From summer camping trips to nightly hot chocolate-making sessions in winter, marshmallows are part of some of life’s most beautiful moments. And if you’re a quintessential American, you likely always reach for America’s Favorite Jet-Puffed Marshmallows.
These light, airy, soft, and squishy sweet treats taste pretty great. But are Jet-Puffed Marshmallows vegan?
This is a question that you must consider before loading your cart with Jet-Puffed Marshmallows (or any marshmallows, per se) on the grocery run ahead of a camping trip or the holiday season. Let’s find the answer to it!
Are Jet-Puffed Marshmallows Vegan?
Jet-Puffed Marshmallows are not vegan.
If you have been a vegan for any length of time, you would know that marshmallows have a bad rap in the plant-based community. And while vegan-friendly marshmallows are being made now, this, sadly, doesn’t hold true for Kraft’s famous Jet-Puffed Marshmallows.
Why are Jet-Puffed Marshmallows Not Vegan?
Kraft’s marketing for America’s Favorite marshmallows often emphasizes their dairy-free and gluten-free qualities. However, being dairy-free doesn’t make them suitable for vegans.
Let’s dig a little deeper (like we always do) and look at their ingredients list to find out what makes Jet-Puffed Marshmallows non-vegan.
Jet-Puffed Marshmallows Ingredients
Here’s the list of Jet-Puffed Regular Marshmallows ingredients given on the website:
Can you spot the problematic ingredients here?
Many of you can, but for those who’re new to veganism and probably aren’t used to picking out wrong/controversial ingredients on labels, here are the elements responsible for making vegans avoid this holiday’s favorite sweet treat:
Like most other marshmallow varieties, Kraft’s Jet-Puffed Marshmallows contain gelatin, making them inedible for vegans.
In case you didn’t already know, gelatin is made from collagen extracted from animal bones, skin, and hides. While there are plant-based alternatives available to gelatin, the animal-derived ingredient is still the most widely used thickening agent in commercial products.
Just so you don’t have any doubts (or false hopes), the gelatin used in Jet-Puffed Marshmallows is animal-derived; it’s made from pork.
You may be surprised to hear (I was) that 90% of gelatin in America is made from pig skin. Wondering why is that so? Because pork gelatin is easier and quicker to make than beef gelatin, which usually takes about 8 to 12 weeks (can take up to 20 weeks).
Controversial Vegan Ingredients in Jet-Puffed Marshmallows
Gelatin is the only ingredient in Jet-Puffed Marshmallows for which there is a unanimous agreement in the vegan community that it’s non-vegan.
Although this is enough to convince any vegan to stay away from these America’s Favorite marshmallows, it’s worth knowing that these light, airy, and fluffy sweet bites also contain some controversial vegan ingredients. These include:
Natural and Artificial Flavor
Food flavors are among the most debated ingredients in the vegan world. As we have discussed many times on this platform, the term “natural flavors” depict that the flavors are derived from a natural source. It doesn’t tell what exactly the source of flavor is.
Since ‘natural’ can mean both an animal and a plant source, it’s considered a vague term, and natural flavors remain unspecified ingredients.
They can be vegan or non-vegan. But we never know for sure where the natural flavors used in a product come from. The question is – are you willing to take the risk?
The issue with ‘artificial flavors’ falls within the domain of ethical considerations that (most) vegans are highly passionate about.
Artificial flavors are synthetic ingredients made in labs. They are essentially vegan – they do not contain any animal-derived ingredients. But their laboratory manufacturing is an indication that they may be tested on animals to determine the safety of use in humans.
It may come as a surprise to many that Jet-Puffed Marshmallows contain food coloring – Blue 1.
The debate over food coloring is the same as for artificial flavors. The only difference is that there is much stronger evidence for the animal testing of food colors than for artificial flavors.
They are vegan but not cruelty-free, which for most vegans is as important as the use of animal ingredients.
Spend some time as a vegan in today’s world, and you will be blown away by how animal ingredients sneak into seemingly clean items.
The commercial food industry is one big rabbit hole with so many twists and turns that it can often be very hard to know what goes into making an item.
Sugar is an example of it. As a non-vegan, you may never think about what goes into manufacturing sugar used in most food items available on the market. The max you think is the amount of sugar. But things change, and the perspective shifts when you become a vegan.
