Mentos were first created and sold to the public in 1932. Today, the mints are available for sale in over hundred-and-thirty countries! That’s a lot of growth for such a simple candy.
Most people automatically assume the mints are vegan since peppermint is a real herb. However, Mentos has neither real peppermint nor any real herbs in them…
So, are Mentos vegan?
Unfortunately, Mentos are NOT vegan. They contain beeswax, which the majority of vegans do not consume. Beeswax is stolen from exploited bees, which is why it’s not vegan-friendly. However, Mentos Gum is vegan and contains no animal-derived ingredients!
Below, we’ll take a closer look at all of the ingredients used in both the original Mentos and Mentos gum, so you can see why one is vegan while the other is not. Let’s jump in!
Are Mentos Suitable For Vegans?
On the surface, mentos seem suitable for vegans. They’re a simple, chewy, mint-flavored candy. Unfortunately, candy is rarely ever “simple” these days.
With advances in modern food technology, many once-simple candies now consist of a long list of artificial ingredients and strange animal-derived by-products.
Sadly, Mentos are not suitable for vegans due to the fact that they contain beeswax.
Beeswax is used to create the chewy texture that Mentos are known for. Without it, Mentos would be a little bit more difficult to chew.
Unfortunately, vegans don’t consume honey or any other bee products. For one thing, bees need all of the things they produce. Honey is used to feed their young and beeswax is used to build protective hive structures. Without it, their colony is at risk.
What Are Mentos Made Of? Ingredients Listed
I’ve always been a proponent of learning more about what’s in your food. With so many artificial additives and mysterious animal derivatives in our food, it can often be hard to tell what you’re eating.
Even so-called “healthy” foods typically contain at least two or three hard-to-pronounce additives.
One of my goals with this blog is to educate people, so they can tell what they should and shouldn’t be putting in their bodies. So, with that in mind, here’s a quick look at the ingredients used in Mentos original candy:
Now, let’s take a few minutes to go through the ingredients. I’ll explain which ones are vegan, questionable, and definitely not vegan.
Sugar is the main ingredient used to make Mentos (and most other candies, for that matter). There’s just one small problem – the majority of vegans don’t eat sugar.
Now, all sugar starts off as vegan. Raw organic cane sugar is 100% plant-based and consumed by vegans on a regular basis.
However, to turn raw cane sugar into concentrated white sugar, it must first go through a filtration process that uses animal bone char to remove the coloring and outer layer of malt from the sugar crystals.
This means that refined white sugar is not vegan.
Dietary vegans might be okay with it if they’re not too concerned with the ethics behind their food. However, ethical vegans typically abstain from all foods that contain white sugar.
2) Wheat Glucose Syrup
Wheat glucose syrup is essentially pure sugar syrup that’s obtained from wheat. Sugar can be found in almost all starchy plants, such as potatoes, corn, and wheat.
So, it comes to as little surprise that glucose syrup can be extracted from wheat just as easily as it’s extracted from corn and other plant-based foods.
Wheat glucose syrup is a concentrated form of pure sugar that’s immediately absorbed into your bloodstream, giving you a concentrated boost of high blood sugar. Since it’s a plant-based sweetener, wheat glucose syrup is vegan. It’s just not very healthy for you!
3) Hydrogenated Coconut Oil
Most candy is made with some type of fat. Palm oil and canola oil are some of the most commonly used cooking oils used in candy and processed snacks. However, Mentos use hydrogenated coconut oil.
This is essentially coconut oil that’s been infused with added hydrogen. The result is that the otherwise liquid coconut oil turns into a hard solid that has a similar consistency to butter. Otherwise, Mentos would be oily and rather messy.
The coconut oil acts as a binding agent that helps the candy stay together. It also helps to improve the flavor. It’s 100% vegan since it’s a plant-based oil, so no worries here.
4) Rice Starch
Rice starch is a powdery starch that coats each grain of rice before they’re soaked in water. This starch is commonly used in cooking as a thickening agent. It can also act as a drying agent and keep moisture out of food products.
In Mentos, rice starch is used to give the outer coating of the Mentos a harder, more crunchy texture. This vegan-friendly, plant-based ingredient is often added to crunchy foods and cereals, such as chips and Rice Krispies.
5) Natural Flavors
Although Mentos may have once contained real peppermint oil, today’s Mentos aren’t quite so natural. Instead, Mentos contain “natural” flavors that are chemically derived from natural sources.
Natural flavors are certainly a bit healthier for you than artificial flavors. However, they’re still not quite as good as real essential oils. Still, at least these natural flavors are vegan.
6) Gum Arabic
Gum arabic is a special type of gum-like substance that’s excreted from certain species of gum trees. It’s usually one of the main ingredients in the gum and chewy foods. It creates a chewy, gelatin-like texture in foods and is 100% all-natural and plant-based.
7) Sucrose Esters of Fatty Acids
Sucrose is a natural sugar that’s found in various fruits and plants. I presume that the outer coating of the Mentos is made from these sucrose esters, which is where it gets its strong, fruity, minty flavor from.
