Fruit by the Foot has been around since 1991, and children everywhere have been unrolling and indulging in it. Whether you still eat Fruit by the Foot or haven’t eaten one in a long time, you’re among the many people wondering if this fruit snack made by Betty Crocker is suitable for vegans.
Fruit by the Foot is suitable for vegans as it doesn’t have ingredients of animal origin, but some vegans might choose to avoid it because it contains a few controversial ingredients that are often linked to animal exploitation.
If you want to learn more about Fruit by the Foot and want to know whether you can eat them, I go over its ingredients in the sections below.
What is Fruit by the Foot?
Fruit by the Foot is a three-foot-long (roughly) snack and is made up of sugar, artificial colors, flavors, thickeners, and stabilizers.
Aside from the shape and flavor, the formula used to make Fruit by the Foot is essentially the same as the one used to make Gushers and Fruit Roll-Ups.
Here are the ingredients in Fruit by the Foot (taken from Amazon):
Grapes From Concentrate, Sugar, Maltodextrin, Corn Syrup, Pears From Concentrate, Partially Hydrogenated Cottonseed Oil, Carrageenan, Citric Acid, Acetylated Mono and Diglycerides, Sodium Citrate, Malic Acid, Xanthan Gum, Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid), Locust Bean Gum, Natural & Artificial Flavor, Potassium Citrate, Color (Yellow 5, Red 40, Blue 1).
As you can see, Fruit by the Foot doesn’t have flagrant animal ingredients, but I’ve bolded a few controversial ingredients, some of which you’re probably familiar with. Let’s look at why they’re seen as controversial.
Contrary to what most people think, there’s a chance most sugar sold in the United States may be unsuitable for vegans. In some countries (namely the United States), bone char is still commonly used to filter and bleach sugar, giving it its predominantly white, pristine color.
Sadly, bone char is obtained by heating the bones of cattle at high temperatures, until they eventually turn into a black powder. It’s also worth mentioning this isn’t the case for every single company. In some instances, companies use granular activated charcoal to achieve the same result.
It’s also worth mentioning that bone char is only used for sugar derived from sugar cane. Another commonly used source of sugar is beet sugar which doesn’t rely on bone char to crystalize.
However, it all comes down to the company’s modus operandi, and which suppliers they’re investing in. In many cases, companies use multiple suppliers, so you might have 2 suppliers that use bone char, and other 3 suppliers that don’t.
For instance, that’s how Oreos operates, and they’re very candid about it.
My recommendation would be for you to contact the company or manufacturer to figure out the truth. If you want an exact answer, that is probably the only way of getting it.
This being said, I’d say some countries are more suspicious than others. For instance, in some European countries, as well as Australia and New Zealand, bone char is strictly prohibited. So, depending on where the product is manufactured, you could more easily conclude.
Unfortunately for most vegans, we don’t have a description of what type of natural/artificial ingredients are used in products. It’s rather frustrating since all the ingredient label says is “natural or artificial flavor”, and never expands on what it means.
This being said, artificial flavors should be vegan-friendly. To expand on that, here is a definition of artificial flavors from the FDA:
Therefore, artificial flavors can only refer to substances not made from any plant or animal products. Instead, it relies on petroleum-like sources and synthetically created substances.
Technically, that sounds wonderful but we cannot forget that to use those synthetically created substances, they are typically tested on animals first.
Akin to artificial flavors, natural flavors are also not expanded on any label. However, in this instance, not every natural flavor is considered vegan.
In fact, also according to the FDA, “natural flavor” is:
Sadly, one commonly used non-vegan natural flavor is Castoreum. A yellowish exudate extracted from the anal secretions of beaver species in the U.S and Europe. It is used in both food and perfumes and is typically used to produce vanilla flavorings but it can also be used to enhance raspberry or strawberry flavors.
Just like sugar, my suggestion would be for you to contact the company in case of doubt.
Artificial colors are technically considered vegan. In fact, most artificial colors are extracted from plants with the exception being carmine, which is extracted from scale insects. Other than that, most artificial colors are considered vegan… unless you’re like me and are against animal testing.
That’s, right. Unfortunately, animal testing is still an ongoing thing, where the one being experimented on sometimes has a fate worse than death.
It’s a tricky matter because some people believe it is a necessary evil to ensure the foods or products we’re using are safe. In fact, some suggest animal testing for colors was merely a one-off kind of process, which we can clearly find out that it’s still an ongoing thing.
In the image above, we see that it’s a rat being experimented on, but in some cases, you’ll find that even dogs are subject to a similar exploitive treatment.
Thus, using artificial colors may not be “okay” with some vegans.
Acetylated Mono and Diglycerides
When manufactured, mono and diglycerides may use animal fats or vegetable oils as precursors for their production. In other words, it’s either made from animal sources or plant sources.
Nevertheless, it is, in most cases, produced from vegetable oils.
This being said, I do believe that there’s also a huge chance most mono-diglycerides are vegan, and I don’t think you would be less vegan than others for consuming a product with that ingredient. In my opinion, it all comes down to each person.
Fruit by the Foot is suitable for vegans, however, even though it doesn’t have animal ingredients, some vegans refuse to eat it because some ingredients might be byproducts of animal cruelty.
At the end of the day, it comes down to your personal view, and whether or not you’re okay with consuming a product that is (1) unhealthy, and (2) has some controversial ingredients.
Frankly, I believe its consumption is not as bad as “eating meat or dairy” products. As long as you doing everything you can to stop, or minimize animal cruelty, you have my respect!
Fruit by the Foot FAQs
Is Fruit by the Foot Gluten-Free?
Yes, Fruit by the Foot does not contain any wheat, rye, and barley, nor any of its derivatives, so it’s definitely a gluten-free product.
Is Fruit by the Foot Halal?
Yes, Fruit by the Foot is halal. Unlike other candies that are similar in taste and texture, Fruit by the Foot doesn’t contain gelatin, an ingredient often derived from pork.
Does Fruit by the Foot Contain Red Dye?
Yes, Fruit by the Foot contains the Red #40 dye, and like most dyes, it is also linked to animal testing.