Is There Vegan Halloween Candy?
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Everyone should be able to enjoy the sweetest holiday of the year without fear. No matter your dietary restriction, there are options for everyone to enjoy Halloween. Vegan Halloween candy is becoming more popular with climate crisis action and the importance of overall health and diet awareness.
Some companies are making innovative vegan candy alternatives to classic staples, while other candies filling plastic pumpkins have been vegan all along. Here is your comprehensive guide to understanding the components of vegan Halloween candy and how to enjoy the holiday guilt-free.
Why Vegan Halloween Candy?
The veganism movement is a critical facet of bolstering individual climate responsibility. It also lets companies know how much people want ethically sourced food that does not rely on animal abuse. Reducing investments in animal products could provide practical boons like health benefits and financial savings, but most importantly, it can reduce personal carbon footprints over time.
Providing vegan-friendly products encourages inclusivity. It reduces the stigma around dietary restrictions by spurring discourse and making it more commonplace. Accessibility to vegan options is one of the best ways to reach more audiences outside self-identified vegans.
Additionally, many candy makers who support inclusive creations seek other ways to encourage sustainability, like sourcing fair-trade ingredients. The vegan motivation trickles down to influence other eco-friendly practices that drive consumer decision-making.
There are myriad reasons why anyone would choose to go vegan, as dietary choices are sometimes mandatory, and other times they are intensely personal, philosophical, or spiritual. Regardless of the motivation, veganism has a definitive impact on the environment, potentially mitigating the adverse effects of the climate crisis and irresponsible corporate practices.
What Typical Candy Ingredients Aren’t Vegan-Friendly?
Candy doesn’t typically have meat in them — though some may have bacon. So, where is the concern? Here is a short list of some of the most infamous ingredients that cause vegans to stay away from candy:
- Honey: You will want to avoid this ingredient to prevent supporting unethical bee farming.
- Gelatin: The ingredient provides a fun texture but derives from boiling cow and pig parts, and purchasing this ingredient can promote excess methane production and unfair treatment of livestock.
- Carmine: Used to dye glazes, this ingredient comes from insects.
- Dairy: Whey, casein, butter, and milk are a few common ingredients in candy that come from animal dairy products.
However, one controversial ingredient in almost all candy that vegans remain divisive about is sugar. Sugar processing differs depending on the region and source. For example, sugarcane processing requires unique tech and a different process than beets. Additionally, sugar processing operates in the United States differently than in other countries.
One of the steps of sugar processing is filtering. In several regions of the world, this is through animal bone char, making any sugar that passes through not vegan-friendly because it was affected by the meat industry.
Discovering how corporate candy makers process sugar is challenging, so the decision to adhere to this standard is yours. If you have concerns, consider choosing locally made candies where you can personally inquire about the making procedures with the crafters.
Please note the recommendations included below may have sugar as an ingredient.
What Fruity Candies Can Vegans Eat?
The typical non-vegan ingredients in fruity gummies or hard candies are dyes and gelatin. However, there are many options, no matter what texture you crave. Many well-known candies are already vegan, including but not limited to:
- Hard candies, like Smarties, Sweet Tarts, Skittles, Fireballs, and Peppermints
- Gummy candies, like Twizzlers, Sour Patch Kids, Dots, Airheads, and Now and Laters
- Other treats, like Cracker Jacks, Blow Pops, and original-flavor Oreos
Unfortunately, fan favorites like Gummy Bears, candy corn, Starburst, and Swedish Fish all contain animal products. Some brands, like Jolly Rancher, have some vegan flavors and some that aren’t, so always check the packaging.
Additionally, childhood loves like sour gummy worms may not be vegan from one brand, but there are always brands out there innovating to create new recipes that vegans can enjoy — so keep a look out for those. Some brands include YumEarth, Annie’s Organic, Healthy Hippo, and Smart Sweets. Makers can easily replace gelatin-containing recipes with alternatives like fruit-derived pectin or algal-born agar agar.
What Chocolate Options Do Vegans Have?
Vegan chocolate options are more particular, and searching for your new favorite may have you looking away from grocery store shelves. The typical offenders are honey and dairy products, which you can avoid easily. Chocolate lovers may also be interested in finding bars with fair-trade cocoa, which companies often advertise on websites in their sustainability guidelines or on the wrappers.
Despite the west’s fascination with milk chocolate, it’s not often for other chocolate types to contain milk, so it isn’t as difficult as it might seem. Here are some classic chocolate go-to’s that have vegan offerings, though not all of their chocolates may be:
However, more niche brands like Alter Eco, Lily’s, Endangered Species, and No Whey make vegan chocolate. Countless others exist, and if you aren’t interested in reading labels, nonprofits like Peta contain resources and lists for those wanting a speedy recommendation with less effort.
To the dismay of many, Snickers, Three Musketeers, M&M’s, KitKats, Twix, and Reese’s Cups are all off the table for any animal-friendly eaters. Just because these options aren’t vegan doesn’t mean it’s impossible to recreate them as a vegan version.
You’re probably not the only one who will miss these flavors, so find candies with vegan peanut butter to give a Reese’s feel or shortbread for a Twix vibe.
The Best Vegan Halloween Candy
Finding a delicious variety of vegan Halloween treats isn’t as hard as you might anticipate. If you’re feeling creative, you could also try making your vegan sweets to pass out to trick-or-treaters to ensure it’s up to your standards. Finding staple brands to default to is simple, but you can also check ingredients to ensure vegan adherence. Halloween is the ideal time to introduce yourself and trick-or-treaters to new sweet delights — while keeping the planet’s health in mind.
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About the author
Starting from an early age, Jane Marsh loved all animals and became a budding environmentalist. Now, Jane works as the Editor-in-Chief of Environment.co where she covers topics related to climate policy, renewable energy, the food industry, and more.