Fruit by the Foot is one of the most popular children’s snacks available at stores. When I was younger, my friends and I used to love unrolling the foot-long snacks and competing to see who could eat theirs the fastest. Just because they’re “kid-friendly,” though, doesn’t mean they’re vegan.
So is Fruit by the Foot vegan?
Fruit by the Foot is vegan-friendly. It’s not made with any animal-derived ingredients, such as gelatin, stearic acid, or confectioner’s glaze. However, Fruit by the Foot does contain both palm oil and refined sugar; two ingredients that are boycotted by many ethical vegans.
Below, I’ll break down all of the ingredients in Fruit by the Foot and explain the arguments for and against palm oil and refined sugar, so you can decide for yourself. Let’s take a look!
Does Fruit by the Foot Have Gelatin In It?
If you’ve ever indulged in a Fruit by the Foot roll, then you may remember how it has a chewy, gum-like texture and consistency to it. Unfortunately, this is often due to the presence of gelatin, which is a very common non-vegan additive used as an emulsifier in candy and processed foods.
For instance, gelatin is the main ingredient that holds marshmallows together.
Thankfully, Fruit by the Foot is gelatin-free. Instead, Fruit by the Foot uses carrageenan (from seaweed) and xanthan gum as an emulsifier to ensure that the fruit-flavored rolls remain consistent and held together.
For those who aren’t aware, gelatin should always be avoided. Even though it’s a tasteless food additive, it’s derived from processed animal bones. Gelatin is a fatty substance that’s found within bones. Once the bones are boiled down and softened, the gelatin can then be extracted.
As you can see, this entire process is non-vegan. Gelatin is just another product of the slaughterhouse and should be boycotted by all vegans.
Is Fruit by the Foot Artificial?
If you’ve ever seen the commercials for Fruit by the Foot, then you may have realized that the marketing for the snacks is almost entirely directed towards children (and their parents).
Fruit by the Foot is often marketed as a “natural” snack that’s “made with real fruit.” Unfortunately, this isn’t the complete truth.
While some real fruit is used to flavor Fruit by the Foot, the popular snack is mostly artificial. Fruit by the Foot is made with over fifteen different ingredients, and only a few of them are natural. Most of the ingredients in Fruit by the Foot are artificial or highly processed.
Despite the fact that Fruit by the Foot is marketed as a “healthy” snack, the reality is that it’s a lot closer to candy than real fruit. So, if you’re going to eat Fruit by the Foot, just make sure that you treat it as a “treat.”
Alternatively, you can also make your own homemade “Fruit by the Foot” that’s 100% vegan and plant-based. Check out this cool tutorial by vegan YouTube channel, Kylee’s Kitchen:
Is Fruit by the Foot Vegetarian?
Vegan and vegetarian diets are often confused with each other. Although both diets are centered around plant-based eating, vegetarians don’t have to follow all of the rules that vegans do. Vegetarians don’t eat meat, but they do consume other animal products, such as dairy and honey.
Fruit by the Foot is vegetarian and halal. It’s not made with any meat-derived ingredients, such as pork gelatin or stearic acid from beef.
What is Fruit by the Foot Made Of? Ingredients To Know
Fruit by the Foot is made using a combination of natural, artificial, and semi-natural ingredients.
It’s often marketed as a healthy snack or a kid-friendly alternative to fruit. However, this is anything but the truth. As you’ll see below, Fruit by the Foot shares more common ingredients with processed candy than anything else:
This list details the complete ingredients for both the Berry Tie-Dye and Strawberry Tie-Dye flavors. All Fruit by the Foot flavors shares the same basic ingredients, though.
The only thing that really changes are the natural flavors and artificial coloring that’s used. Other than that, they all have the same main ingredients.
To help you better understand your food and learn how to read ingredients labels, here’s a quick, easy-to-understand breakdown of each of these common food ingredients.
Sugar is the main ingredient in Fruit by the Foot as well as most popular candy brands. Many other vegan blogs that I’ve come across regularly refer to sugar as a vegan-friendly additive, but this is far from the entire truth.
Technically speaking, sugar is a plant-based additive (from sugarcane). For this reason, most dietary vegans don’t have an issue with it.
However, the majority of vegans aren’t just plant-based eaters. Veganism is as much a lifestyle as it is a diet. For this reason, the majority of vegans look beyond the ingredients, identifying how each additive is produced.
If you look at how refined sugar is produced, you’ll find that it’s not quite as vegan-friendly as it’s made out to be.