And it is only when this happens that you discover that sugar is commercially refined using bone char, made from cattle bones. The only exceptions are organic, unrefined, beet, and coconut sugars.
I can bet most (if not all) non-vegans don’t know this.
Sugar itself is vegan but gets contaminated when processed with bone char, and this makes it, and every refined sugar-containing food, a controversial ingredient in the vegan world.
So, What’s the Verdict? Can Vegans Eat Jet-Puffed Marshmallows?
Jet-Puffed Marshmallows may be the perfect accompaniment for hot chocolate and campfire, but they don’t fit in the vegan diet.
Even if you’re fine with the consumption of controversial ingredients (many vegans are, considering they are found in every other product and are practically unavoidable), Kraft’s Jet-Puffed Marshmallows are off your limits because of the gelatin.
As mentioned above, Jet-Puffed Marshmallows contain pork gelatin; hence, they are unsuitable for vegans.
Is Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Crème Vegan?
Sadly, it’s not!
Kraft’s website says Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Crème does not contain gelatin.
This can get many plant-eaters excited about the possibility of it being vegan. However, it’s not; it contains eggs (my heart is crying).
Are Jet-Puffed Mini Marshmallows Vegan?
Jet-Puffed Mini Marshmallows are made from the exact same ingredients as regular marshmallows; they are only smaller in size.
This means they also contain pork gelatin and all the controversial ingredients that we discussed above. Therefore, they are not vegan.
Are Jet-Puffed Marshmallows Kosher?
Pork isn’t kosher, and the gelatin used in Jet-Puffed Marshmallows is made from pork. So, they are not kosher.
Are Jet-Puffed Marshmallows Halal?
Like Jews, Muslims also abstain from eating pork as a religious obligation. Since Jet-Puffed Marshmallows contain gelatin made from pig skin, they are not suitable for Muslims.
Jet-Puffed Marshmallows are not halal.
Are There Vegan Marshmallows Available?
The information that Jet-Puffed Marshmallows and marshmallow fluff aren’t vegan is terrible news. But don’t lose heart. There are now some vegan marshmallow varieties available in the market, too.
Wondering what marshmallow brands are vegan?
There are quite a few. But, like any other product, not all vegan marshmallow varieties are the same. There are some good ones and a few not-so-good options, too.
To make sure you have the same experience with vegan marshmallows as you remember from your pre-vegan days, we have shortlisted some of the best vegan marshmallows for you to buy:
All varieties of marshmallows produced under the store’s own brand name are 100% vegan. Not only do they not contain gelatin, but Trader Joe’s vegan marshmallows also do not use artificial colors and flavors.
They also clearly specify the source of natural flavoring they use. Moreover, they contain cane sugar instead of the controversial refined white sugar.
Here are the Trader Joe’s marshmallows’ ingredients lists for your reference.
Dandies Vegan Marshmallows
Certified vegan and kosher, Dandies vegan marshmallows come in four exciting flavors – vanilla, maple, peppermint, and pumpkin. Here’s what they are made of:
Dandies Vegan Vanilla Marshmallows Ingredients
Dandies Vegan Maple Marshmallows Ingredients
Dandies Vegan Peppermint Marshmallows Ingredients
Dandies Vegan Pumpkin-Flavored Marshmallows Ingredients
As you can see, both Trader Joe’s and Dandies vegan marshmallows use carrageenan in place of gelatin. For those who may not know, this is a plant-based thickening agent extracted from Irish Moss, an edible red seaweed.
America’s Favorite Jet-Puffed Marshmallows aren’t vegan. While this can be disappointing (and a little heartbreaking), this doesn’t mean you have to give up on marshmallows.
You can still load your cart with these light, airy, soft, stretchy, squishy, and (overly) sweet treats ahead of winter holidays or summer camping adventures. You just have to shop for different brands.
There are several vegan marshmallow varieties available on the market. So, go ahead, stock up on them, and make yourself a hot cocoa or s’more to celebrate. Because why not?
Did you find this article helpful? Interested to learn about the vegan status of more holiday treats? Check out my article Are Candy Canes Vegan to know if you can enjoy this Christmas treat as a vegan.