Twizzlers were first produced in 1929 by Young and Smylie, one of the oldest confectionery firms in the United States, which was then acquired by The Hershey Company and merged into one. Since the later 90’s the Twizzlers have been manufactured in Memphis in a Y&S plant that makes chewing gums and several candies.
Are Twizzlers vegan? Technically, Twizzlers are vegan. They don’t contain animal ingredients that are typically found in candies of the same kind (i.e: gelatin). Whether it’s the popular strawberry flavor or the caramel apple filled twists, you’ll be glad to know that every Twizzlers flavor is suitable for vegans.
Keep in mind, however, that Twizzlers contain what’s deemed (by some vegans) as questionable ingredients, which includes ingredients such as refined sugar, palm oil, and artificial colors (i.e: Red 40).
In the sections below I’m going to explain why I believe Twizzlers are vegan, and why others may not consider them vegan due to the aforementioned questionable ingredients. Also, and if you’re okay with that, I’m also going to suggest you vegan candy alternatives that may be cleaner in regards to the ingredients used.
Why Twizzlers Are Suitable For Vegans
Twizzlers are suitable for vegans because they don’t contain animal ingredients, which is a notion that is congruent with the Vegan Society’s definition of veganism.
The ingredients present in the Twizzlers are the following:
As you’re able to notice, there are no animal ingredients.
However, what you’re able to find (bolded) are questionable ingredients, or in other words, ingredients that may not be vegan because of their dubious filtering processes, their impact on nature and animals, and the fact they may have been or are periodically tested on animals.
Questionable Ingredients in Twizzlers
As far as I can see, there are three questionable ingredients used to make Twizzlers: refined sugar, palm oil, and artificial colors.
You’ll typically find two types of sugar included in products: cane sugar derived from sugarcane, and beet sugar derived from sugar beets. They’re very similar in terms of texture and taste, but they’re processed differently.
While beet sugar is filtered in a way that doesn’t make use of animal components, cane sugar may be filtered with a property called bone char, which is derived from the bones of cattle.
Naturally, you’ll also find suppliers that use alternatives like activated charcoal and ion-exchange resins, but the problem is that companies often use a mixed pool of suppliers.
In other words, it’s impossible to track which type of sugar is in any given product.
For this reason, some vegans choose to avoid products that contain refined cane sugar or they at least make an effort to contact companies to inquire about how their sugar was processed.
Palm oil is considered a questionable ingredient for a different reason than sugar.
While it is undoubtedly a plant-based ingredient — the impact palm oil plantations have on the environment and animal species is rather daunting.
Creating palm oil plantations involves cleaning acres of rainforest, which also means that animal habits are consequently destroyed, so it may lead to the extinction of certain animals.
According to Cell.com, 100,000 orangutangs died between 1999 and 2015 as a result of palm oil demand, hence why it’s considered a questionable ingredient. By consuming palm oil that is obtained through conventional farming you’re contributing to this destructive scenario.
The video above essentially illustrates the sad reality taking place in the palm oil industry.
Twizzlers include artificial colors that vary based on the flavor you choose.
Artificial colors are a byproduct of animal testing and a lot of vegans don’t feel like preventive animal testing is justified when alternative testing methods like computer models, cell cultures, and human tissue exist.
To be frank, that is something I agree with, especially when I’ve learned that animal testing needs to be conducted periodically to prevent potential health risks. You can find animal tests in 2017 and 2018 for Red #40.
Whether or not you avoid artificial colors it’s up to you, but if animal testing is something that takes place regularly involving ingredients that we eat — then perhaps we should reorganize our priorities.
Other Vegan Candies You Must Try
If you’re someone that feels that eating a product that contains “questionable” ingredients like sugar, artificial colors, or palm oil is not the way to go, allow me to provide you with some 100% vegan alternatives.
Here are some of the options I found:
- Cocomels Coconut Milk Caramels
- Lovely Organic Chewy Candy
- Lovely Organic Sour Chewy Candy
- Yum Earth Organic Lollipops
- Sour Viking Swedish Gummy Candy
Do Twizzlers Contain Licorice?
Other than the black licorice flavor Twizzlers, there are no extracts of the licorice plant in the ingredients, which can be confusing since Twizzlers are referred to as licorice-type candy.
The strawberry-flavored Twizzles, which are the most sold variety of Twizzlers, do not contain licorice.
Therefore, if you’re worried about consuming black licorice (due to its association with heart disease), you should avoid the black Twizzlers.
Are Red Vines Vegan?
Red Vines is a brand/product that is similar to Twizzlers.
Red Vines don’t contain animal ingredients, though you’ll still find artificial colors, ingredients that are considered questionable due to their association with animal testing.
Akin to the strawberry-flavored Twizzlers, Red Vines to not contain licorice extract.
Twizzlers are suitable for vegans because they don’t contain any animal ingredients.
However, they still contain ingredients that are deemed questionable by some individuals in the vegan community.
These ingredients include refined sugar, palm oil, and artificial colors, which may be in one way or another associated with animal cruelty.
If you feel like Twizzlers are not vegan enough, you can always look at some of the vegan candy suggestions we’ve made in this article, as those are 100% vegan.
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