Who doesn’t know them, the little bears? They are popular with young and old, laugh at us in a variety of colours and their sight sometimes makes us smile. But how healthy or unhealthy are the cuddly rubber creatures really?

Although the Gummi Bear is already over 80 years old, it still inspires young and old. The “wobbly things” were invented in 1922 by the Bonn entrepreneur Hans Riegel. His company Haribo (named after Hans Riegel from Bonn) brought the so-called dancing bear, later golden bear, the first time on the market. The bears have been sold in Austria since 1976 and the first Haribo production facility was started here in 1989. Haribo has 6,000 employees in 18 production facilities and 20 sales offices worldwide.

Colourful Bear Parade
Fruit gums are the best known gum sweets. These include gummy bears, wine gums, jelly products as well as all combination products (liquorice, foam sugar and fruit gums). Fruit gums consist of glucose syrup, sugar, gelatine and various colourings and flavourings such as citric acid or juice concentrate.

Gummy bears are a special form of fruit gums and are produced in 5 different colours: Red (raspberry), yellow (lemon), green (strawberry), orange (orange) and white (pineapple).

Each pack contains 1/3 red and 1/6 green, yellow, orange and white gold bears. This reflects the fact that, according to a market study, the red bears are the most popular, while the white bears are by far the most unpopular.

In August 2007, Haribo added another flavour, “apple”, to its range, and all golden bears were given a “smiling” face. The question of why there are no blue gummi bears can be answered quickly. Since gummy bears are not dyed with artificial colours and there is no fruit or plant in nature from which a beautiful blue can be obtained, we must continue to do without blue bears.

Gelatine – a safe food ?
Gelatine is the substance that gives gummi bears their very special consistency. Gelatine (Latin: gelare = solidify, stiff) is a natural food, transparent, odourless and tasteless. It consists to 80-90 % of protein, is used e.g. as gelling and thickening agent and finds various areas of application: It is used, for example, in jelly jelly, cake glaze, aspic, meat and sausage products, fruit juices, wines, yoghurt, in some types of cream cheese and quark, as well as in the production of films and photographic paper and capsules and suppositories of medicines.

The remaining components of gelatine are water and mineral salts. Gelatine is also obtained from waste products from the animal processing industry. The skin and bones of pigs, calves and cattle serve as raw materials. The question as to whether this is not dangerous because of mad cow disease (BSE) naturally arises immediately. But experts say no! In order to guarantee safety and quality, the careful selection of raw materials for the production of gelatine has top priority. The European gelatine manufacturers only use raw materials from healthy pigs, cattle, fish or poultry that have been examined by veterinarians and released for consumption.

On the other hand, any existing pathogens would be killed by the production process anyway. The World Health Organization (WHO) also says this. The gelatine-producing industry is therefore one of the best structured and best controlled industries in Europe. By the way, German gummy bears only contain pig gelatine. Although the production is quite complex and complicated (cleaning, extraction, heating), it only takes three days until the raw material (a yellowish powder) for gummy bears is made from a pig rind.

Meanwhile there are products of other companies which produce gelatin-free rubber treats suitable for Muslims, Jews and vegetarians. The Jewish Museum Berlin even has its own vending machine with kosher rubber bears.

Healthy snacking?
Gummy bears are always advertised with the addition “without fat”. It is true that jelly babies contain practically no fat, but lots of sugar. So 3 gummy bears contain almost 1 piece of sugar cubes. And too much sweets makes you fat and ruins your teeth. A whole pack corresponds to 61 pieces of sugar and can quickly lead to abdominal pain. Just 10 pieces per day is therefore the bekömmliche dose.

Naturally the Gummileckereien cannot replace also the Vitamine and ballast materials, which the body finds in fruit, vegetable or whole grain products. In addition, more and more children are suffering from diabetes.

The same applies to all stimulants: the quantity makes the difference! Gummy bears enjoyed in moderation are quite healthy.

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