Gummies and Jellies

Gummies and Jellies

Gummies and Jellies

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Gummies and Jellies


Gummies are a beloved confection known for their delightful chewiness and a diverse range of flavors. This characteristic texture is carefully crafted using hydrocolloids, substances that form a network holding together sugar, corn syrup particles (for regular confections), and a relatively high amount of water (16-20%). These bonds could be strong chemical interactions (covalent bonds) or merely physical nets. Hydrocolloids, such as gelatin, starches from various sources, pectin, and gums, play a vital role, each with its own distinct production processes. They significantly impact the appearance, flavor release, and overall texture of gummies, the use of combinations on the hydrocolloids (also referred as stabilizers) will result into a differentiated texture along with the final water content. These versatile treats are enjoyed in a plethora of shapes, sizes, and flavors, adding to their universal appeal.

As Hydrocolloids can have very different chemical structures, each will need a different process and/or other ingredients to help on the gelation process. The next 3 are the most used alone or in combination within the industry:

Gelatin based gummies. Gelatin, derived from collagen, forms a gel-like matrix through gelatinization and protein network formation, giving gummies their characteristic chewy texture. Its bloom value influences gel strength and final texture.

Starch-based gummies use hydrated starch granules that swell when heated, creating a gel-like texture upon cooling through retrogradation, formed by realigning and recrystallizing amylose and amylopectin molecules.

Pectin-based gummies employ pectin, a polysaccharide found in fruits, to form a gel network. This gel formation occurs through the interaction of galacturonic acid chains and calcium ions, resulting in a cohesive, smooth gummy texture. Used for vegan or vegetarian gummies. 

Main Ingredients

Sweeteners/Bulk: Sugar, glucose syrup for regular gummies. Fibers, polyols, non caloric carbohydrates for sugar free confections.

Stabilizers: Most used are:

  • Gelatin: The strength and elasticity of the gummy gel depend on the concentration of gelatin and its bloom value. The bloom value indicates the strength of the gelatin. Higher bloom values result in stronger gels.
  • Starch: Complex carbohydrate composed of glucose molecules linked together through α-(1→4) and α-(1→6) glycosidic bonds. There are multiple options beginning from the source (corn, tapioca, potato), whether if it is modified or pre gelatinized, amount of amylose content, among other variations. This differences will define the process needed and cooking temperatures for a firm gel.
  • Pectin: Natural polysaccharide derived from fruits, its gel formation occurs through the interaction of galacturonic acid chains and calcium ions.

Minor ingredients such as flavors, colors, and citric acid for tartness are added to enhance the taste and appearance of the gummies.

Industrial Production

The gummy-making process involves several essential steps:

  1. Mixing: Main ingredients like sugar, glucose syrup and sometimes the stabilizer are mixed and pre-cooked or heated in large kettles to the desired temperature.
  2. Gelling or Thickening Agent Hydration: Proper hydration of the stabilizer is crucial. The amount of water needed for complete hydration varies based on the stabilizer used, ensuring a lump-free and strong gel.
  3. Stabilizer Addition: The method of stabilizer addition depends on its nature. Gelatin is preferably added after the syrup cools, but in batch cooking, it may be added during the cooking phase. Starch is added at the beginning to be fully cooked and assure its functionality, while pectin and gums are typically added at the start.
  4. Cooking: Depending on the stabilizer, cooking temperature will be chosen. Higher temperatures (~148°C/300°F) will be used for High amylose corn starch to assure retrogradation of starch granules and therefore strong gel. While for pectin and gelatin, lower temperatures are used.
  5. Flavoring and Coloring: Flavors, acids and colors are introduced to achieve the desired taste and appearance of the gummies. Some moguls have multiple kettles to mix and deposit multiple flavors at the same time.
  6. Molding or Depositing: The gummy mixture is poured into molds or deposited onto trays, shaping the gummies as per specifications. The Mogul equipment uses dry starch-filled trays to imprint the gummy shape.
  7. Drying and Cooling: Gummies are either air-dried in hot rooms or cooled to set their structure (gelatin-based). Cooling helps the gummies firm up, and they are then shaken out of the starch. Subsequently, they may be coated with oil or a mix of sugar and acids to prevent sticking.
  8. Packaging: Gummies are airtight packaged or sealed in bags to preserve freshness and avoid moisture loss.


The formulation of gummies is primarily determined by the stabilizer employed, the required water quantity for its hydration, and the specific process conditions. A critical aspect to consider is the depositing solids and the final solids (or moisture) content. In the case of gelatin, depositing usually occurs at the final solids content (or near it) due to its low viscosity. Conversely, for starch and pectin, the depositing solids are typically 10-15% lower than the final solids content. 

For gummies a higher corn syrup content is used compared to sucrose to prevent crystallization. The selection of the gelling or thickening agent, the sugar levels, and the type of syrup used significantly impact the texture, consistency, and overall taste of the gummies.

Packaging Barrier Properties

Shelf Life

Common shelf-life issues for gummies include:

  • Moisture Absorption: Excess moisture can alter texture and flavor, causing gummies to stick together.
  • Moisture Loss: Loss of moisture can lead to gummies becoming hard, especially in environments with less than 50% relative humidity (RH).
  • Increased Reducing Sugars: Interactions within the formulation (sugar + acids) or specific environmental conditions (high temperatures + high humidity) can cause gummies to become sticky or even lose their original shape and texture.
  • Loss of Shape in Gelatin Gummies: Exposure to high ambient temperatures can cause the gelatin in gummies to melt, resulting in a loss of their intended shape

Proper packaging and storage in controlled environments help extend the shelf life of gummies.

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