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Vegan Lollies: What lollies are vegan?

As humans, it's in our nature to crave something sweet every now and then. If you're reading this and you're a vegan, then you're in the right place to find out which lollies are vegan in Australia.

It's a common misconception that all sweets and lollies are off-limits for vegans because many of them contain animal products.

The good news is that there are hundreds of different lollies on the market that are suitable for vegans, and we've compiled a list of some of the best ones right here.

vegan lollies and candy

It is common that new vegans don’t know that many lollies or sweets are not suitable for vegans.

When we first found out that most gummy bears and marshmallows are not vegan... we were devastated, to say the least.

The thing with lollies is that some of the ingredients that aren't suitable for vegans do not stand out as easily as 'dairy', 'eggs', or 'beeswax'.

It takes a little bit of research to find out what's actually in your lollie. But worry not, here's a quick overview on what to keep an eye out.

Many candy products contain animal products such as gelatin and carmine.

Gelatin is a common ingredient in marshmallows and gummy candies since it helps them keep the soft and chewy texture. It also gives certain candies their bouncy texture, such as gummy bears. 

Carmine is also often used as a red food colouring agent in various types of candy because it's quite inexpensive compared to other options like beet juice or tomato paste (which can also be used).

The issue is that both carmine and gelatin are made from the bodies of animals or insects. Yuck! This does not sound very appetising to us, plus it's no different than eating honey or other animal byproducts when it comes to ethics.

What is gelatin made of?

Gelatin is made from collagen taken from the bones, hides and skin of animals, usually cows and pigs. Gelatin is used as a binding agent in many food products, many of which you’ve probably eaten at some point, unfortunately.

What is carmine?

Carmine is an ingredient which is commonly used as a pigment or dye in both food and cosmetics. It is used to give food, drink or cosmetic items a bright red colour. 

What many don’t know, however, is that carmine is derived from crushed cochineal bugs! Crazy, we know.

Fortunately, it's becoming more common for manufacturers to replace gelatin with other vegan-friendly ingredients such as agar-agar, carrageenan, or pectin.

Agar-agar is a plant based alternative that comes from seaweed and has similar properties to gelatin. It's often used to mimic the same bouncy texture that gelatin gives lollies.

Carrageenan is another seaweed product that can be used in similar capacities as agar-agar by making the lollies soft instead of hard. Pectin is a gelling agent derived from fruit but is also frequently used in vegan recipes because of its ability to thicken liquids without adding any flavour or colouration.

Are there any differences in those lollies that are gelatin-free? Not really. They look and taste amazing, and they're entirely cruelty-free!

What lollies are vegan in Australia?

Like many other products out there that have become great allies to vegans, there are several lollies in the market that are suitable for vegans by accident!

Among some of them:

  • Skittles (some flavours are vegan, check the labels before buying)
  • Swedish Fish
  • Mentos: For the flavours of Mint, Fruit, Spearmint, Pineapple, Lemon Lime, Pink Lemonade
  • Sour Patch Kids
  • Hubba Bubba Bubble Tape: For the flavours of Groovy Grape and Seriously Strawberry
  • Starbursts

If you'd like to read the full list of accidentally vegan lollies in Australia, click here.

Can vegans eat lollipops?

The answer is yes… For the most part. Lollipops are usually made from sugar and water or artificial sweeteners like sorbitol or xylitol instead of honey. If you see malic acid or citric acid in the list of ingredients, then these lollipops are also vegan as they are derived from plants.

However, if there are artificial flavours involved in them then there's a high possibility that those may contain animal products such as gelatin or glycerin. So, it's best to avoid buying packaged lollipops with flavourings unless you've already checked for this beforehand!

Is chocolate vegan?

Sadly, chocolate isn't always vegan. If you're wondering if your favourite chocolate bar is vegan, here's what to look out for on the label:

  • Milk, casein and other dairy products
  • Egg whites/egg yolks
  • Honey (if it's not labelled vegan)
  • Colourants such as carmine and cochineal extract (often listed as “cochineal” or “carmine”) - remember, these are made from insects!
  • Gelatin in some chocolate bars

Many dark chocolate options tend to be vegan because of its raw, strong cacao nature, but nonetheless, it's always best to check the label if the package does not specify it's vegan.

vegan chocolate australia

Are jelly beans vegan?

While it's not impossible to find vegan-friendly jelly beans, they're usually made with gelatin. Jelly beans without any gelatin will be labelled as such on the packaging and should say "suitable for vegans".

You can find a lot of vegan lollies at the supermarket!

These days, not only can you find vegan-friendly lollies at the supermarket, but also 100% vegan lollies are becoming more common in supermarkets.

For example, Woolworths sells vegan fruity lollies by The Natural Confectionery Co. Coles also has lots of vegan options in their "Scoop & Weigh" section. They have Sugared Strawberries, Sour Candy Mix, Giant Sour Cola Bottles, and many more options.

As always, as they're not manufactured by a vegan-founded business, be sure to check the labels or ask qualified store personnel when in doubt.

Where can I buy vegan lollies online?

You can also find a more varied range of vegan lollies at specialty stores online. When buying online it’s important to check that your favourite brands haven’t changed their ingredients since their last product update (we have noticed this happening with some brands lately).

The great perk of buying at the Five Vegans 'Sweet Treats' section (or really, any section) is that you won't have to endlessly scrutinise the packaging to ensure a product is vegan. You can rest assured that at Five Vegans when we say it's vegan, we mean it's 100% cruelty free.

If you'd like to check out our diverse range of super yummy vegan lollies, find our list of vegan sweet treats here.

vegan marshmallows dandies

Conclusion

We hope this article has given you a good idea of the different types of lollies that are suitable for vegans. It can be overwhelming when you first start out, but we promise that once you get familiar with those that are and those that aren't, satisfying your sweet craving will become second nature!

If you have any questions about lollies, feel free to contact us. We're always happy to help!

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