|Place of origin||Germany|
|Creator(s)||Hans Riegel Sr.|
|Main ingredient(s)||Gelatin, sugar, glucose syrup, starch, flavouring, food colouring, citric acid|
A gummy bear (German: Gummibärchen) is a small, rubbery-textured candy, similar to a jelly baby in some English-speaking countries. The candy is roughly 2 centimetres (0.79 in) long and shaped in the form of a bear. The gummi bear is one of many gummies, popular gelatin-based candies that come in a variety of shapes and colors.
The gummy bear originated in Germany, where it is popular under the name Gummibär (help·info) (rubber bear) or Gummibärchen (help·info) (little rubber bear). Hans Riegel Sr., a candy maker from Bonn, started the Haribo company in 1920. In 1922, he invented the Dancing Bear, a fruit-flavored gum made in the shape of a bear. The success of the Dancing Bear's successor would later become Haribo's world-famous Gold-Bears candy product in 1967. Trolli is another gummi candy manufacturer and the first to introduce gummy worms in 1981.
Variations and flavours
The success of gummi bears has spawned many gummi animals and objects: rings, worms, frogs, snakes, hamburgers, cherries, sharks, penguins, hippos, lobsters, octopuses, apples, peaches, oranges, and even Ampelmännchen, Smurfs and spiders. Manufacturers offer sizes from the standard candy size, and smaller, to bears that weigh several kilograms.
In the United States, Haribo gummy bears come in five flavours: raspberry (red); orange (orange); strawberry (green); pineapple (colorless); and lemon (yellow). Trolli's bears are similarly most often sold in five flavours in the United States, and in the same colours; however, Trolli's red bear is cherry-flavoured, while the green is lime and the colourless is apple. Many companies emulate either Haribo or Trolli flavour-colour combinations. Health-oriented brands, which often use all-natural flavors, sometimes opt for more and different flavors. For example, the boxed bulk gummis sold by Sunflower/Newflower Markets include grape, pineapple-coconut, and peach, among others.
Ingredients and production
The traditional gummy bear is made from a mixture of sugar, glucose syrup, starch, flavouring, food colouring, citric acid, and gelatin. However, recipes vary, such as organic candy, those suitable for vegetarians or those following religious dietary laws.
The hot, liquid mixture is poured into starch molds and allowed to cool overnight. Once the mixture has set, the candies can be removed from the mold and packaged. The molds are open on top, so only the bear's front is formed while the back remains flat. The original design for each type of candy is carved into plaster by an artist, then duplicated by a machine and used to create the starch molds for the production line.
Gummy bears made with either bovine or porcine gelatine are not suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Those with porcine gelatine also do not conform to kashrut or halal dietary laws. In its factory in Turkey, Haribo produces halal bears and other sweets which are made with bovine gelatine. Also, some gummy bears are made with pectin or starch instead of gelatin, making them suitable for vegetarians.
Large sour gummy bears are larger and flatter than gummi bears, have a softer texture, and include fumaric acid or other acid ingredients to produce a sour flavor. Some manufacturers produce sour bears with a different texture, based on starch instead of gelatin. Typically, starch produces a shorter (cleaner bite, less chewy) texture than gelatin.
Gummy bears ordinarily contain mostly empty calories, but recently gummy bears containing vitamin C, produced by manufacturers such as Sconza or Bear Essentials, are being marketed to parents of young children. Multivitamins have also been produced in the form of gummi bears to motivate consumption by young, picky eaters.
Gummy bears, and other gummi candy, stick to teeth and may cause tooth decay. However, gummi bears containing the cavity-fighting additive xylitol (wood sugar) are now being tested. Trolli has developed a line of gummi candy which is proved to help the immune system and teeth; the acti-line.
There has been concern that gelatin in most gummy bears may harbor prions, particularly those that cause bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle and new-variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans. Based on studies, the United States FDA and other national organizations and countries consider the risk of BSE transmission through gelatin to be minuscule as long as precautions are followed during manufacturing.
- I Am Your Gummy Bear (album)
- "I Am Your Gummy Bear (The Gummy Bear Song)"
- Disney's Adventures of the Gummi Bears
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