Vegans love their candy just as much as everyone else, and luckily, there’s a wide range of animal-free, dairy-free candy to choose from. In this guide, we’ll explore what makes candy vegan, which candies are accidentally vegan, and delve into specific categories like candy bars, gummies, chocolate, caramels, chews, lollipops, and marshmallows. Whether you’re a long-time vegan or simply looking to make more ethical candy choices, this article has got you covered.
Is Candy Vegan?
Not all candy is vegan, but the good news is that many sweets are. As veganism gains prominence worldwide, the market for vegan confectionery is growing rapidly, expected to expand at an annual growth rate of 11.5 percent over the next several years. However, some candies contain animal-derived ingredients such as dairy (listed as milk, milkfat, butterfat, or whey) and gelatin (derived from animal tendons, ligaments, or skin), making them non-vegan. Additionally, some candies use carmine (from crushed cochineal beetles) or shellac (from insect secretions) as ingredients. Always read labels to ensure the candy you choose is vegan-friendly.
Is Sugar Vegan?
In addition to avoiding specific animal ingredients, some vegans prefer products from vegan companies because most refined white sugar in the US is processed with bone char. While the sugar itself doesn’t contain bones, it does highlight the pervasive use of animal byproducts in the food industry. If you want to avoid sugar processed with bone char, look for products made with organic sugar.
Some candies may carry warnings like “may contain traces of…” or “made on shared equipment with…” animal products. These warnings are primarily for people with severe allergies and don’t indicate the deliberate inclusion of animal products. Purchasing these candies won’t increase the demand for non-vegan candy, but it’s a personal choice whether or not to avoid them.
Is Vegan Candy Healthy?
While veganism is often associated with healthier food choices, vegan candy remains a sweet indulgence and should be enjoyed in moderation. Vegan candy, just like its non-vegan counterparts, is typically high in sugar and considered an ultra-processed treat. It’s essential to be mindful of your sugar intake. If you’re looking for healthier options, consider brands like SmartSweets or Zolli Candy.
Accidentally Vegan Candy
“Accidentally vegan” candies are those not intentionally created as vegan but happen to be free from animal ingredients. This category includes nostalgic favorites that vegans can enjoy without worrying about hidden animal-derived ingredients. Here are some popular accidentally vegan candies:
- Fun Dip
- Jolly Ranchers
- Sour Patch Kids
- Swedish Fish
Vegan Candy Bars
While not all candy bars are vegan, there are gourmet and nostalgic vegan candy bar options available. These vegan-friendly candy bars offer a range of flavors and textures without using milk chocolate. Some vegan candy bar brands to explore include:
- Amy’s Kitchen
- Enjoy Life
- Go Max Go
- No Whey! Foods
Gummies typically contain gelatin derived from animal bones, but many brands opt for plant-based alternatives. Some vegan gummy brands use ingredients like pectin, agar agar, or carrageenan to achieve that chewy texture. Here are some vegan gummy options:
- Annie’s Fruit Snacks
- California Gummy Bears
- Candy Kittens
You don’t need cow’s milk to enjoy delicious chocolate. Many brands offer dark chocolate options or use plant-based milk alternatives like oat, almond, or rice milk to create vegan milk chocolate. Explore a variety of vegan chocolate treats from brands like:
- Alter Eco
- Hu Kitchen
Chewy, sweet caramels often contain dairy, but there are vegan versions available. These vegan caramels are perfect for snacking or using in your favorite recipes. Consider brands such as:
- Hey Boo
Similar to gummies, chewy candies can sometimes contain gelatin or other non-vegan ingredients. However, there are plenty of vegan chewy candy options available in various flavors. Some options include:
- Jelly Belly
- Lovely Organic
From mainstream brands to all-natural, fruit-sweetened varieties, there are plenty of vegan lollipop options to choose from. Always check the ingredients to ensure they are dairy-free. Some vegan lollipop brands include:
- Charms Blow Pops
- Dum Dums
- Juicy Pops
Traditional marshmallows are not vegan due to the use of gelatin. However, many brands offer vegan marshmallows made with alternatives like carrageenan or agar agar. Explore vegan marshmallow options from brands such as:
- Freedom Confectionery
- Suzanne’s Specialties
- Trader Joe’s
In conclusion, there is a wide variety of vegan candy options available, from gummies and chocolate bars to caramels and marshmallows. As the demand for vegan products continues to rise, the candy industry is responding with more delicious and ethical choices. When indulging your sweet tooth, remember to read labels and enjoy vegan candy in moderation. For more vegan candy options and information, you can visit the Crooked Beverage Co. website. Happy snacking!