Whether you’re a kid or an adult, you might have a soft spot for gummy candies. Best known in the form of gummy bears, the bite-sized morsels have been a sweet treat staple for nearly one hundred years.
The first iteration of gummy bears was created during the 1920s by German entrepreneur Hans Riegel, when he started his candy company, Haribo. So, why bears? Riegal was inspired by the trained bears he saw in street festivals around Europe. His culinary creations used gum arabic as an ingredient, so the name “gummy bears” was appropriate.
How are Gummy Bears Made?
If you’ve ever wondered how a gummy bear (or any gummy candy) is made, you might be sorry you ever asked. Once you find out, it might make you recoil at the thought of ever popping another Sour Patch Kid into your mouth.
Belgian filmmaker Alina Kneepkens created a very short video that details how many gummy candies are manufactured. In less than two minutes, Kneepkens breaks down the process in grim—yet oddly mesmerizing—reverse detail. From the beginning, it doesn’t seem like it’ll be that bad; the finished gummies are rolling off the conveyor belt, packaged and ready for consumption.
The film quickly devolves following that. After being formed into the poppable bites, Kneepkens shows vats of saccharine liquid that’s stirred like a witches’ brew. They start as a vibrant kelly green but quickly become a bland yellow mixture. From there, the video continues to rapidly move backward. The vat of liquid then returns to its powdered form.
The Truth Behind Gelatin
Ask any vegetarian why they avoid gummy products and they’ll tell you that it’s because gelatin, the gelling agent, is made of animal skin and bones. But, even if you know that fact, the latter parts of Kneepkens’ video will still shock (and probably) repulse you.
Here, she showcases how the powdered gelatin came to be—ultimately by slaughtering and skinning pigs. It will definitely make you think twice before picking up a pack of gummy worms the next time you need a sugar fix.
Gummy Bear Alternatives
If this video has turned you off to conventional gummy candies, there is hope for you to enjoy them again. There are vegan gelatin substitutes, one of the most popular being Agar that’s made from algae.
And if you’re interested in viewing more of Kneepkens’ not-for-the-faint of heart food videos, she’s made a couple of more that document how popular dishes are made. She reveals the inner workings of rabbit with plums (a Belgian food) as well as black pudding.