Gelatin Q & A

What is Gelatin?

Gelatin is a natural protein derived from collagen – an important building block of healthy skin, nails and bone. “Type A” gelatin is created via acid treatment, while “Type B” is processed with an alkaline, or high pH, solution. As a trusted food ingredient, gelatin has been used in households for over a century.  Its unique characteristics make it especially useful as a gelling agent, binder, emulsifier, or thickener. Gelatin’s “melt-in-your-mouth” characteristics and its ability to form thermo-reversible gels, are two of its most desirable properties. In addition to food applications, gelatin is also heavily relied upon for various industrial uses in the pharmaceutical, photographic and adhesive industries.

What is Gelatin made from?

Gelatin is created via the partial hydrolysis (breakdown) of collagen derived from the skin or bones of animals. The top four commercial sources of gelatin are cowhide, cattle bones (ossein), pork skin, and fish skin or scales. Gelatin cannot be recovered from horns, hoofs and other non-collagen containing portions of vertebrate animals. There are no vegetarian sources of gelatin, and there is no chemical relationship between gelatin and other materials referred to as “vegetable gelatin,” such as seaweed extracts (carrageenan) or pectin.

Is All Gelatin the Same?

Gelatin is not a “one-size-fits-all” product – and we like it that way. Nitta Gelatin, partnered with Vyse Gelatin, offers many different types of gelatin to meet specific customer needs. Gelatin is tested and “graded” according to gel strength. This grade is based on the “Bloom,” with higher Bloom correlating to a stronger gel-forming ability.  Bloom is determined by the measurement of force, in grams, required to depress a standard plunger 4mm into the surface of a 6.67% gelatin sample at 10ºC (50ºF).  The firmer the set of gelatin, the higher the Bloom strength. Keep in mind that Bloom grade is not a quality or safety attribute, but rather a physical property (gel-strength) indication.

In addition to Bloom options, we also offer a wide variety of product sources (Bovine, Porcine, Marine), regulatory certifications (Kosher, Halal, etc.), mesh sizes (7 to 40), and country-of-origin specifications.  Gelatin can also be classified according to its ability to meet recognized industry standards, such as Food Grade, U.S.P National Formulary U.S.P./N.F. and Technical, depending on the application.

What does Gelatin consist of?

Approximately 86% protein, 12% moisture & 2% ash (minerals).

What is the Difference between Gelatin & Collagen Peptides (aka Hydrolyzed Gelatin or Gelatin Hydrolysate)?

Gelatin is gel-forming, while collagen peptides are non-gelling, because this function has been enzymatically removed. Collagen peptides are created when gelatin molecules are further broken-down through enzymatic treatment. Due to this major functional difference, gelatin and collagen peptides are used as ingredient in different applications. 

What the Gelatin Set Point mean?

The “set point” or setting point, refers to the temperature at which gelatin initially forms a gel.

How is Viscosity Measured for Gelatin?

Viscosity is measured as the resistance of a gelatin solution 6.67% to flow at 60ºC (140ºF). The flow time of this solution is measured by passing it through a standardized pipette which is approved and utilized by the G.M.I.A. (Gelatin Manufacturers Institute of America) The time required for the solution to pass through this pipette is mathematically converted into a viscosity measurement expressed in millipoise. For more information about gelatin or G.M.I.A, click here.  For a quick reference guide, be sure to check out the G.M.I.A Gelatin Handbook GMIA_Gelatin Handbook