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Your Guide to Vegan Confectionery

03/05/2019 16:30

There is a whole host of surprising food and drink items that are off limits to vegans, such as certain stout beers, Worcestershire sauce and orange juice (if it is anything other than 100% naturally squeezed, the ones guaranteeing a ‘healthy heart’ have ingredients listed as tilapia, sardine and anchovy, yum). And until recently a large number of sweets were included in that list.

Sweets have been known to contain animal and insect-derived ingredients such as carmine AKA cochineal, a red food colouring that is made from the shell of cochineal insects, beeswax and gelatine. Gelatine being the ingredient that made gummy sweets chewy.

However, thankfully there are now a host of vegetarian and vegan sweets available on the market, and a large number stocked via our website.

So yes vegans can eat sweets, in fact some of the most recognisable household brand names are vegan. Sweets such as:

  • Starburst - in the UK, Starburst are vegan, however there are some imported packets of Starburst from the US that aren’t, these are distinguishable from their white label on the back).


  • Millions - the sweet of the 90s is not only approved by the Vegetarian Society, but is suitable for vegans - all except the Chocolate Strawberry flavour that is. With a range of flavours available, we have vimto, cola, apple, strawberry, raspberry, blackcurrant, bubblegum in stock, in tapers, tubes and jars.


  • Flying Saucers - available in a 42 count cone, a 500 count drum or in a 3000 count box, these perennial childhood favourites produce a uniquely fizzy and tongue tingling taste sensation as you bite through the papery shell to reveal the effervescent, sherbet powder concealed inside. The red shells are now dyed with beetroot and curcumin instead of beetles.


  • Love Hearts - the most vegan of sweets as they are all about promoting love first came to fruition in 1954, bearing catchy messages such as ‘text me’, ‘swipe right’ and ‘all yours’. Today these sweets have reached cult status with their quirky messages and being so easy to personalise, they have been used to commemorate everything from the royal jubilee to Coleen and Wayne Rooney’s wedding.


  • Jelly Tots - the sugary, squidgy drops of jelly cuteness available in five flavours offer a moment of childlike joy for all kids, grown up ones and the young. Containing no animal or gelatine, these little gumdrops were first produced in 1967 and remain as popular today as they were back then.


  • Sherbet Fountains - what a winning combination: sweet, fizzy sherbet and salty liquorice. This fountain has been around since 1925, the plastic tube of recent years replacing the paper tube of yesteryears. In the original paper packaging the top of the liquorice stick was designed to be bitten off, revealing a hollow straw through which the sherbet could be sucked out. The salty tangy of the liquorice combining with the fizzing sweetness of the sherbet on your tongue was one on which many a childhood was based. Today’s packaging sadly contains a solid liquorice stick which only affords the eater a lick and dip option, but still, the pairing works well.

What to look out for ingredients-wise in vegan sweets

The key ingredient of sweets tends to be sugar, the clue is in the name. But did you know that even though sugar is derived from plants, that doesn’t necessarily make it vegan?

Horrifyingly, some white sugar is only white because it has been bleached by being filtered through animal bones. The bone char is made by heating animal bones up to incredibly high temperatures, which helps to remove impurities from the sugar. You might therefore think brown sugar is vegan, but don’t be fooled, brown sugar is produced in the same way, but with the molasses added back in to give the sugar colour.

Always check the labels of the sugar products you are purchasing and if you aren’t sure, check out The Vegan Society website - they maintain an up to date list of vegan friendly brands.

On a side note, brands such as Billington’s no longer use bone char, and Tate & Lyle stopped refining theirs that way in the early 90s.

Alternative vegan sweets available at Appleton

Benefit chocolate - their chocolate range is dairy free; one bar is enriched with almond and coconut, almond butter, coconut and pea protein; the second with 12 key vitamins including B12 and vitamin E and C; and their third is packed full of B-vitamins.

Pimlico Confectionaires - this once London-based confectionaire has now set up home in Ramsgate and is responsible for producing a range of vegan sweets from fruit jellies to cola bottles, liquorice pencils to twin cherries. All your favourites, but in vegan form.

Posted By Matt Appleton
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