In Today’s time, a vegan can never be out of food options! And if you are a vegan candy lover then there is a lot to explore. With the use of innovative food technologies in vegan foods, almost every food product has a vegan alternative be it meat, poultry, or dairy. With milk derived from plant to meat being plant-based, every vegan food segment which also includes the vegan candy and dessert segment is loaded with healthy options, making it easy for vegans to maintain this life-changing lifestyle.
According to Grand View Research, The global vegan confectionery market was worth USD 1.23 billion in 2022, and it is predicted to rise at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.9% between 2023 and 2030. The growing movement among consumers toward plant-based diets as a result of lifestyle issues and health concerns has fueled the global market’s expansion in recent years.
Social media posts about the vegan lifestyle and its benefits encourage consumers to adopt plant-based diets, which helps the industry grow. Now if you are a vegan or lactose intolerant or someone who loves to maintain a healthy lifestyle with a sweet tooth, there is something for everyone here.
What are Vegan Candies?
Candies that don’t include any animal or animal-based derivative in their ingredient are vegan. These candies are mostly gluten-free and made from plant extracts. So, all you sweet and confectionary lovers there are some amazing vegan candy brands to try out which will leave your sweet tooth satisfied.
Are Vegan Candies Healthy?
Vegan candies are absolutely healthy and safer to consume for all the vegans who have a sweet tooth. Vegan candies being non-dairy makes it lesser in calories and fats. With the goodness of ingredients like cacao that is rich in catechins, usually people consume that for burning fats makes vegan candies delightful in every sense.
According to FactMR, people all over the world, mainly from the US are focused more on their health as well as in their daily routine diet for intaking the protein and other nutrients. With the busy lifestyle, the convenience of food products are tending to grow in a continuous manner. Thus, they are more focused on the vegan food, so as for vegan candies.
In addition to, the rising awareness towards the cruelty of animals in dairy and meat products is also acting as key diver mainly for the market of vegan candies. Anyhow, vegan candies are healthier than non-vegan candies but they are also high in sugar and fats, indulging in too much of candies even if it is vegan, is not at all advisable.
Why all candies are not vegan?
All candies cannot be vegan even if they are thought to be one. Animal-derived products are comparatively cheaper and are highly used by the majority of candy brands while keeping pace with candy production in bulk. It’s extremely difficult to trace these animal-based ingredients in our amazing-looking and tasting candies.
Ingredients that make candy non-vegan
- Poultry (eggs or egg white)- One of the most important products used for binding the ingredients together, for a tasty-looking candy. Eggs are an animal-derived source which is a big No-No for vegan candy.
- Milk, butter, or Casein – This devious product is derived from milk, it’s the protein extract of milk. If you are a vegan then you need to watch for yourself while consuming food products that claim to be dairy free but are creamy like ice-creams, chocolates, puddings, or soups
- Whey– Whey is the liquid residue left after the curdled milk. This inexpensive byproduct of milk is frequently used in prepacked desserts like chocolate candies, pudding, nougats, or waffles. So, it’s always a good idea to check the ingredient section on these products before consuming them.
- Gelatin– This animal-derived product is most commonly used in food items that are chewy and elastic. Gelatin is the protein extracted from boiling animal parts making it the worst food product to use, by a vegan. Gelatin can be found in consumer products like cosmetics, skin and hair products, etc. While you can look up this sneaky product in the ingredient section of your marshmallows, yogurts, cakes, etc.
- Cochineal or Carmine– This non-vegan ingredient is made from crushing and grinding bugs and beetles to obtain the luscious red color for different candies and sweets. This barbaric ingredient for a vegan should be completely out of sight. So thoroughly check before consuming!
- Bee wax– One of the most camouflaging non-vegan products in a vegan pre-packed food ingredient list. Bee wax is collected from bees that abstain vegan to using anything that contains bee wax in it. Bee wax is essentially used to restrain candies to stick from each other or to make fresh fruits like apples and pears look fresher in stores.
