Confections are typically made from a base of sugar, corn syrup and water. To this base they are added flavor, color and texture modifiers. Gelatin is widely used in confections because it foams, gels, or solidifies into a piece that dissolves slowly or melts in the mouth.
Confections such as gummy bears contain a relatively high percentage of gelatins. These candies dissolve more slowly thus lengthening the enjoyment of the candy while smoothing the flavor
Gelatin is used in whipped confections such as marshmallows where it serves to lower the surface tension of the syrup, stabilize the foam through increased viscosity, set the foam via gelatin, and prevent sugar crystallisation.
Gelatin is used in foamed confections at a 2-7% level, depending upon the desired texture. Gummy foams use about 7% of a 200 - 275 Bloom gelatin. Marshmallow producers generally use 2.5% of a 250 Bloom Type A gelatin.
Gelatin desserts can be traced back to 1845 when a U.S. patent was issued use for "portable gelatin" for use in desserts. Gelatin desserts remain popular: the current U.S. market for gelatin desserts exceeds 100 million pounds annually.
Today's consumers are concerned with caloric intake. Regular gelatin desserts are easy to prepare, pleasant tasting, nutritious, available in a variety of flavors, and contain only 80 calories per half-cup serving. Sugar-free versions are a mere eight calories per serving.
The buffer salts are used to maintain the proper pH for flavor and setting characteristics. Historically, a small amount of salt was added as a flavor enhancer.
Gelatin desserts can be prepared using either Type A or Type B gelatin with Blooms between 175 and 275. The higher the Bloom the fewer gelatins required for a proper set (i.e. 275 Bloom gelatin will require about 1.3% gelatin while a 175 Bloom gelatin will require 2.0% to obtain an equal set). Sweeteners other than sucrose can be used.