Tic Tacs are made by the Italian candy company Ferrero. They first hit store shelves in 1969 and quickly spread across the world. Today, they’re sold in over a hundred countries! They’re a simple, delicious, refreshing, low-calorie treat that also doubles as a breath mint. What’s not to love?
If you’re here reading this post, though, you’re probably wondering, “Are Tic Tacs vegan?”
Tic Tacs are generally considered vegan. They’re even listed as a vegan-friendly snack by PETA, which is one of the world’s most stringent vegan organizations. However, they do contain white sugar, which many strict vegans try to avoid due to ethical reasons.
Today’s post is going to be all about Tic Tacs! Below, I’ll explain which flavors of Tic Tacs are vegan, show you what Tic Tacs are made of, and explain why some vegans still aren’t 100% sure about them.
Let’s take a look!
Are Original Tic Tacs Vegan?
Tic Tac’s original best-selling flavor is the Tic Tacs Fresh Mint variety. As I mentioned, these candies were first sold as breath mints before they became more commonly enjoyed as snacking candy.
So, it makes sense that the company would release a refreshing mint-flavored candy before anything else.
The original Tic Tac Fresh Mint flavor is vegan-friendly. It doesn’t contain any obvious animal by-products like gelatin, stearic acid, or animal-derived flavorings.
As I mentioned above, though, all flavors of Tic Tacs contain white sugar as the number one ingredient. While many vegans don’t have an issue with sugar, an increasing number of vegans are beginning to boycott white sugar as it’s not a completely innocent food product.
Aside from the sugar, though, Tic Tacs are a pretty simple and straightforward product. The packaging is also ingeniously designed to be reused in a number of different ways, making it a more sustainable product:
The Problem With White Sugar…
If you’re just getting started with the whole vegan diet, then you may be wondering, “What’s wrong with sugar?”
Most of the public looks at white sugar as a purely natural product. After all, it’s just sugar that comes from sugarcane plants, right?
While this is true, white sugar goes through a refining process that’s not very vegan-friendly. To turn the natural cane sugar (which is also sold in stores as turbinado sugar) into white sugar, the larger brown-colored crystals must first be filtered through animal bone char.
This process removes the outer layer of malt flavoring from the cane sugar, leaving behind pure white sugar. White sugar is sweeter and more concentrated than cane sugar, making it ideal for baking, candy-making, and everything in between.
For this reason, more and more vegans have been swapping the white sugar in their diet for all-natural unrefined cane sugar or other plant-based sweeteners (honey doesn’t count, by the way).
I get it – white sugar is hard to avoid. Some would say it’s almost impossible to avoid, as it’s used in most processed foods to one degree or another.
Technically, no bone-char actually ends up in the final sugar product. So it’s not exactly an “animal product.” Still, the ethical concerns are valid. Ultimately, I leave it up to my readers to decide what’s best for their own diet and ethical convictions.
Even PETA is divided on the topic!
For example, this PETA article is gung-ho about how non-vegan sugar is. However, if you take a look at PETA’s article on Tic Tacs, they claim that the candies are vegan-friendly, even though they contain white sugar!
Are Tic Tacs Vegan In The UK?
Often, certain foods in the US contain different ingredients than their European counterparts. For example, in the US, McDonald’s French fries are non-vegan (due to animal-derived seasoning). However, in the UK, McDonald’s French fries are 100% vegan and plant-based!
Thankfully, Tic Tacs worldwide is made with the same exact ingredients.
This ensures a reliable flavor profile. While Tic Tacs in the UK still contain refined sugar (a questionable ingredient), the other ingredients are all plant-based or synthetic, making Tic Tacs in the UK vegan-friendly.
What Are Tic Tacs Made Of? A Look At The Ingredients
Have you ever been curious about what’s inside of your Tic Tac? You might think that just because they look tiny that they must only have a few ingredients.
However, this is not the case.
In fact, each Tic Tac contains nine different ingredients!
Here’s the short-list from Ferrero’s website:
Now, I’ll take a couple of minutes to go through each ingredient and clear up any confusion you may have about it!
Like most candy, sugar is the number one ingredient used in Tic Tacs. Sugar comes from a natural plant called sugarcane. Once harvested, this plant is crushed to release its sugary juice. This is then evaporated, leaving behind pure sugar crystals. This is raw cane sugar.
To turn the raw cane sugar into refined white sugar, it must be filtered through high-carbon animal bone char. Unfortunately, this refining process is the reason why many vegans don’t agree with consuming white sugar.
Maltodextrin is a simple starch that’s typically extracted from corn. It’s essentially a more refined version of corn flour, which is just pure dried and ground corn. Starch is the sugar element contained within corn flour.
This is isolated through chemical processes, resulting in corn starch and the more processed maltodextrin (which is super-processed corn starch).
This ingredient isn’t very healthy, due to all of the processing. However, it is vegan.
3) Gum Arabic
Gum arabic is a special type of gum that’s extracted from the acacia tree. This thick gum is all-natural, vegan-friendly, and is used as a thickening agent in food.
Fructose is a pure sugar syrup that contains a simple sugar known as fructose. This simple sugar is typically extracted from starchy plants, so it’s generally regarded as a vegan.
5) Artificial Flavoring
All Tic Tacs are artificially flavored. Since artificial flavors are all lab-made, you never have to worry about them coming from animals. So, there are no issues here!
6) Rice Starch
Rice starch is a simple starch that’s extracted from rice grains. If you’ve ever let dry rice sit in water to soften it, you may notice that the water turns an opaque color. This is from the natural starch that’s “washed” off of the rice grain prior to cooking.
7) Spirulina & Apple Concentrate
I’m not sure exactly why Tic Tacs contain these two unexpected ingredients. However, they’re both healthy and vegan-friendly. I assume that they’re used as some form of flavoring to give the Tic Tacs a more natural, fruity flavor.
8) Magnesium Salts
Magnesium salts are often used in processed food as a firming agent. This ingredient is what makes Tic Tacs so hard. Otherwise, they’d be softer and have a more gummy-like consistency.
Magnesium salts are the result of combining magnesium with fatty acids from vegetables. So, while it is a processed food product, it is vegan.
9) Carnauba Wax
Last but not least, we have carnauba wax. This wax is extracted from palm trees and is vegan-friendly. It’s used to coat the Tic Tacs and prevent air and moisture from getting in. This is what gives each Tic Tac its shiny, glazed shell!
The Verdict – Are Tic Tacs Vegan-Friendly?
As long as you don’t mind consuming a bit of refined sugar, then Tic Tacs are a vegan-friendly breath mint (or candy, depending on how you treat them).
That being said, you shouldn’t rely solely on breath mints to keep your mouth fresh…
For clean teeth that you won’t forget, be sure to check out my list of the best vegan toothpaste brands next!