Gelatin is the most commonly-used base ingredient for gummy products. As a widely available and well-understood gelling agent, gelatin is the first choice for many businesses that enter the gummy industry.
However, gelatin is not the only option available to gummy manufacturers. As demand grows for vegetarian and vegan products, many gummy makers are choosing plant-based gelatin alternatives.
Today, we’ll review some of the best gelatin substitutes for gummy production.
In this gelatin-free gummy manufacturing guide, you’ll learn:
First, let’s review the basic facts on gelatin, including its composition, melting point, and the ethical concerns regarding its use.
Gelatin is a food product commonly used as a base ingredient and gelling agent. Gelatin is made from collagen taken from various animal body parts, usually from cows or pigs.
Several characteristics make gelatin an ideal base ingredient for various foods, including gummies. Gelatin is:
Gelatin provides a clean slate that’s easy to mold and add ingredients to. Gelatin is also easily digested and allergic reactions are very rare.
However, its source creates some dietary and/or ethical objections for certain consumers. People who are uncomfortable with or unwilling to consume a gummy product with animal byproducts in its ingredients may opt for a competing brand if they do not wish to consume gelatin.
Gelatin’s melting point range is 89.06 to 93.56°F. Melting point varies slightly based on the source animal and the body part that the gelatin material was taken from.
When you are preparing to manufacture your gummies with or without gelatin, it is critical to understand your melting points. One that is too high or too low can have a direct impact on the properties of the finished product. If this information is not made readily available, contact your ingredient supplier to see if they can provide a recommended melting point for their specific gelatin.
Gelatin is a collagen product made by boiling the tendons, bones, and hides of animals. Source animals are typically cows, pigs, chickens, and fish.
Many people choose to reduce or eliminate meat and dairy from their diet due to concerns about animal cruelty and the environment. Those same concerns apply to gelatin products.
For individuals practicing vegan or vegetarian diets, gelatin may be off-limits or less desirable than plant-based alternative ingredients.
Additionally, religious-based dietary preferences may prevent some people from consuming gelatin. Both Judaism and Islam encourage abstention from pork, while many Hindus choose not to eat meat or to specifically abstain from beef. Because most gelatin-containing products do not specify the source animal, it’s easier for some people with religious-based limitations to avoid gelatin altogether.
The following ingredients—pectin, agar-agar, and carrageenan—are among the best gelatin alternatives for gummy production.
Pectin is a powder made from the skins of citrus or other fruits. Pectin’s melting point is higher than gelatin, between 288-291°F.
Compared to gummies made from gelatin, pectin-based gummies tend to be softer. The consistency is more jelly-like, similar to a gumdrop candy.
Agar-agar, also known simply as agar, is made from seaweed. Like gelatin, agar-agar is colorless, tasteless, and odorless. Compared to gelatin, agar-agar is firmer and has a higher melting point between 185-203°F.
Carrageenan, also known as Irish moss, is another seaweed-based gelatin substitute. Carrageenan is softer than gelatin or agar-agar and has a melting point between 122-158°F.
When working with a gelatin substitute, you’ll need to become an expert on your ingredient of choice. Key considerations include ingredient ratios, cooking process, and cooking temperature.
Plant-based gelling agents won’t necessarily make up a 1:1 swap with recipes that call for gelatin. Adjust your recipe until the right mix is achieved for producing the desired characteristics in your gummy products.
Different base ingredients call for different cooking processes. For example, pectin-based gummies can’t be reworked if they fail to settle on the first try, whereas gelatin and other ingredients can sometimes be processed a second time.
Be sure that the equipment you purchase is compatible with the ingredients you intend to use. Discuss any questions or concerns with your equipment provider.
Different base ingredients require different temperatures for melting and cooling. Optimizing your production process involves fine-tuning your temperature settings and the timing of each phase of the cooking process.
Successful gummy production requires carefully-selected ingredients and high-quality equipment. Gummy Technologies, a division of CapPlus Technologies, offers a range of innovative equipment solutions for the rapidly-expanding gummy industry.
From depositing to coating, packaging, and quality control, we strive to offer your manufacturing team the most complete and highest-performing solutions on the market. As part of our commitment to helping your business scale, we also offer training, support, and education from our headquarters in Phoenix, AZ.
To learn more, view our inventory or contact our team of experts today.