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Gummi Stuff

Gummi bears. Gummi worms. Gummi (Life-) Savers. Sour Patch Kids. Fruit Roll-Ups. These are the misbegotten dietary items that together represent the irresistable (to kids), or noxious (to most adults), food group known collectively as Gummi.

Gummi Gummis have been available in the United States for some time. Haribo (an acronym for Hans Riegel, the creator, who hailed from Bonn, Germany) gummi bears were created in the 1920's. American high school students who happened to take German were exposed to the treat long before gummis were available on a wide-scale basis in the states. (These same old-school gummi-philes can become tiresome in short order when they begin complaining about the 'bastardization' of the 'original' 'Euro-gummi' into the mass-produced, flaccid 'Care Bears' and other juice-sweetened varieties available today.)

Haribo began manufacturing gummi bears in the United States in 1982. But the German-based Trolli Candy Co., which opened a factory in Iowa in the mid-80's, also claims to be the first to have produced the gummi in America. Haribo purports to crank out 70 million gummi bears daily. With American companies such as Hershey, Brach's, and Heide flooding their gummi creations into the market, America is awash in gummis.

Though most prefer the (artificially-) sweetened gummi products, many adventurous kids - and a few adults - go wild for the tart varieties like the afore-mentioned Sour Patch Kids. Citric acid and tartaric acid, specifically, give Sour Patch Kids the pucker power that so effectively grabs their sour glands. All flavors seem to taste the same, but it's the sour that they are after, and the Kids deliver.

The fruitful proliferation of gummis has rendered the gummi as accesible as a candy bar, with a variety as vast as chewing gum. (And humans can digest gummis much faster than they can chewing gum, which will stay in your digestive tract for seven years. Really.)

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