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What Is Gelatin?

by Toni Olukiran

1min read

Commonly found in everything from sweets to shampoo, gelatin is an ingredient that crops up in many ingredient lists. But what actually is it, and why isn’t it vegan? Read on to find out what you should know. 

What is gelatin?

Gelatin is a protein made when collagen is cooked. It is colourless, tasteless and used in food as a thickening agent. Collagen can be found in animals, this can be extracted from boiling bones of animals. It’s this process that makes gelatin unsuitable for vegans. 

Why is gelatin such a common ingredient?

Gelatin is found in sweets, desserts, shampoos, and even photographic film. It is used in sweets and desserts for texture, which can give the soft but firm structure of many popular gummy sweets and treats. It is used in cosmetics for the presence of collagen, as this can help with hair growth. 

Is there a vegan alternative?

A vegan alternative to gelatin is agar agar, collected from red algae, which is used in making vegan desserts and sweets often. This is made from red algae and is also used as a gelling or thickening agent. Agar has been used in Eastern Asian cuisines for several centuries but is now being used globally as a plant-based substitute for gelatin. 

Got any other questions for us? Let us know in the comment section below. 

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Toni Olukiran
by Toni Olukiran

Toni is one of our lovely Content Marketing Assistants, and when she’s not writing posts about everything from Jamaican cooking to vegan champagne, she’s making a Spotify playlist (she was at 200, at her last count) or playing tennis in the park.

Read more from Toni


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