Twizzlers are one of the oldest candies in America and were first introduced in 1929, nearly a century ago!
Since then, the licorice-flavored twists have been a favorite at movie theaters, and ball games, and are a popular convenience store snack everywhere you go. They’re still making innovative new flavors to this day!
The real question you’re probably wondering, though, is, “Are Twizzlers vegan?”
Twizzlers don’t contain any animal ingredients or by-products, which makes them a fairly vegan-friendly snack!
However, they do contain refined sugar and palm oil, which many ethical vegans try to avoid in their diet. If you’re just concerned with avoiding direct animal products, though, Twizzlers are perfectly fine.
Like most candy on the market, Twizzlers do contain some questionable ingredients that not all vegans will agree with. So, while Twizzlers may be a great snack for dietary vegans, they’re not a good choice for ethical vegans.
In today’s post, I’ll give you a full breakdown of all of the main ingredients in Twizzlers and explain why certain ingredients may not be acceptable to certain vegans. That way, you can decide for yourself whether or not this candy is right for you!
Do Twizzlers Have Gelatin In Them?
At first glance, many would automatically assume that Twizzlers contain gelatin. This animal by-product is commonly found in foods like Pop-Tarts, gummy bears, and other foods that have a “bouncy,” gel-like texture.
Thankfully, though, Twizzlers do NOT contain any gelatin!
Gelatin is the primary ingredient in Jell-O, and is often used in food and candy as an emulsifier. It keeps food bouncy, and soft, and helps hold ingredients together in a sort of stasis.
Unfortunately, gelatin is one of the most common non-vegan additives on the market. It’s made by reducing animal bones, ligaments, and tendons into a fatty broth and then processing it into a powder that’s pretty much pure animal fat.
It’s tasteless, so most vegans won’t even be able to tell if they’re eating it or not. This is why I always tell vegans to double-check their ingredients labels before eating anything!
Twizzlers Ingredients: Listed
Whenever it comes to candy and snacks, I always like to give my readers a breakdown of all of the main ingredients used to make the product.
Since there are different vegan philosophies (some ethical, while others are purely dietary vegans), it helps to know exactly what’s in your food, so you can decide whether or not it’s right for you.
1) Corn Syrup
Corn syrup is the main ingredient in Twizzlers and also serves as the primary sweetening agent. Although corn syrup is far from “healthy,” it is 100% vegan-friendly.
This plant-based sweetener is extracted by processing the natural sugars found in corn, which is one of the sweetest vegetables that naturally grows all over the American continent.
2) Enriched Wheat Flour
Enriched wheat flour is what gives Twizzlers substance. Without it, they’d have a lot more of a gooey consistency. The flour helps keep them solid and gives them some basic nutritional value.
Sugar is added to Twizzlers as a secondary sweetener (you know because corn syrup isn’t sweet enough). Unfortunately, Twizzlers uses refined white sugar in their recipe. While unrefined cane sugar is vegan-friendly, refined white sugar is not.
This is because white sugar is filtered through animal bone char to remove its natural brown coloring.
Bone char is a type of charcoal that’s made by fire-roasting leftover animal bones from slaughterhouses. It contains high amounts of carbon, which act as a natural filtration agent to filter out the color.
Unfortunately, this process turns an otherwise vegan product into a non-vegan sweetener. If you’re just a dietary vegan, then you’re not technically consuming any animal products.
However, if you’re an ethical vegan, whose goal is to avoid any product that even slightly contributes to the meat industry, then white sugar is off-limits.
Cornstarch is a common baking ingredient that’s added to candy and other processed foods. It helps keep the consistency the same and prevents the candy from becoming too sticky or falling apart.
5) Palm Oil
Palm oil is the second questionable ingredient in Twizzlers. As I’ve mentioned before, palm oil is plant-based cooking oil. However, most of the world’s palm oil comes from South American countries or Indonesia, where environmental protection is virtually nonexistent.
As a result, the palm oil industry is incredibly destructive to natural rainforests which are burned down every year to make room for new palm crops.
Salt ensures that the Twizzlers aren’t too sweet, and provides a more complex flavor. Thankfully, it’s vegan!
7) Artificial Flavoring
All Twizzlers flavors are artificially flavored. They no longer feature real licorice, as the ingredient is too expensive. Instead, they use vegan-friendly artificial flavors such as licorice flavor, strawberry flavor, and other flavors, depending on the flavor variety of Twizzlers.
8) Citric Acid
Citric acid is a citrus-derived acid that’s added to Twizzlers to serve as a mild preservative and keep the product shelf-stable.
9) Mineral Oil
In food, mineral oil serves much the same purpose as cornstarch. It helps prevent the Twizzler twists from sticking together by providing a thin oil barrier that causes the twists to repel each other.
10) Artificial Coloring
Twizzlers are traditionally red. This coloring is not the result of real berries or licorice, but of artificial red 40 food coloring.
11) Soy Lecithin
Last but not least, soy lecithin is added to Twizzlers to act as a mild plant-based preservative.
The Verdict – Twizzlers Are A Great Vegan-Friendly Snacks
If you’re a dietary vegan then Twizzlers are an acceptable candy to treat yourself to every now and then. However, if you’re an ethical vegan who avoids white sugar and palm oil, then you’d do best to avoid Twizzlers.
If you’re looking for a 100% vegan-friendly sweet treat, though, I recommend dark chocolate as it contains very little sugar and often uses vegan-friendly brown sugar or organic cane sugar as a sweetener instead of refined white sugar!