Vegetarian gelatin is a plant based alternative to mimic the taste and texture of the common gelatin that we find in certain sweets and jelly like marshmallows, gummy bears, fruit snacks, and jelly babies. Gelatin is also known as a gelling agent in cooking.
To understand why there is a need for vegetarian gelatin, we first have to know what is the origin of gelatin. Gelatin or gelatine (from Latin: gelatus meaning “stiff”, “frozen”) is a translucent, colourless, tasteless foodstuff, derived from collagen sourced from various animal by-products like animal hooves, bones and cartilages (source: Wikipedia).
Because gelatin is an animal by-product, it is not appropriate to include gelatin in vegetarians’ or vegans’ diet. Fortunately, finding vegetarian gelatin is not difficult. Agar-Agar, Irish Moss and Vegan Jel are excellent substitutes for gelatin. For more information on these replacements, please check out this useful article here.