- Honey- One of the most common ingredients used as natural sweeteners instead of white sugar in the name of good health choices. This premium and expensive food product is completely an outcast from the vegan food category even after being nutritional and healthy. Honey can be organic but it’s not vegan so go through the candy and dessert ingredient list very carefully.
- Lard – A brutal animal-based product made out of the fat collected in a pig’s intestine. How cruel this could be! This non-vegan ingredient is mostly used in bakery products like cakes, pastries, bread, etc.
- Castoreum- Be cautious if your favorite ice cream flavor ingredients read as an artificial flavoring. You will be surprised to know how some brands add this ingredient which is extracted from a beaver’s anal while marking its territory. Though this product is difficult to find, therefore expensive there can be chances. So, vegans please pick natural flavors over artificial flavors for any of your ice creams.
- Lactose- The sugar derived from milk is called lactose making it a non-vegan ingredient. This ingredient is an easy disguise in packed foods like biscuits, muffins, and pancakes.
- Confectioner’s glaze- Look out for the ingredient that glazes up your donut. Yes! That smooth shiny glaze coating on your dessert and confectionery food products is derived from crushing bugs making it a lethal vegan ingredient. Beware of this non-vegan product which can be termed differently in the ingredient list such as shellac, natural, or pure natural glaze. So, stay attentive!
- Oleic acid – Oleic acid can be derived from rendered animal fat making it an inexpensive ingredient to add to butter, oil, and condiments.
- Bone Char- One of the sneakiest offenders derived from cattle bones. It’s very difficult to trace this ingredient as bone char is used by product owners to bleach white sugar, Yes! You heard it right the shine that we see on the sugar grains it’s because of bone char.
Either vegan or non-vegan ingredients
Some vegan ingredients can be tricky and difficult to understand. It’s always a good practice to run through the food ingredients list usually printed behind the food package, in case you find any unfamiliar agent feel free to research about it or you can directly write into the brand for answers.
- L.Cysteine- This ingredient is generally made from human hair or bird feather. This product is used as a flour treatment agent. Therefore, always check for the ingredients.
- Lactic acid- This food ingredient can be meat-based as well as plant-based. Lactic acid can be a tricky ingredient to search for, in your vegan food they are mostly found in frozen desserts, Fruit preserves wines, etc. Lactic acid is usually used as a preservative agent. So, if you are a fan of processed food watch out for the food ingredients before consuming.
Candies that tends to have non-vegan ingredients
- Chocolates – Chocolates especially dark chocolates may contain dairy products, always pick vegan chocolate only
- Gummy Candies- The most important ingredient in making gummy candy is usually gelatin.
- Marshmallows- Another dessert delight made of gelatin.
- Mints- Beware of the squishy breath mints they may contain gelatin.
- Sprinklers- This cute and colorful garnish for your vegan ice creams can be unthreatening. But these beautiful tiny decorations may have confectioners glaze and red food dye derived from insects.
- Jam and jelly – The traditional recipe of jams and jelly involved a fruit-based derivative called pectin, a gelling agent. Nowadays brands use gelatin, a cheaper option to set jams and jelly which all the more makes you to check the ingredients thoroughly.
- Gum- Another gelatin-based product, which makes gums an unfavorable vegan food.
- Ice-cream – Ice creams may contain dairy products, another reason for keeping a close tap on the ice creams ingredient list is because they might contain castoreum (the vanilla flavor vicious substitute), extracted from beavers.
Top 10 Vegan Candy Brands
1. Go Max Go
I relive my childhood with their vegan chocolate candy bar and this should be your pick whenever you go for your candy shopping.
This compassionate brand’s signature recipe of vegan chocolate candy is made from rice milk, a real vegetarian chocolate candy bar is out there for you to relish. Giving other chocolates made from dairy milk, a tough competition. The ingredient list on the wrapper clearly states that the chocolates are vegan and Non-GMO (GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organisms.
Go Max Go is easily available in the U.S. and other international states. I love the taste and texture of their chocolate a completely satisfying indulgence.
