Starch as a gelling agent: appealingly chewy, and vegan

The subject of starch in gums and jellies production is, most often, only mentioned as a depositing technique. But did you know starch also makes a good gelling agent (as proven by its long-time use in licorice and wine gums), which results in a uniquely elastic, chewy texture? And because starch is wholly derived from vegetables, its use (instead of gelatin) means your gummies can be labeled as vegan.

The choice is all yours

Vegetable starch can come from a wide variety of different sources. Potatoes, peas and corn to name just three. Each has its own properties, which can impart different textures in the finished candy. Vegetable starches can also be enzymatically or chemically modified to deliver required characteristics. “Modified starch”, in this sense, has nothing to do with genetically modified crops, but refers to chemically treating the starch after extraction.

Simply add water and heat  

Starch is transformed into a gelatinous substance by adding water and subjecting to high temperature – typically 257-330°F / 125-165°C. This level of heat causes the starch granules to swell and break, at which point they bind with the water. The change in substance can be seen in detail under a microscope, and a tell-tale increase in clarity can be observed with the naked eye.

Always use a starch depositing system

Because this production method involves so much water, extracting excess moisture is also essential. For this reason, starch-gelled gummies must always be deposited into starch-lined trays (the more commonly talked-about application of starch in gums and jellies manufacture), where the moulding starch helps achieve an optimal dry solid content over a curing period of 48-72 hours at 122-158°F / 50-70°C.

Going vegan? Starch isn’t your only option

As an alternative to starch, fruit pectin can also be used as a vegan gelling agent in gums and jellies. Curious? Click here to learn more about how to use this successfully.

Want to know more about starch as a gelling agent?

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

Starch as a gelling agent: appealingly chewy, and vegan