Gummy bears are sugary, chewy delights well-known to adults and children alike.
They’re firm, tasty, colourful candies with different fruit flavours like strawberry, Lemon, Orange, Pineapple, and even beetroot.
Eating them during our alone time or while watching movies makes the experience even more enjoyable.
However, unfortunately for us vegetarians, these gummy treats, for specific reasons, may not be considered appropriate for our diet. In this article, we will discuss the ingredients used in producing gummy bears and answer the big question; Are gummy bears vegetarian?
The answer to this is No and Yes!
Most of the gummy bears produced are not vegetarian, but a few companies like Chewwies still make vegetarian, sugar-free and 100 % halal-certified gummies.
A gummy bear could be vegetarian only if no meat or fish were used to make it. So to understand if gummy bears are vegetarian, we need to look at the ingredients used in their production!
Gummy bear ingredients
Here are some of the ingredients used in the production of gummy bears;
Glucose syrup is produced by mixing sugar molecules in starchy crops. The starchy crop used could be either wheat or corn. Glucose syrup is merely a starch-based sweetener and could also be called corn or wheat syrup.
Glucose makes the gummy bear soft and chewy, but its primary role is to thicken and sweeten gummy bears. Glucose syrup is vegetarian!
Gelatin accounts for the elastic texture of gummy bears, causing the conversion of what would otherwise be a syrupy liquid into a wiggly solid.
Gelatin is obtained from collagen, which is found in pigs’ and cows’ tissue, skin, and bones. Its source makes it unsuitable for vegetarians!
Gluten is not necessarily an ingredient for gummy bears but it could be found in traces in the same equipment used in the factory to produce other snacks containing gluten. While gluten is vegetarian it is unhealthy and people often develop gluten intolerance.
Carmine is a natural red dye also known as natural red 4. It is the reason behind the dark-red colour seen in gummies.
Sadly, it comes from the bug cochineal, an insect popular in central and south America. Hence, It cannot be consumed by vegetarians.
Refined sugar comes from sugarcane or sugar beets. Despite their different origins, their flavour and texture remain the same - but the purifying process differs.
Beet sugar is produced using a diffuser and non-animal additives. However, the cane sugar production method involves using an animal additive, bone char.
This bone char cleanses the sugar giving it a perfect white colour free of any impurity. The bone char makes cane sugar non-vegetarian.
Carnauba wax is another important makeup of gummy bears. The wax gives the gummies a dazzling gloss that makes them appealing and prevents them from melting.
Carnauba wax is suitable for vegetarians as it is from a plant grown in Brazil, the carnauba palm.
In addition to carmine, various artificial colours are used to make white, green, yellow, orange, and red gummy bears.
While these chemicals are vegetarian, Some of these colours, like Red 40, must pass through animal testing to prevent any health hazard to humans. Vegetarians have never been a party to animal testing. Therefore, consider this non-vegetarian.
Yellow & White Beeswax
Bees naturally create beeswax to construct honeycombs, the space needed to store honey and protect their little ones. Beeswax is added at the end of the gummy bears manufacturing process. It has a similar function as the carnauba wax. The filtration procedure is responsible for the difference in colours, which is the only different thing they have.
Honey and beeswax are vegetarian products as long as the bees are not harmed during production and the beekeeper leaves enough honey for the bees to have a healthy population. In other words, these ingredients must come from ethical beekeeping, which is rarely the case.
Natural & artificial flavours
Natural flavours come from organic food sources, whereas artificial flavours are made in a lab using chemical compounds like natural flavours.
It is easy to dismiss artificial flavours as non-vegetarian because even if they are of plant origin, which is rarely the case, animals are still used to test them. Natural flavours are vegetarian if from plant origin only.
Citric acid is obtained naturally from citrus fruits like lemons, lime, oranges and a host of others. It is used majorly as a preservative in gummy bears to prevent them from spoiling. The sour taste of gummy bears comes from this acid.
Most gummy bears are produced using a host of non-vegetarian ingredients, making them non-vegetarian themselves - but a few don’t. Hence, there are a few vegetarian gummy bears you could use to replace the non-vegetarian ones without having to pay for the taste.
Vegetarian gummy bear
Chewwies is a vegetarian, healthy and halal substitute you could use to delight your taste buds.
Every box of Chewwies gummy bears is made with zero traces of sugar, gelatin, alcohol, gluten, dairy, allergens, artificial colours, flavours, and preservatives, making them wholly vegetarian and vegan, even for kids. These gummies are for everyone, come in different flavours and are your best option for enjoying healthy treats guilt-free.