It’s a common question among people with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. For those following the strict gluten-free diet, it is important to know if gummy bears contain gluten or not so you can avoid foods that contain gluten and stick to the diet instead.
The gluten-free diet is a lifestyle change that many people have to make due to celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Since it’s difficult for those with these conditions to avoid hidden sources of gluten, many people who follow the diet are on the constant lookout for anything containing wheat, rye, barley, and other related grains. This includes candy. One type of candy that may come as a surprise is gummy bears because they seem like an innocuous treat – after all, who would think a gummy bear could contain hidden gluten? But if you look closely at the ingredients list on the package you might find some clues – corn syrup solids and gelatin are two big red flags! In this article, we’ll tackle what gummy bears are made of, tell you what you need to know about eating products containing corn syrup solids and gelatin, and let you know whether or not gummy bears are gluten-free!
Luckily, we've got good news for you: most gummy bears are gluten-free.
What Are Gummy Bears?
Gummy bears are chewy fruit-flavored candies made from gelatin and sugar. They have a soft chewiness similar to gummi bears but with a fruit taste instead of an artificial flavor like most gummi candies have. While they might not be as popular as they used to be, people often reach for these treats when they want something chewy and sweet after dinner.
What are gummy bears made of?
There are many different brands of gummy bears, but they all have similar ingredients. The most common ingredients you’ll find in this type of candy are: glucose syrup (or corn syrup), sugar, gelatin, starch, flavoring, and citric acid.
Are Gummy Bears Gluten-free?
While gummy bears may seem like a safe option for those on gluten-free diets, this couldn’t be less true. In fact, gummy bears are not gluten-free and may contain traces of gluten. Here are reasons why you should avoid eating gummy bears if you have celiac disease or a gluten intolerance:
- Most gummy bear manufacturers utilize glucose syrup made from wheat, which is not appropriate for a gluten-free diet.
- Even if the manufacturer claims that their product is gluten-free, it’s important to remember that these products can still be cross-contaminated with other items that contain gluten.
Are gummy bears dairy-free?
Most gummy bears on the market are dairy-free and safe to consume on a dairy-free diet. If you’re lactose intolerant, cross-check directly with the manufacturer to find out if they’ve made a formulation change or reformulation that may have included a dairy ingredient.
Are gummy bears vegan?
Gummy bears are typically made with gelatin, which is derived from animal collagen. And while some gummy bear brands do use animal-derived ingredients in making their products, there are vegan options available to you on the market that are manufactured using only plant-based products.
So how can you tell which ones are safe? If you’re vegan, always check the label for gelatin and make sure it’s not listed.
List of Gluten-Free Gummy Bears
There are several gluten-free gummy bears and gummy candies on the market. Here is a list of some of the most popular brands.
As always, be sure to check the ingredients list for any potential gluten ingredients before purchasing.
- Annie’s Homegrown
- Black Forest
- Boston Fruit Slices
- Dare Real Fruit
- Mott’s Fruitsations
- Surf Sweets
Are Haribo gummy bears gluten-free?
Haribo Gummy Bears are small, gummy bear-shaped candies coated in a sugar shell. They come in a variety of colors and flavors, including classic flavors. The gummies have been produced since 1922 by German company Haribo.
According to the package, there are next ingredients inside each gummy:
- Glucose syrup extracted from wheat and corn
- Dextrose (made from wheat or corn)
- Glazing agents (white and yellow beeswax and carnauba wax).
- Most flavors also add citric acid (E330) for tartness and apple extract (E296) for flavor. The “grape” flavor adds lemon and lime oils (E330) as well, but most other flavors use fruit juice or natural flavoring.
Gluten-free consumers should be aware that Haribo Gummy Bears are not gluten-free. The gummy bears are made up of glucose and dextrose extracted from corn and wheat, which contain gluten substances. Although wheat is not directly involved, gluten strains are present in the ingredients.
Homemade Vegan and Gluten-Free Gummy Bears
If you love gummy bears but can’t find a brand that is safe for a gluten-free diet, consider making your own. This way you’ll know exactly what goes into them and be able to choose which ingredients you want to use. You can even make these ahead of time so they are ready when you need them. Not sure where to start? Check out the following recipes for homemade fruit snacks that are healthy options for any gluten-free diet.
- Any type of fruit juice (orange juice, raspberry, strawberry, etc.) – 1/2 cup.
- Agar agar powder – 1 tablespoon.
- Sugar – 1-2 tablespoon.
- We put the fruit juice in a saucepan and boil it for a few minutes.
- Place the agar agar into 1/4 cup of cold water and stir until dissolved.
- Stir in the juice and boil over high heat for three minutes. We roll with metal rods so that no lumps are formed.
- Empty the liquid into the molds.
- Leave at room temperature for about 20 minutes. After this, put it in the refrigerator for another 20 minutes.