The success of Gummi Bears has spawned many gummi animals and objects: worms, frogs, hamburgers, cherries, cola bottles, sharks, hippos, lobsters, octopuses, apples, peaches, oranges, and even Ampelmännchen and Smurfs.
The traditional Gummi Bear is made from sugar, glucose syrup, starch, flavouring, food coloring, citric acid, and gelatin. There are some Gummi Bears made with pectin or starch instead of gelatin, making them suitable for vegans.
Large sour bears are larger and flatter than Gummi Bears, have a softer texture, and include fumaric acid or other acid ingredients to produce a sour flavor. Some manufacturers produce sour bears with a different texture, based on starch instead of gelatin. Typically, starch produces a shorter (cleaner bite, less chewy) texture than gelatin.
Gummi bears ordinarily contain mostly empty calories, but recently gummi bears containing vitamin C, produced by manufacturers such as Bear Essentials, are being marketed to parents of young children. Multivitamins have also been produced in the form of gummi bears to motivate consumption by young, picky eaters.
There has been concern that gelatin, in most gummi bears, may harbor prions. Prions are misshapen proteins that cause BSE / Mad Cow Disease in cattle and CJD in humans. Based on studies, the United States FDA and other national organizations and countries consider the risk of BSE transmission through gelatin to be minuscule as long as precautions are followed during manufacturing .