Being a vegan with a sweet tooth can be challenging in a world where something as basic an ingredient as sugar is refined with bone char. But stress not because we’ve got you a list of plant-based candies, so you no longer have to spend hours searching for them.
What candies are vegan?
Theoretically, all candies made without animal ingredients are vegan.
However, given the fact that there are endless varieties of candies out there, in all shapes, sizes, and flavors imaginable, it can be hard to have an ultimate list of vegan candies. The best way to pick out vegan candies is to know what to look for.
What Can Make Candies Non-Vegan? Common Animal Ingredients in Candies
Animal ingredients can make their way into candies in various forms. What makes the matter worse is that some of them may not be recognizable to many vegans, with the names manufacturers sometimes use on ingredient lists.
Here’s a list of animal ingredients used in candies that you should keep an eye out for:
- Sugar – The very ingredient that makes candies sweet is most often the main culprit that makes candies unsuitable for vegans. Sugar isn’t non-vegan on its own, but, as mentioned earlier, it is commercially refined using bone char.
- Eggs – These are easy to detect. They can appear on ingredients lists as eggs, egg whites, or egg albumin on ingredients lists.
- Dairy – It can show up in your candies as milk, butter, butterfat, whey, or casein. It’s important to note here that the term ‘lactose-free’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘dairy-free.’
- Gelatin – A well-known non-vegan ingredient found in confectionery items like gummies and marshmallows, gelatin is made from collagen that is extracted from animal bones, skin, and hides.
- Honey – Often found in ‘healthy’ or ‘organic’ sweet treats, honey is definitely not vegan.
- Beeswax – Beeswax is often used as a preservative in candies; it keeps them fresh and flavorful for longer. Although beeswax isn’t an animal product and some vegans argue that it’s okay to consume it, most vegans avoid beeswax due to ethical considerations regarding its harvesting process.
- Confectioner’s Glaze – Don’t let its name fool you; the confectioner’s glaze is nothing like donut glaze or made of confectioner’s sugar. It is, in fact, made from shellac, which (in case you didn’t already know) is the secretion of the female lac bug. The confectioner’s glaze is what gives many candies their smooth, shiny finish.
- Artificial Colors – Artificial colors are free of animal ingredients. However, they are not considered vegan (by most people) due to strong evidence regarding their testing on animals.
- Red Dye – The red food color that often appears with the names of carmine, carmine lake, crimson lake, cochineal, cochineal extract, Red # 4, Natural Red 4, or E120 is derived from cochineal beetles.
- Natural Flavors – Unless an ingredients list specifies the source of natural flavors, they are considered controversial in the vegan community because ‘natural’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘plant-derived.’ They may also be derived from animals.
What Candies Are Vegan? A List of Are Vegan-Friendly Candies
The list of common non-vegan ingredients in candies that we have just discussed may make it feel that finding vegan-friendly candies is next to impossible.
But fortunately, there are lots of vegan candy options on the market. Many of them are ‘accidentally’ vegan, but some are specially crafted for plant eaters.
Companies may change product formulas/recipes without notice, so it’s always best to check the label once to confirm the candy you’re buying is still vegan-friendly.
It’s important to note that most (if not all) ‘accidentally’ vegan candies contain a few controversial ingredients. Some vegans may wish to avoid them, while others do not. So, you must decide for yourself depending on what veganism means to you.
‘Accidentally’ Vegan Candies
- Charm Lollipops
- Charms Blow Pops
- Brach’s Hi-C Fruit Slices
- Brach’s Hi-C Orange Slices
- Brach’s Star Brites
- Brach’s Lemon Drops
- Brach’s Cinnamon Hard Candy
- Barch’s Root Beer Barrels
- Bottle Caps
- Cry Baby
- Smarties – just the ones that are made in the US
- Ring Pops
- Sweet Tarts
- Pixy Stix
- Fun Dip
- Sweet Tarts
- Jolly Ranchers, except the Chews
- Laffy Taffy
- Red Vines
- Jujyfruits Chewy Fruity Candy
- Storck Mamba Fruit Chews
- Smart Sweets, except Fruit Gummy Bears
- Panda Licorice
- Swedish Fish
- Sour Patch Kids
- Mary Janes
- Atomic Fireball
- Fruit Roll-Ups
- Now and Later
- Mamba Fruit Chews
- Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews
- Chew-et’s Peanut Chews
- Atkins Peanut Butter Bars
- Lance Peanut Bar
- Fruit By the Foot
- Big League Chew
- Wrigley’s Hubba Bubba Bubble Gum
- Super Bubble
Specialty Vegan Candies
- Gummies by Annie’s Fruit Snacks
- Better Bears Gummies
- Candy Kittens Gummies
- Surf Sweets – Fruit Bears, Cinnamon Bears, Fruity Rings, and Delish Fish.
- SmartSweets – Lollipops, Peach Rings, Cola Gummies, Sourmelon Bites, Sweet Fish, Red Twists, and Sour Blast Buddies
- Lovely Candy Co. – Hard Candies, Lollipops, and Chewy Candies
- Chimes Gourmet Ginger Chews
- YumEarth – Except Gummy Worms, Gummy Bears, and Candy Corn
Vegan Candy Brands
- Torie & Howard
- Project 7
- Nelly’s Organics
- Lagusta’s Luscious
- Go Max Go
Are M&M’s Vegan
Sadly, your childhood favorite M&M’s are not vegan. Besides the usual controversial ingredients found in most popular candies, M&M’s also contain milk, which makes them unsuitable for those on the vegan guide.
Is Kit Kat Vegan?
Unfortunately, Kit Kat isn’t vegan in the US. The company released a vegan chocolate candy bar in June 2021, but only in select countries, which did not include the US. It is available in the UK and New Zealand, though.
Finding vegan candies may seem hard, but it isn’t that difficult once you know what to look for.
Fortunately, there are many options available on the market, both for those hardcore vegans who strictly avoid even the controversial ingredients as well as those who don’t mind consuming them.
Got your pantry full of vegan candies and are now looking for some salty vegan snacks? Here are some of the Best Vegan Chips varieties you may want to try.