8) Gellan Gum
Gellan gum is a fatty, gum-like substance that’s produced by a special type of gellan-producing bacteria. It’s produced in a similar manner to the way that vegan probiotics are made, by allowing the bacteria to reproduce and make more gellan.
Gellan is 100% vegan and is a common food additive that’s used to make foods chewier and give them a more gum-like texture and consistency.
9) Carnauba Wax
Carnauba wax is a special type of wax that’s derived from palm trees. It’s generally considered safe and is only used in small amounts as a food additive. This wax is used to coat the outside layer of the Mentos in, preventing too much moisture from getting into the candy.
Last but not least, beeswax is combined with the carnauba wax to create the protective waxy coating around each Mentos candy. Unfortunately, beeswax is not vegan. So, even though it’s only used in small amounts, Mentos are non-vegan because of it.
Is Mentos Pure Fresh Gum Vegan? Ingredients Exposed
While the original Mentos candy might not be vegan, Mentos Pure Fresh Gum is vegan-friendly!
That being said, Mentos gum is loaded with artificial ingredients. Its ingredients list is nearly double that of the original Mentos and is packed with hard-to-pronounce additives. So, while it is vegan, I don’t recommend chewing this gum on a regular basis.
Just take a look for yourself:
Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that’s naturally found in plants. It’s very similar to the ingredient that we looked at above – sucrose esters of fatty acids. This low-calorie, a low-sugar sweetener is commonly used in gum, as it’s super-sweet and has a potent flavor, creating a longer-lasting sweetness.
2) Chewing Gum Base
Mentos uses a “chewing gum base” as the main base of the chewing gum. Essentially, it’s a blend of resins and waxes that aren’t easily dissolved in your mouth. This is what allows you to chew on a piece of gum for hours at a time.
Sorbitol is very similar to xylitol. It’s another fruit-derived sugar alcohol that’s known for its potent strength. It’s a common sugar substitute.
Mannitol is yet another sugar substitute. Like xylitol and sorbitol, mannitol is a low-calorie, low sugar sweetener that’s extracted from plants.
Glycerol (or glycerine) is a simple sugar alcohol that’s found in fatty acids. While glycerol can come from animal fat, it more often is derived from plant-based oils. Glycerol is added as a mild sweetening agent.
6) Maltitol Syrup
Maltitol syrup is a starchy syrup that’s created by hydrogenating corn syrup and turning it into a thicker, more viscous syrup instead. It’s added as a sweet thickening agent, which provides long-lasting sweetness at the core of the Mentos gum.
7) Natural & Artificial Flavors
All Mentos Gum varieties are flavored with a blend of both natural and artificial flavors. The flavors used in Mentos gum are all fruit-derived or lab-made, though, so you don’t need to worry about any of these being non-vegan.
8) Gum Arabic
As we discussed above, gum arabic is a natural gum that comes from gum trees. This is used to create a thick, chewy texture that’s perfect for chewing gum. It’s vegan-friendly, though, since it comes from natural sources.
All Mentos gum varieties are colored with artificial food coloring, such as Blue 1, which is used to create the artificial mint “flakes” that you see on the surface of each piece of Mentos gum.
Aspartame is a synthetic, chemical sweetener that’s two-hundred times sweeter than traditional sucrose.
It’s also been linked to an increasing number of toxicology studies and has been shown to have detrimental effects on the body when consumed in large amounts or taken over a long period of time.
Acesulfame is another artificial sweetener that’s used in Mentos Gum.
12) Soy Lecithin
Soy lecithin is a soy-based preservative that’s added to gum to increase its shelf life. It’s generally considered vegan since it comes from soy.
13) Green Tea Extract
Green tea extract is healthy and is likely added to Mentos Gum to improve its flavor. It has a potent herbal flavor that’s somewhat similar to mint.
Sucralose is yet another artificial sweetener used in gum. It’s vegan, though, since it’s lab-made.
15) Carnauba Wax
Carnauba wax is a natural wax that’s extracted from palm trees. It’s vegan since it’s plant-based and is mostly used to coat the outside of each piece of gum to protect it from moisture and air.
16) Sodium Carboxymethylcellulose
This mouthful of an ingredient is used as an emulsifier. Presumably, it helps to hold the Mentos gum together, keeping it from falling apart and ensuring a longer-lasting flavor.
17) Sucrose Esters
Sucrose esters are plant-based sweetening compounds that are extracted from the fatty acids of plants.
BHA is commonly used in cosmetics and acne products. However, in food it serves as a preservative, increasing the shelf life of the gum.
The Verdict – Are Mentos Vegan?
Mentos candy is NOT vegan, since it contains both sugar and beeswax. However, the Mentos gum is vegan-friendly, since it doesn’t contain any animal ingredients.
However, the Mentos Gum does contain tons of artificial ingredients that aren’t healthy for you, so I’d still stay away from it.
Then again, most other brands of gum aren’t very natural either. Don’t believe me? Check out my last post on Extra Gum next. You’ll see that it contains almost the same number of artificial chemicals as Mentos Gum does!