Some of their flavors that are highly recommended: Are Thumbs Up, Cleo’s, Cleo’s White, and Snap! Jokerz, Buccaneer, twilight, Mahalo, and 2fer.
2. Sjaaks Eli’s Earth
I have still not explored all their flavors that’s the kind of variety they offer, but the ones I have eaten I have thoroughly enjoyed it. This family-owned business has been producing some of the finest organic chocolates since 1943.
Their mission is to create mouth-watering vegan chocolate candy bars derived from fresh organic-sourced ingredients. Their handmade approach to organic chocolate making along with traditional chocolate recipes, is an ethnic sweet delight for a vegan.
They are passionate about producing delicious vegan chocolate and focused on making vegan chocolates that are environmentally friendly making the world a better place for all.
Some of their flavors that are highly recommended: Are Treasure, Dream Big, Peanut Toffee Melk, Celebrate.
3. Gigantic Candy
Chocolates loaded with nuts has always been my to go type of candy whenever chocolate cravings hit me up. You will not be disappointed with these chewy, chocolate-loaded vegan chocolate bars. These four flavored vegan chocolate candy bars are low in sugar derived from cane sugar making them 100% organic.
Their additive four natural flavors peanut, banana, mint, and hazelnut give a cutting-edge taste and quality. With very appealing retro-style packaging, Gigantic chocolate bars stand out at any store to lure its consumers. They are a real deal to grab onto!
Some of their flavors that are highly recommended: Are gigantic salted peanut, Gigantic double dark mint, Gigantic banana pecan, and Gigantic almond horchata.
4. Dum Dum Lollipops
Who doesn’t like lollypops, I do! And I found them taste changers. These iconic OU Kosher-certified vegan lollypops have been one of the favorites for people from all age groups. Dum Dum pops have been on the most loved lollypop list since 1925. Known for their variety in flavors these lollypops can be relished at any given time.
Their wrapping technique is easy to pull out and pop. Made with natural flavors and ingredients this brand has taken vegan candy options very seriously. These lollypops can be picked up from anywhere be it a drug store, dollar shop, or any major grocery store giving it another reason for it to be so loved.
Some of their flavors that are highly recommended: Dum-Dums original mix, Dum-Dums tropical mix, Dum-Dums super treats mix, Dum-Dums heart pops, Dum-Dums color party, Dum-dums candy Canes
My kids love them so this has become one of my shopping propriety. These gluten-free and dairy-free candies by the Smarties candy company (not to be mistaken with the Smarties made by Nestle)is an absolute stunner for a vegan to add to their vegan candy shopping list. Their candies are worry-free for vegans who are petrified of food allergens.
Smarties candies are a delight for vegans and can be easily available at your nearest store. They take pride in making these cute bite-sized candies since 1949 they have a lot of flavors to try and, are made with dedication by keeping in mind, about every ingredient that they use is plant-based.
Some of their flavors are highly recommended: Smarties Original, X-treme Sour Smarties, Smarties love hearts, Smarties candy monies, and Tropical Smarties.
Coconut Milk Caramels: I have an inclination towards coconut flavour and it perfectly sets in the right mood whenever I have a bite of it. Amazing in taste and vegan in nature, Cocomels are all that you need if you like your candies to be filled with caramel.
This fun vegan chocolate candy brand is one of the young brands revolutionizing plant-based chocolate candies which is rich in chewy texture and dairy-free.
These delicious vegan chocolate candies are low in sugar and made of oat milk making it a great catch for vegans who are health conscious. These chocolate candies are available in bars as well as bite-size and with the kind of variety they have in stock makes them a must-have for every occasion.
Some of their flavors are highly recommended: Sea salt chocolate covered Cocomels, Vanilla chocolate covered Cocomels, Sea salt Cocomels, Coconut covered Cocomels, Original Cocomels, and Oat milk chocolate covered Cocomels.
