certified blues to yield a full spectrum from magenta to violet. "Warner-Jenkinson cochineal and carmine products have been certified as kosher colors by Rabbi David I. Sheinkopf, Kashruth consultant from Syracuse, NY," says Gale Myers, manager, applications development, Warner-Jenkinson. "Further approval should be secured from rabbinical councils in your area of distribution prior to development of a product with the carmine products."

Processing parameters

For an item so small, the budget for gummies can prove deceptively large.

"Costs for production equipment and buildings for conditioning the products make large-scale manufacture of these products an expensive proposition," says Paul Richards, president, Knechtel Laboratories, Skokie, IL, "and batch-preparation methods would only be applicable to high-end 'gourmet' products for adults." Typically, the commodity gummi is run around the clock with continuous cooking and forming techniques. These are limited in speed, primarily by the conditioning rooms used to reduce the moisture level to the desired level, which is about 20%. These facilities present a large cost factor in capital and operation.

Production begins with blending of the sucrose, corn syrup, other sugars if used, gelatin in solution and/or additional gelling agents in solution. The blend is fed to a high-temperature, short-time jet cooker, in which the required solids level (78%) is achieved. The blend leaves the cooker, cooling rapidly in a vacuum chamber. The mixture is fed to mixing pumps, into which monitored amounts of color, flavor and other ingredient solutions are added and mixed to achieve desired concentrations. These systems can contain multiple pump lines to produce different flavor and color products from the primary cooked-syrup stream. Finally, the acid solutions are pumped at the required concentrations into the appropriate product line for blending. The final blends are pumped continuously to the molding lines for deposition.

"Deposition of the gummies is conducted in large units, called 'moguls,' which accomplishes several functions in the process," says Bob Boutin, executive vice president, Knechtel Laboratories. Trays of molding starch on racks are delivered to the moguls. The units remove the trays, turning them over to remove the prior-used starch for recycling. The starch is screened, tested and recycled with the addition of a small percentage of starch to maintain levels and starch quality. The trays move through the mogul to the mold-impression area where the various shapes are pressed into the starch. The trays proceed to the filling section, where the fluid composition is filled via nozzles into the impressions in the starch. The next section covers the filled molds with a starch layer for conditioning. The mogul then stacks the trays on the racks, which are moved to the conditioning rooms.

"The conditioning areas are clean rooms, which are carefully controlled and monitored to maintain the correct temperature status and humidity levels to produce a gummi of even moisture content throughout the candy piece," Boutin explains.

After pouring the molds and conditioning in the starch, the target moisture level is 17% to 20%. "The air is filtered to remove starch dust, heated at about 70°F, and dehumidified as necessary to maintain the changing requirements of conditioning," Boutin says. "Trays on the top of, or inside, the drying racks lose moisture to the starch at different rates, so that all storage racks within a given room must be adjusted during conditioning to yield a consistent product. Obviously, the quantity of candy that can be turned out daily by continuous equipment requires huge areas for conditioning storage."

Setting times are a factor of the gummi composition. These are determined primarily by the gelling agent or agents, as well as processing conditions. Formulations that reduce the setting time, while yielding the needed textures and other quality features for the product, can significantly reduce storage and equipment costs. As mentioned, selection of gelatins and modifiers of the gel set time are useful in this regard, although texture attributes, water retention, flavor delivery, re-melt temperatures and non-sticky surfaces must be achieved. An average range of setting time for gelatin-based gummies is 18 to 24 hours. Bloom strength of gelatin plateaus at about 20 hours, with significant bloom developing at 10 hours, depending on the other ingredients.

Efforts at set-time reduction have to be thoroughly tested on lab and pilot-plant scales prior to preparation of commercial quantities.

Test parameters for ingredients include gelatin color and clarity in a 6.67% weight-per-weight solution. The gelatin powder should be tested for ash content and heavy metals. The pH of the blended, cooked product prior to deposition should be tested. Additionally, solids level, texture and clarity of the finished product should be monitored.

