9 Things You Didn’t Know About Gummy Bears

These chewy little candies have quite a history

9 Things You Didn’t Know About Gummy Bears

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Who doesn’t love gummy bears? Those sticky, chewy little bear-shaped gelatin-based candies are one of the most popular treats around, and they come in a wide variety of flavors and colors. But even if you never rode the school bus without a few in your pocket, we bet that there are some things you didn’t know about this tiny treat.

Their Name Was Derived From the Original Main Ingredient

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The “gummy” in gummy bear comes from the original thickener used by Riegel, gum arabic (the resin of an acacia tree). He called the product Gummibären, and the name stuck. 

Their Popularity Sparked the Gummy Boom

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All the gummy products you see today, from worms to frogs, cherries and other fruit, sharks, and even hamburgers, were inspired by the success of the original gummy bear.

Haribo and Trolli Are the Largest Producers

Haribo of America, Inc. / ItemMaster

In the United States, Haribo gummy bears come in five flavors: raspberry (red); orange (orange); strawberry (green); pineapple (colorless); and lemon (yellow). Trolli’s gummy bears are sold in the same colors, but their red is strawberry-flavored, green is lime, and colorless is grape. 

They’re Made in a Machine Called a Starch Mogul

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To produce gummy bears, the design is carved into plaster by an artist, then duplicated in a tray filled with cornstarch called a starch mogul (the shape of the gummy is stamped into the starch first). The hot liquid is then poured into the molds, and after they set, the molds are turned out and the starch is recycled. 

Halal Gummy Bears Are Produced in Turkey

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Haribo uses animal-derived gelatin to make its gummy products, so in areas where pork can’t be eaten they need to be made with bovine gelatin. In Turkey, there’s a Haribo factory that does just this, making halal/kosher gummies. Some gummy bears are made with starch or pectin instead of gelatin, and so are suitable for vegetarians and vegans.  

Healthy Gummy Bears Can Definitely Fool Your Kids

Today, some gummy bears come in the form of multivitamins, some contain vitamin C, and some contain the wood sugar xylitol, which fights cavities

In England, Jelly Babies Are More Popular

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In the U.K., you’ll find gummy bears’ British equivalent, called jelly babies. Slightly firmer and less rubbery than gummy bears, these homuncular candies have been around since the 1850s but got their name in 1953.

Disney CEO Michael Eisner Had the Idea for the Animated Series

From 1985 to 1991, Disney’s Adventures of the Gummi Bears aired on NBC and later ABC, and was later rebroadcast as part of the syndicated Disney Afternoon block through the 1990s. The show was an essential part of television viewing for a generation of kids, and its theme song is a legitimate earworm. The show was actually dreamed up by none other than Disney CEO Michael Eisner himself, who had the idea for the show when his son requested the candies one day. 

The Series Was a Lot More Groundbreaking Than You Think

Gummi Bears was the very first animated TV show by Walt Disney Animation Television, and is widely regarded as having jump-started the TV animation boom of the late 1980s and ‘90s. Without Gummi Bears, there may not have been Darkwing Duck, DuckTales, Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers, Goof Troop, or TaleSpin!