7. Yum Earth Organic Fruit Flavored Vitamin C pops
I recommend this brand for those who love to carry something sweet in their bags all the time. Natural flavors toppled with the goodness of natural nutrients.
This family-owned natural flavor vegan candy company devoted its brand to making allergy-friendly vegan candies that could be enjoyed by everyone, especially those who were limited to food allergen-free products only. From sweet tangy pops to sour beans and from fruitilicious gummies to luscious hard candy this vegan candy brand has it all.
Some of their products are highly recommended: Natural flavor – organic lollipops, Organic Vit C pops, Organic sour beans, Organic gummy bears-pomegranate pucker, Naturally flavored- Organic fruit snack, Strawberry- organic pops.
8. Smart Sweets Vegan Candy
If you are health focused like me then get a pack of these I love to have them when on a diet. This vegan candy is absolutely good news for all health-conscious people, Smart Sweets vegan candy is 92% less in sugar compared to other vegan candy brands.
They are passionate about making their naturally flavored candies a healthy option and put in a lot of time and energy in research and selecting innovative techniques that help in reducing the sugar content in every gram. Their attractive and vibrant color packaging adds to the wow factor, making it a must-buy product.
Some of their products that are highly recommended: Sweet fish, Peach rings, Sour melon bites, Sour blast bites, Fruity gummy bears, Caramels, gummy worms, Cola gummies, Red twists, lollipops, Smart Sweets jolly gems.
9. Endangered Species Chocolate
I love these vegan chocolates and so will you for sure. The name says it all, a premium and high-quality chocolate brand with a mission of “doing good better” They are honest about their natural ingredient with no mysteriously hidden non-vegan ingredients in their chocolates, and they also contribute 10% of their earnings to effective initiatives.
Their chocolates are most loved by people who take their health very seriously. With not only being great in taste and holistic in approach their packaging is also like a storyteller with earthy colors and beautiful illustrations.
Some of their products are highly recommended: Raspberry fillings, Orange, Coconut and Almond, Caramel, Fudgy Peanut Butter, Extreme dark, Almonds, and Sea salt, Caramel and Sea Salt, Forest mint.
10. Surf Sweets
I crave for flavours and these fruity candies are such a delight! Another allergy-friendly vegan candy off the hook! These high-quality candies are made from organic ingredients giving a vegan sweet lover a blend of health and taste.
They are truly creating waves in the vegan candy food sector by donating 1% of their income is preserving open spaces and keeping the ocean clean. That’s a lot of good work to look for! Their candies are deliciously high in quality.
Types of Mainstream Vegan Candy Brands
These brands are still a debatable topic because of the artificial flavors and colors used in them. But they are termed as vegan so here are some brands you can pick after researching their core ingredients.
1. 5 top chewy and juicy candy brands – Skittles, Now and Later, Airheads, Mamba fruit chews, Mary Janes
2. 5 top soft gummy brands– Jujubes, Dots, Laffy Taffy, Red Vines, Sour patch kids
3. 5 top fruitilicious hard candy brands – Charm Lollypops, Fireballs, Bottle caps, Gobstoppers, Nerds
4. 5 Top nut-filled candy brands – Ocho, Chew-ets peanuts chews, Atkins peanut butter bar, Goldenberg’s peanut chews, Lance peanut bar
5. 5 Top bubble gums – Hubba Bubba bubblegum, Big League chew, blow pops, Cry babies, Super bubble.
Homemade Vegan Candy
Making vegan candies at home is one of the healthiest options because you know your ingredients and you can alter their effectiveness as per your taste. You can find some really tried and tested recipes online that can make your taste buds happy
Carbless Chickpea Nutella
This recipe is for all those who are Nutella lovers. Nothing could get better than eating a healthy jar of Nutella without worrying about the calories and the excessive sugar intake. Let’s take a look at how can we make this quick fix vegan wonder at home with easily available ingredients.
i) 1 cup Boiled chickpeas (without salt)
ii) 1 cup Almond milk
iii) 1 tablespoon maple syrup
iv) Vegan Chocolate chips
v) 1 teaspoon coconut oil
vi) 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
vii) 1 pinch of salt
How to make
- Take the blender and add chickpeas, Almond milk, maple syrup, vegan chocolate chips, 1 teaspoon of coconut oil, dates (without the seeds) 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt.