To turn the natural cane sugar (which is vegan) into refined sugar, the natural sugar must first be filtered through animal bone char filters. These filters remove the outer layer of malt flavor from the pure sugar crystals, leaving behind a sweeter, more refined product.
The problem, as you’ve likely surmised, is that bone char filters really aren’t vegan. They’re made using the fire-charred remains of slaughtered animals, which means that the entire process of refining white sugar is non-vegan.
Maltodextrin is another common ingredient found in processed foods and candy. It’s basically a super-refined version of corn starch.
It’s absorbed by the body as a simple sugar, which is one of the reasons why it’s so unhealthy. It can cause rapid spikes in blood sugar levels and can also interfere with your body’s insulin production, which can lead to excessive weight gain.
Maltodextrin is used in Fruit by the Foot as a thickening agent. When mixed with the fruit puree, sugar, and other artificial ingredients, it helps to dry the mixture into a gum-like substance which can then be cut and rolled into shape.
3) Corn Syrup
Corn syrup is one of the most common sweeteners used in candy and snacks. It’s an all-natural additive that’s derived from sugars found in sweet corn. Thankfully, this makes it 100% vegan.
Unlike white sugar, corn syrup isn’t refined using bone char and doesn’t contribute to animal cruelty in any way!
Just be aware that it is a sugar, and should be consumed in moderation.
4) Pear Puree Concentrate
Pears are a very sweet fruit, and they’re one of my favorite all-natural sweet treats. So, it makes sense that concentrated pear puree would be used as one of the main ingredients in Fruit by the Foot.
Not only does the pear puree add plenty of all-natural sweetness, but it also has a very fruity flavor and texture. This is why it’s used as one of the main ingredients in all flavors of Fruit by the Foot. It’s also the only fruit used in popular candy.
5) Palm Oil
Like white sugar, many vegans also choose to abstain from palm oil.
On the surface, it’s a plant-based oil that’s extracted from the seeds of the palm fruit. The problem is that the industry driving palm oil production is incredibly harmful to the planet as well as indigenous tribes and endangered animals.
Carrageenan is a natural thickening agent and emulsifier extracted from certain species of seaweed. As such, it’s 100% vegan and safe to eat.
7) Citric Acid
Citric acid is naturally found in citrus fruits. It’s a common and all-natural ingredient that’s used to preserve foods and give them a tangy citrus flavor. This means it’s a 100% vegan additive.
8) Monoglycerides & Acetylated Monoglycerides
Monoglycerides are a naturally derived (although heavily processed) fatty acid that helps oil and water ingredients blend together instead of resisting each other and separating. These are generally considered vegan, as they come from plant-based sources.
9) Sodium Citrate
Sodium citrate is a sodium salt that’s derived from citric acid. It’s used as a semi-natural preservative to increase the shelf life of foods.
10) Malic Acid
Malic acid is similar to citric acid but has a more tart flavor profile. It’s used as a mild preservative and flavor additive. Like citric acid, malic acid is naturally derived and vegan-friendly.
11) Xanthan Gum
Xanthan gum is a popular emulsifier that’s used in many processed foods. It’s highly processed and is still being studied. However, it is a vegan-friendly additive and is still being studied for potential long-term side effects.
12) Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)
Ascorbic acid is just the chemical term for synthetic vitamin C. This is added to give Fruit by the Foot more nutritional value.
13) Locust Bean Gum
Locust bean gum is a natural, plant-derived gumming agent that’s used to thicken and harden Fruit by the Foot. It’s completely vegan-safe, so there’s nothing to worry about with this ingredient.
14) Potassium Citrate
Potassium citrate is somewhat similar to sodium citrate and is a powerful preservative made by combining citric acid with potassium.
15) Natural Flavors
Fruit by the Foot is mostly flavored with “natural flavors” instead of real fruit. These natural flavors typically come from plant-based sources but are highly modified. For this reason, they may not taste quite as real as real fruit.
16) Artificial Colors
Last but not least, artificial colors like red 40 are added to Fruit by the Foot to give them fun and bright colors. The colors used vary, depending on the flavor. All of them are vegan, though, since they’re man-made and don’t come from animals.
Conclusion – Is Fruit by the Foot A Vegan Snack?
Fruit by the Foot may not be the healthiest snack, but it is generally considered vegan. However, if you’re a strict ethical vegan, then be aware that Fruit by the Foot does contain palm oil and refined sugar, in addition to a number of other artificial additives.
If you’re looking for a healthier, more natural snack, then I recommend checking out my list of the best vegan granola brands next!