"What country does candy come from? Sweeten."
This is obviously a sweet joke; however, the favorite old-time candy, Jolly Ranchers, is from the US, and many are starting to ask if this can be a vegan treat.
Are Jolly Ranchers vegan? Well, we have a "confection" to make.
Jolly Ranchers - Vegan or Not?
Not really. If we talk about Jolly Ranchers sweets, there are so many that come to mind. There's Jolly Rancher hard candy, lollipops, jelly beans, and Jolly Rancher bites, chews, and gummies. Typically, candy is from sugar, which originates from sugarcane. So, it should be vegan, right?
If you look at the labels of the products from Jolly Rancher Company, no claims are stating that it is vegan. Based on what the owner said, because of the proprietary natural flavor ingredient supplied from a third party, they do not have any ways to delve deeper if indeed the ingredients used are vegan or not.
What are the Prime Ingredients?
The following ingredients are found in Jolly Rancher hard candies. Artificial sugar, natural and artificial flavors, mineral oil, and artificial colors (Blue 1, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Red 40).
All mentioned are vegan-friendly, but Jolly Rancher hard candy packs do not have any labels stating vegan products. Some vegans purchase and consume these products, though, because of Jolly Ranchers' claim to be vegan.
It has processed sugar, natural flavors, mineral oil, and artificial colors (Blue 1, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Red 40). Lecithin, a controversial ingredient, is included in this candy product.
Also, these candies are considered vegan-friendly, yet Jolly Rancher lollipops also do not have labels claiming these are vegan. The same as the hard candies, these are also purchased by some vegans. It will depend on the preference of the individual, though.
It has processed sugar, natural and artificial flavors, and artificial colors (Blue 1, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Red 40). Like the first two classic Jolly rancher food products, these are also considered vegan-friendly, but Jelly Beans are also claim-free of being vegan.
No confectioner's glaze, nor does it contain gelatin. Jolly Rancher jelly beans do not have any non-vegan ingredients. Therefore, most vegans most likely consume these. Some do not, though, because of the unknown contents of 3rd party ingredients.
Bites, Chews, & Gummies (Soft Candies)
For most of the Jolly Rancher soft candies, the ingredients are mostly made up of corn syrup, sugar, enriched wheat flour, gelatin, natural and artificial flavor, lecithin, salt, artificial colors, and potassium sorbate.
Jolly Rancher gummies, fruit chews, and gummy sweets contain gelatin and dairy milk, which is why it is excluded from the vegan diet—the same with Jolly rancher crunch. Jolly Rancher Misfits and Jolly Rancher bites are the only two classified as vegan.
Also Read: Are Swedish Fish Candies Vegan-Friendly?
What Makes It Non-Vegan?
Jolly Ranchers products are fairly labeled if they are vegan or not, but just to answer curiosity, what makes it not vegan food? First is the sugar.
A certified vegan will not consume anything with animal products or undergo a process that uses animal parts, such as bone char from refined cane sugar(1).
Another reason is the gelatin that is believed to originate from boiling animal skin. All these are against vegan practices and morals.
You only have two choices on this: meat protein or fish, and none of the two are vegan. Gelatin is made by processing animal skins, bones, ligaments, and tendons. Kosher gelatin, on the other hand, is made of fish parts using the same process.
Jolly Rancher jelly beans are one of the products that are said to have these contents. There are vegan alternatives used to produce these types of candies, which strict practicing vegans do not patronize.
Regular cane sugar can be part of a vegan diet, but strict vegans steer away once refined. Anything that has a hint of animal products or was processed using animal parts like bone char is not part of the vegan lifestyle.
It should also be cruelty-free, which is not actually an issue faced by Jolly Ranchers. Instead of this, vegans opt for sugar that is from organic cane juice that did not go through other filtrations and refining processes.
The vegan community is questioning the use of natural flavors because they can be obtained from plants but also animal origin. If products, such as what Jolly Rancher does, use third-party flavors, they are not aware. They will not have the capability of finding out whether what was used are potentially animal-derived ingredients, and this is what Jolly Ranchers claim as well.
This lecithin originates from soya, making it vegan. However, food manufacturers such as Jolly Rancher are using third-party products; therefore, they do not fully know if the emulsifiers used are not vegan ingredients or not.
Lecithin is not only plant-based but can also be obtained from animals causing doubt among practicing vegans.
Most food colors are from animals, and this is very common in the food industry. Food colors derive from plants, like the dark red azo dye used by a Jolly Rancher product.
Many are aware of these, but what concerns many vegans is food coloring that is not properly labeled, which Jolly Ranchers have. Apart from that, these are tested before distribution in the market, and the ones used in testing are animals.
Jolly Ranchers Vegan Alternatives
GoOrganic Hard Candies
This is a very healthy alternative for a Jolly Rancher hard candy. No added artificial flavorings, natural ingredients only. A total vegan option, and these are also allergen-free. It is also a Non-GMO Project verified, kosher and gluten-free. These hard candies can definitely be a part of a vegan's healthy diet.
This is a counterpart of Jolly Rancher lollipops vegan can certainly consume. These candies are made from quality ingredients, including malic acid and other essential add-ons that are vegan-friendly. These are also allergen-tested safe and are also Kosher certified products.
These are the best alternatives for Jolly Rancher chews. It uses Ugar instead of gelatin to have that sticky and chewy texture. It also has various flavors available such as blue raspberry, apple, and a lot more. These are also gluten-free, allergen-tested, and kosher certified, which is best for vegan practicing individuals.
Not really. Jolly Rancher candies can be part of the vegan diets, such as the Jolly Rancher vegan hard candy. The product labels do not have anything showing ingredients that are outright animal-based; however, some of it may contain or go through processes that are against the practices and beliefs of vegans.
Not legally. Labels do not show any gluten-containing ingredients; however, Jolly Rancher candies are still not fully certified as gluten-free products. Individuals with gluten intolerance should avoid Jolly Rancher products until they get the full certification. Do not take a Jolly Rancher candy unless you are prepared to take the risk.
Are Jolly Ranchers vegan? I believe, in totality, it is not. There are varied claims on this because of the controversial ingredients they use.
Jolly Rancher state in their press releases that their emulsifiers come from plants, but the owners, Hershey, say that there are 3rd-party ingredients used that they do not have the means to find out whether it is vegan.
Jolly Ranchers have been around for a long time, and their candies are already part of the American culture. However, if the contents of their products are not clearly shown to be vegan-friendly, it is simply just right to assume otherwise.
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