Pectin as a gelling agent: vegan, high fiber and heat-friendly

Pectin, which is primarily derived from the peels of citrus fruits, is an effective gelling agent for gummies. As well as being vegan, pectin boasts boosts the health benefit of high fiber content. It’s also a good choice for products destined for warmer environments, due to being more heat-stable than gelatin, which melts at around 37°C / 98°F (body temperature).

Set your texture

As a gelling agent, pectin results in a distinctive texture which is more “biteable” than the elastic chewiness of starch or gelatin. It’s a texture that will be familiar to anyone who’s ever eaten traditional sugared fruit chews, in which pectin has long-been the standard gelling agent. 

However, pectin can also be combined with other gelling agents to create a unique, custom texture.

Control your acidity

Pectin’s solidification behavior is very pH-sensitive. If the candy mass is too acidic (pH is too low), it will turn from liquid to solid within seconds, making depositing impossible. If the candy mass is not acidic enough (pH is too high) it will remain liquid, and therefore unable to form stable shapes. Recipes where in which pectin is used as a gelling agent thereby need to be very precise in terms of the pH they create as a ratio to Brix (dry solid content).

Turn up the heat

During gummy production using pectin, it’s important to keep the candy mass above 90°C / 195°F to prevent pre-gelation (the liquid candy turning into solid candy). We advise working with slow set buffered HM pectins, which are easier to control.

Going vegan? Pectin isn’t your only option

As an alternative to pectin, starch can also be used as a vegan gelling agent in gums and jellies. Check out our article about using starch as a gelling agent

Want to know more about pectin as a gelling agent?

Our Tanis food technicians technologists will be happy to advise you on how to choose and use different types of pectins to achieve the results you want. Contact us.

Pectin as a gelling agent: vegan, high fiber and heat-friendly