Polishing off the pack

Product drying is a major concern in conditioning, as the ideal moisture level ranges from 17% to 20% following the setting procedure. The racks are removed from the conditioning areas at that point, moving to the polishing room. The gummi pieces are mechanically dumped from the pans and the starch is returned for recycling cleanup. To achieve a clean release from the mold, the moisture content of the starch must be low enough. The starch residue on the pieces must then be shaken off or blown free to provide a clean gummi surface. Any white starch spots left on the surface will appear to be mold growth and must be absent prior to polishing.

"The clean pieces proceed to a polishing drum, where the polishing compound is either spray-coated on the product tumbling in the drum, or is sometimes ladled precisely into the batch," Savage says. "The application of polish must be even and controlled to prevent pooling of coating in the drum." Twelve to 15 minutes must elapse for the coating to evenly cover all surfaces. Drying must not proceed too quickly or uneven coating might result. Trials will be required to determine the proper conditions for uniform appearance and gloss.


When gummi production experiences quality or mechanical problems, constant system monitoring pays off. "A given syrup batch in the blending hopper from the cooking line can be halted for trouble-shooting," Boutin explains. "That way, only the smaller, intermediate product in the hopper will be lost while tracing the problem." According to Boutin, possible problems, and their solutions, include:

Soft texture. Soft texture can occur due to low gelatin concentrations, or poor hydration and undissolved gelatin. Degradation of the gelatin can occur at high cooking temperatures or extended holding times at elevated temperatures. Gelatin also is degraded by excess acid levels or holding at high temperatures after acidification. The humectant level may be too high, retaining excessive water. Another possible cause could be too high a ratio of reducing sugar to corn syrup. The reducing-sugar fraction must be lower to prevent Maillard reactions.

Crystallization/graining problems. Crystallization can occur with low corn-syrup levels. This also might happen if the dextrose level is too high. Total soluble solids must not be too low, and the gelatin concentration (including degradation losses) must be at the proper level for gelling. Humectant level must be high enough to prevent graining.

Stickiness. Ingredient levels leading to stickiness in the final product include high levels of corn syrups, high humectants, low polish levels, or degraded gelatins. Physical situations include product that hasn't been dried sufficiently or has been stored under humid conditions.

Stringing. Stringing in the depositor leaves a tail that is too long for a self-respecting gummi bear. Causes relate to high syrup solids, degraded gelatin or low depositing temperatures.

Starch adhesion. Molding starch that is too moist will adhere to the warm gummi syrup. Moisture in low- solids syrup will produce the same adhering effect. If the dryer is run too high, the syrup also will adhere to the warmer starch. Oil levels in the molding must be monitored so that low levels do not create the same situation.


Last, but not least, it's important to focus on the exterior, because poorly designed packaging can diminish overall quality, no matter how good the gummies are going into the bag. "Packaging needs to be considered first in product development," says Craig Savage, senior research scientist, Mantrose-Bradshaw-Zinsser Group, Westport, CT. "First, the package must be laminated to incorporate moisture and oxygen barriers." A moisture barrier prevents drying of the product in storage, which would leave a tough, less desirable gummi. The oxygen barrier reduces the influx of oxygen, which will degrade flavors.

External layers of packaging must be impervious to the flavors as well, as they can be strong solvents for certain types of plasticizers in the layer. Flavors can be absorbed by the plastic pack, causing flavor losses and package clouding. "Polishing products containing medium-chain triglyceride oils can act as solvents toward plasticizers in the package," Savage explains. "It is best to consult with packaging suppliers prior to developing a product in order to assure compatibility of packaging as an integral part of the design."

