Did you know that not all candy is vegan-friendly? Use this definitive list of vegan candy the next time a craving for something sweet hits you.
When you adopt a vegan lifestyle, you become more aware of what you eat and think twice before you eat it. Ingredients labels that were previously ignored become more important than ever before. This is especially the case with hard-to-identify food items like candy that might be vegan by accident.
What should not be in vegan candy?
For candy to be vegan, it should not contain any animal products. But some of these are quite sneaky to spot if you don’t know what they are.
The main animal-derived culprits are shellac, carmine, and gelatin.
Shellac, found in forests in India and Thailand, is a resin that is secreted by the female lac bug. It’s used as a confectioner’s glaze in candy and treats. It’s the substance that makes candy shine like jelly beans and candy corn.
Carmine – cochineal extract or “Natural Red 4”
Carmine (also listed as cochineal extract, Natural Red 4, cochineal, C.I. 75470, or E120 on ingredients labels) is a red food coloring that’s made from extracts of the dried bodies of a beetle called the Coccus cacti bug.
Gelatin is made by boiling the “leftovers” from the meat industry. It’s used to make items that need to gel. Gelatin is used in most jelly products, as well as other kinds of candy like marshmallows, as a flavorless glue that keeps it all together. Gelatin is usually listed as “gelatin” in ingredients.
Missing marshmallows? You might like to try our Vegan Marshmallow Recipe
Our definitive list of vegan candy
So, what should you be looking for instead when it comes to getting your sweet fix? With many popular brands switching the bugs in favor of plant-based alternatives, you’ll be glad to know that vegan-friendly candy can be quite easy to come by!
This list of vegan candy is a must-read for all sweet-loving vegans!
Fortunately, you don’t have to throw away all your Halloween basket favorites just yet. You might have been enjoying this candy for years without even knowing they are vegan!
Not all chewy candy comes with gelatin. These popular, fruity gumdrops are loved by moviegoers everywhere, so you can indulge in this iconic snack while watching your favorite movie, guilt-free.
Red Vines are another chewy, subtly sweet, berry-flavored candy that is simply irresistible. As their name suggests, they are bright red in color, but with no carmine to be found! Red Vines use an artificial red dye known as Red 40.
Sour Patch Kids
Sweet, sour, and vegan. Sour sugar fans will be happy to know that Sour Patch Kids contain no gelatin or animal-derived food coloring!
Twizzlers are very similar to Red Vines. They both have a similar shape, berry flavor, and red color. Finally, just like Red Vines, Twizzlers are also suitable for vegans.
Despite their hardened exterior, there is no shellac to be found in Skittles. Their formula has changed several times, often leading to confusion, but the current formula for all flavor varieties does not contain gelatin, carmine, or shellac. You can still taste the rainbow as a vegan!
The original Cracker Jacks are suitable for vegans. These caramel-coated popcorn and peanut mix is another movie theater favorite that you can happily sneak in next time you’re out.
Jolly Rancher Hard Candy
This iconic candy packs a lot of different flavors, ranging from watermelon to apple and strawberry. This variety of Jolly Ranchers is not only suitable for vegans but also sugar-free.
All six varieties of Airheads available on the market are vegan, with the exception of Airheads Bites, which contain gelatin, shellac, and beeswax.
These classic lollipops come in a wide variety of flavors, all of them delicious, and all of them vegan. Their bright colors are, in fact, all derived from synthetic dyes – no beetles used!
Sweet and tart, these tiny tabs are naturally free from most known allergens, making the candy a tasty and convenient choice for vegans.
Hubba Bubba Chewing Gum
Unfortunately, most chewing gum brands are not suitable for a vegan diet. Some gum bases can contain animal products, such as glycerin, lanolin, and latex. Hubba Bubba is an exception to the rule, so you can blow bubbles without any worries for your animal friends!
Here is another tasty, chewy red candy that does not contain any animal ingredients, despite the fishy name. Be careful, however, as some varieties might swap carnauba wax for beeswax – check the label if you’re unsure.
All flavors of Fun Dip are vegan, as their reds are derived from the synthetic dye Red 40. Sugar-dipping has never been more fun and cruelty-free!
These colorful, sugary sticks are free from all animal ingredients, as the bright dyes used are all derived from synthetic ingredients.
Most Tic Tac flavors are suitable for vegans, as their shiny coating is made from carnauba wax. The classic Orange and Mint varieties are confirmed to be free from any animal products, but make sure to watch out for shellac and carmine in some lesser-known flavors.
Happy to have spotted your favorite candy on the list? Whether it’s a movie night craving or an unexpected stop at a gas station, keeping a list of vegan-friendly candy at hand can make indulging much easier!