What’s the first thing that springs to mind when you see gummy bears? Probably your childhood days when you had to beg your parents to buy you this delicious treat. Even today most of us don’t hesitate to eat a whole bag of these colourful and yummy gummy animals. But are you sure you know what you’re eating? Maybe some of you have a habit of reading the manufacturer’s declaration and the ingredients printed in tiny letters while visiting your local supermarket. Still, that doesn’t mean you’re familiar with the production process.
The protagonists of this story came to life in 1922 in Germany but gained popularity in the 1980s. Generally speaking, gummy bears consist of sugar, gelatin, starch, glucose syrup with flavour enhancers and artificial colours. They’re full of calories thanks to sugar and have no nutritive values whatsoever. So the only thing you’ll be getting is a bunch of empty calories.
A special place in this story belongs to gelatin, the ingredient which makes the gummy bears taste so good and makes you beg for more. However, the things you’re about to find out about gelatin will knock your socks off. It’s obtained from animal hides, bones and hooves, mostly that of pigs. Yes, it’s exactly the meat production waste that represents the key ingredient of those yummy treats. You’ll think twice the next time you feel like eating a gummy bear or two, right? When you crave sweets, choosing dried fruits, like raisins, apricots and papayas, would be a smarter move. Don’t overdo it though, because dried fruits are calorie-friendly.
It goes without saying the candy industry is especially targeting children. Gummy bears, as well as other sweets, get children’s attention easily with their bright colours, artificial flavors, and different shapes. It’s important to explain to your child that gummy bears aren’t healthy, and try to offer dried fruit as an alternative. In the beginning, you’ll definitely run into obstacles but don’t give up. This doesn’t mean you’ll deny your child access to all the sweets there are; just try to minimise their number in your shopping cart, and always go for the healthier snack first. By doing so, you’ll satisfy your child’s perpetual candy cravings.
Translation: A. Slišković