The clean label trend has penetrated nearly all other food categories so it’s only natural that the trend is now a driver in the nutritional supplement and vitamin category. This is especially true in the gummy vitamin category where consumers are demanding gelatin-free varieties.
Finding a suitable replacement for gelatin in gummy candies and vitamins has long been a goal for food formulators but, until recently, such a replacement was elusive.
Why do consumers want gelatin-free gummy vitamins?
The demand for gelatin-free options has been attributed to consumer desire for more transparency into the ingredients used in foods. Some consumers choose to avoid gelatin in order to adhere to religious dietary rules such as kosher or halal, while others avoid gelatin because they are following vegan or vegetarian dietary guidelines.
Aren’t gummy vitamins just a fad?
The concept of consuming nutrients via a gummy delivery system might seem like just another way to entice children to take vitamins, but the category has represented about 7% of the total product launches in the vitamin category for each of the last five years (US).1 Additionally, according to Innova Market Insights, sales of vitamin and mineral supplements in the US from 2012-2014 grew at a rate of 4.65% annually, reaching $11.1 billion in 2014.2 Over the same period, SPINS data reports that the gummy sub-category of vitamin and mineral supplements grew at a rate of 21.8%, reaching $509 million in 2014.3 While still only 4% of total US vitamin sales, this data indicates that gummies are outpacing the total vitamin segment as a whole, signaling a clear shift in consumer preference.
Formulating challenges when replacing gelatin in gummies
Many formulators have tried to create a gelatin-free gummy but few have succeeded because gelatin provides a unique set of texture attributes and functional characteristics that can’t be replaced by another single ingredient.
It can be difficult to describe the desired texture of a gummy in a way that is easily understood and acted on by a formulator. For situations such as this, our Gum Gurus® use our Food Texture Terminology to identify the textural attributes that are most important for the application and then use these attributes as a guide while formulating the new product. In the case of gummies, the following attributes were identified:
In addition to the textural differences between gelatin-containing and gelatin-free gummies, close attention must be paid to the way the gelatin replacement functions in the manufacturing process. Activation times and temperatures and hot viscosity characteristics must be considered to ensure ease of depositing.
New Gelatin-replacement Solution for Gummy Vitamins
Ticagel Natural GC-581 was specifically designed to replace the texture and processing characteristics of gelatin in gummy-type delivery systems and candies.
Video: Basics of Food Gums Series
1 Innova data
2 Innova Market Insights Food Metrix service