The issue of product storage has, in fact, several important factors. Bears are solitary creatures, even the gummi type, and when they leave the package, they like to exit one by one. This feature of the creature that makes it so appealing also presents a problem for the manufacturer. The confection's inherent stickiness and the fact that it is a thermally reversible gel might provide the consumer with a well-knit clan of bears, or maybe just an amorphous clump. "Formulation plays a part in the solution to the problems, as well as the polish used," Savage says. "Too much fructose or invert sugar in the formulation can lead to stickiness." Polishes are applied to produce sheen and to hinder clumping. The other important factor is storage; the products should be kept close to 70°F to prevent the gel from melting. While not always possible in warmer climates or seasons, cooling of the product in shipping and warehousing is mandated whenever possible to ensure the highest quality. Temperatures exceeding 90°F will cause loss of the gel unless modified formulations are used.

Gel-type candies have come out of hibernation, taking on the form of bears and other creatures that strongly appeal to young people. A possible next phase in gummies is incorporating healthful components. This might appeal to adults and parents who want to give their kids more than just a sweet treat.

Certainly, fruit-based confections for kids are a natural. The next phase is incorporating healthful ingredients into gummies for kids and adults. These gummi products are available with fruit purees and/or juices, prepared with modified food starches. For the rest of us, these snack products also can be useful. Many ingredients can be incorporated into the gummi formulation for nutritional snacking, and many other possibilities exist. Don't be surprised if ginkgo gummies start appearing at a pharmacy near you.

Sticky siblings

In the realm of chewy confections, gummies aren't the only products to enjoy popularity.   Fruit leathers and fruit rolls certainly merit attention. Plus, newer, nutritional products include hybrids incorporating the traditional gummi and a totally fruit-based product. Products that are entirely fruit-based (or close to it) offer vitamins, minerals and natural color, plus fiber. Yet, they still contain high sugar levels. Because of high fructose levels, some stickiness problems might occur.
USDA's Agricultural Research Service has developed a technique for preparing fruit snacks from purees using starch-molding techniques. The confections are deposited at 80% solids into starch in a mogul system, according to Tara McHugh, research food technologist at the service's Western Regional Research Center, Albany, CA. The pectins present in the fruit, plus added pectins when needed, help control texture and provide flavor release. Product viscosity has to be controlled for processing. Fruit juices and concentrates are added for flavor, and additional flavors also can serve this function.

"A benefit, in terms of the raw material purees (in addition to the nutritional advantage to consumers)," McHugh says, "is a greater percentage of the fruit crops can be salvaged for harvest for processing into purees and concentrates." This material savings has to yield long-term nutritional and cost benefits for manufacturers and consumers.
USDA is discovering other raw materials suitable for processing into marketable confectionary ingredients. The Agricultural Research Service has devised a 100% citrus-peel recovery method to produce premium candied peels. This candy isn't new, but uniformly sized peels might offer added appeal. Though this product probably won't shake up the gummi bear clan, new nutritional ingredients will likely impact future product design, and the crop of new ingredients bears watching.


Generic gummi formulation




Weight percent



Part 1










Corn syrup (42 DE)





Part 2


Hot water (170 degrees F)




Gelatin (250 bloom)




Sorbitol (70%)





Part 3


* Source: Knechtel Laboratories




Citric acid, monohydrate






to suit




to suit






* Source: Knechtel Laboratories


Batch procedure

  1. Hydrate gelatin in cold water or dissolve it in 170°F water. Mesh size and mixing equipment will determine the temperature. Hot-water solution should be allowed to stand until clear (which should take about 10 to 15 minutes), skimming the foam off after standing.
  2. Heat Part 1 until it reaches 86% to 87% solids at about 240°F. Cool to about 212°F.
  3. Blend the sorbitol into the gelatin solution and add Part 2 with slow agitation to the Part 1 syrup. Blend slowly or use vacuum blender to prevent incorporation of air.
  4. Blend until gelatin is completely dissolved.
  5. Add Part 3, depositing batch within 30 minutes. The acid will reduce the gelling strength if held too long, especially at higher temperatures.
  6. Deposit the blend into molding starch as soon as possible.
Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.