- Blend the items into a thick liquid. Once ready pour the thick liquid into the jar.
- If you feel the liquid is very thick, you can add almond milk to make it look proportionate texture-wise. This amazing vegan food recipe can be served cold or hot.
Q 1. What is vegan candy?
Answer: Any candy which is not derived from animals or animal byproducts like milk etc. is said to be a vegan candy
Q 2. What are the different types of vegan candy?
Answer: There are a lot of options available in vegan candy like gummy candies, hard candies, popsicles, chocolates, etc.
Q 3. Can we make vegan candies at home?
Answer: Yes, there are a lot of vegan candy recipes available online with ingredients that are easily available.
Q 4. Are vegan candies easily available in-store?
Answer: Yes of course! They are easily available and you will be surprised to know some of our favorite brands have been serving vegan candies for a long time.
Q 5. Do vegan candies taste different than non-vegan candies?
Answer: Not necessarily, many candies are made with similar ingredients be they vegan or non-vegan. So, there are chances of the taste being identical
Q 6. Are vegan candies guilt-free?
Answer: Not really, Vegan candy at the end of the day is a candy that can be high in sugar. Maybe natural ingredient candy-like fruit candies with no added sugar can be a healthy option.
Q 7. Are vegan candies gluten-free?
Answer: Not really! Some may contain gluten so it’s a good practice to check the ingredients first.
Q 8. Should you buy vegan candy?
Answer: Vegan candies are a good buy but one must check the ingredients before purchasing.
Q 9. Are lovely organic hard candies vegan?
Answer: Lovely organic candies are made from natural fruit and vegetable juices. The artificial dyes used in the making of the candy may have been tested on animals along with that the white sugar used can be not a very vegan-friendly food option.
Q 10. Are Dots candy vegan?
Answer: Yes, dots candy is vegan and gluten-free.
Q 11. Is Skittles vegan?
Answer: Skittles are a vegan candy made from natural flavors, palm oil, and sugar.
Q 12. What candies can vegan eat?
Answer: Vegan candies are easily available in stores from fruit-based candies to chocolaty you can choose from a variety of them here are some of the candy brands you can pick Airheads, Laffy Taffy, Ocho, Big League Chew Bubble Gum, Charm’s Sweet Pops, Brach.
Q 13. What common candy bars are vegan?
Answer: Candy bars which do not include any animal derived ingredients like milk, gelatin etc are vegan in nature. If you are a vegan, you can pick candy bars of brands like Go Max go, Sjaak’s, Gigantic, Trupo Treats, Misfits and Vego.
Q 14. What candy is not vegan?
Answer: Candies that use animal derived ingredients are not vegan, its always advisable to check for ingredients before making a purchase.
Q 15. Are M&M’s vegan?
Answer: M&M is a debateable when is comes to being vegan. There are certain ingredients like bees wax and carmine which are not vegan in nature.
Having a plant-based lifestyle cannot stop a vegan from enjoying candies that can satisfy their sweet tooth craving. This lifestyle switch has led to a surge in vegan candy production by various brands so that vegans can enjoy and fulfill their sweet treats every bit.
With vegan candies, vegans don’t have to compromise on their belief or their plant-based dietary restrictions anymore. It’s really exciting to see how vegan candy brands, with the use of innovative technologies and thorough research can create alternatives for animal-based ingredients with keeping the taste intact.
Vegan candies are purely vegetarian candies made by using natural ingredients making them a healthy option, compared to the processed and artificial flavored non-vegan candy brands. But it is important to note that not every vegan candy, because it is made of natural ingredients is healthy.
As more people try veganism, it’s critical to challenge these misconceptions and to show that vegans faces several stereotypes that comes from all walks of life.