Everyone is born with an innate attraction to all things sweet, so it should come as no surprise that the love of candy transcends all ages and cultural boundaries.
As far back as 2000 BCE, ancient Egyptians were making treats from honey, nuts, and dried fruits like dates and figs. Not long after, dried sugarcane was used in India to create the world’s first granulated sweetener, and there’s been no end to confectionery innovation since then.
Now, candies come in all colors, shapes, sizes, and flavors imaginable, which is both good and bad news for discerning eaters. All too often, undesirable ingredients make it into the mix, including animal products. How can you avoid them while still satisfying your sweet tooth as a vegan? It’s easy when you know what to look for!
Animal products have been historically used as cheaper shortcuts to make mass production possible. You may not recognize the names at first, and to make matters worse, it’s almost impossible to read all that fine print on such a tiny label. When in doubt, consult the brand’s website for a closer look. Keep an eye out for the following:
Milk, whey, butter, butterfat, or casein: Though this may seem obvious, dairy can show up in some surprising places. Beware that “lactose-free” doesn’t necessarily mean dairy-free, too.
Eggs, egg whites, or egg albumin: Often used to bind sugary substances together, egg derivatives can be found in sweets such as meringue.
Gelatin: Made from ground hooves and bones, this is what gives many old-fashioned gummies their chew and marshmallows their springy texture.
Beeswax: There are many other perfectly good food grade waxes that will prevent candies from sticking to one another, but this option is harvested from bees that really need it more than we do.
Honey: As a ploy to give sugary treats a health halo, honey is sometimes used as a supposedly more natural alternative to white sugar. It’s too bad it’s inherently cruel on a commercial scale, and definitely not vegan.
Confectioner’s glaze or shellac: This sounds so innocent, and it’s included for purely aesthetic reasons. This substance gives many candies a shiny outer shell, but unfortunately, it’s the product of bug secretions. (Ewww!)
Carmine or cochneal: Waiter, there’s a bug in my candy! That’s right, this red coloring comes from the natural pigments found in various insects.
Bone char: This is quite possibly the worst offender on this list because unlike the others, manufacturers don’t need to list this as an ingredient, so it’s very hard to know when it has or hasn’t been used. It’s part of the process used to bleach sugar bright white, using cattle bones.
Are you ready for a sweet revolution? Vegan candy brands are taking the world by storm with their delicious and ethical treats! Whether you’re vegan, lactose intolerant, or just looking for something new and exciting, these candy bars are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Gourmet, high-end ingredients, fancy flavors, and dedicated vegan brands are elevating the art of confectionary as we know it. These are truly special treats, some of which may need to be ordered online, but are worth the extra effort.
Go Max Go – With Go Max Go’s vegan candy bars, you don’t have to miss out on the classic chocolate bar experience. They make vegan spins on the most popular classic candy bars like Snickers, Almond Joys, and 3 Musketeers.
Sjaak’s (Eli’s Earth) – Sjaak’s is known for its high-quality, organic, and fair trade chocolates, which are made using only the finest natural ingredients. From their classic chocolate bars to their unique truffles and seasonal treats, Sjaak’s is a favorite among vegan and chocolate lovers alike.
Gigantic – Gigantic’s vegan candy bars are so deliciously huge, they’re practically mythical! Made with all-natural ingredients and free from dairy, gluten, and soy, they’re perfect for ethical snackers who like their treats gigantic.
Trupo Treats – Trupo Treats is a vegan candy company that makes chocolate dipped wafer candy bars, chocolate bars, vegan Crunch-style bars, and more. So go ahead, treat yourself to Trupo Treats and see why they’re making waves in the vegan candy world!
Misfits – Embrace your inner misfit with these vegan candy bars made from all-natural, plant-based ingredients. Perfect for candy lovers who want to try something different and fun without artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
Vego – Vego’s vegan chocolate bars are so big, they’re practically a meal! Made with fair-trade ingredients and available in flavors like Hazelnut, Almond Bliss, and Dark Nuts and Berries, they’re perfect for sharing (or not!).
Don’t worry, there’s a ton of options for you ethical chocoholics, too! Check out our complete guide to vegan chocolate.
These chewy and delightful treats come in an endless array of shapes, sizes, and flavors, with options ranging from classic fruit flavors to more daring and exciting varieties. Think juicy watermelon, tangy pineapple, or even zesty grapefruit. Plus, with brands like Katjes making rainbow gummies and Annie’s dropping kid-friendly minis, you can snack guilt-free without compromising on taste. And who says gummies are just for snacking? Add them to your next smoothie bowl, use them as toppings on your cupcakes, or even melt them down and turn them into a creative and colorful glaze.
To help you on your quest for the best vegan gummies out there, we’ve compiled a list of our top picks for the most delicious and ethical brands around. Get ready to satisfy your sweet tooth in the most fun and ethical way possible!
And so much more! The great news is that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of smaller, local producers that are just getting started. Always seek out these sweet, inventive individuals and support small business!
When you want an accessible, affordable treat to share with everyone for holidays like Halloween or Easter, or just need to satisfy a craving while on the road, there are lots of great candies on the market that are perfectly suitable for vegans.
As always, formulas can change without notice, so make sure you check labels before you purchase.
If you prefer a DIY approach, you have even more options when it comes to vegan candy, both simple and complex. Here are some sweet ideas to get you started:
While many people turn to vegan chocolate as an ethical alternative to traditional chocolate, it is important to remember that not all vegan chocolate is ethically sourced. In fact, the chocolate industry has a long history of exploitative labor practices, including child labor and slavery.
To ensure that the chocolate you purchase is ethically sourced, it’s essential to do your own research and look for certifications like Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance, or UTZ. Additionally, the Food Empowerment Project’s chocolate list provides a helpful resource for evaluating the ethics of various chocolate brands. This comprehensive list takes into account factors like child labor, slavery, and environmental impact, and can be a useful tool for consumers who want to ensure their chocolate purchases are truly harmless. By using resources like the Food Empowerment Project’s chocolate list, consumers can make informed choices and support companies that prioritize ethical sourcing and labor practices.
May this vegan candy guide bring some sweetness to your life! If we missed any of your favorite vegetarian candies, feel free to mention them in the comments below. Thanks for stopping by, and we hope to see you again!