A nostalgic treat for most adults, lollipops bring back those kindergarten days when life was carefree and achieving your first milestone was often celebrated with a sweet treat. These juicy candies were available in a variety of flavors–with each one satisfying your sweet tooth!
However, as more and more people switch to a vegan lifestyle–a question arises for every little food, especially candies. So, are lollipops vegan? Let’s look into this question in detail.
Are Lollipops Vegan or Not?
Yes, lollipops are vegan to a certain extent, but some brands do include non-vegan ingredients. Plain lollipops tend to be vegan as they contain only sugar and water. Malic acid and citric acid are also used as ingredients in lollipops which are also vegan.
However, if there are artificial ingredients or flavors involved, then there’s a high possibility that those lollipops contain animal-based ingredients.
How Are Lollipops Made?
Sugar candies are derived from a glassy amorphous structure which is a non-crystalline solid. After going through the heating process, where both ingredients are heated to a temperature of 310℉, the mixture is cooled down as the moisture content drops below 2%.
The supercooled liquid gradually materializes into its crystallized form and transitions to a hard crystallized solid of a lollipop. This transition is known as the glass transition. It is a fairly simple process though it gets complex when artificial flavors and refining agents get involved.
What Makes Lollipops Non-Vegan?
There are several ingredients that immediately serve as a red flag, especially if the product is already advertised as a ‘vegan product.’ It is important to look out for these pointers if you have decided to follow a strictly vegan diet.
Bone Char As A Refining Agent
What makes lollipops non-vegan is the kind of sugar involved. Lollipops that contain organic sugar are approved by the strictest of vegans. On the other hand, white and brown sugar are natively processed with bone char. Bone char is essentially a granular solid derived from disintegrated animal bones. It is used as a refining agent to remove color impurities.
This is not always the case, as some manufacturers are switching to better alternatives such as activated carbon and ion-exchange resins.
Any ingredient derived from milk is immediately scrutinized by the vegan community–no matter how low the percentage may be. The two milk derivatives that are most commonly used in lollipops are cream and caramel.
- Cream is a highly fatty yellowish layer that accumulates the top of unhomogenized milk. It is composed of high levels of saturated fats and natural pigments such as carotenoids which gives it a slightly yellow tint. It is fairly easy to check whether your lollipop is vegan or not, as this ingredient is usually mentioned in the list. Some brands that offer cream pops include Alpenliebe Cream and Original Gourmet Medley Cream Pops.
- Caramel in lollipops is a common ingredient that often gets overlooked as it is made from heating sugars. Now, this is where things get tricky when caramel sauce is added, as this contains cream and milk. Some brands contain caramel that is free from animal products though they do not specify how it is made.
Avoid any milk derivatives, even if it claims to be vegan. Instead, opt for natural fruity flavors like orange, strawberry, and apple that are completely vegan and even safe to consume.
It is imperative to consider artificial ingredients like food coloring and flavors that are often non-vegan and harmful to children. Carmine is a non-vegan food coloring that has raised concerns in the vegan community. It is a red pigment that gives your lollipops a vibrant color, but it is derived from beetles via carminic acid.
Lollipop manufacturers tend to opt for the more vegan-based petroleum-derived variant, specifically Red 40 and Red 3, which have no adverse effects on hard candy. Still, it has never been verified by a legitimate source to be 100% vegan-friendly.
Glycerin is derived from two sources: animals and plants. If glycerin is derived from animal fats, then it is obviously not vegan. According to PETA’s list of animal-derived ingredients, glycerin has been noted as a potentially problematic additive.
Since most brands are not clear on where glycerin is sourced from, it is better to stay away from lollipops that contain this ingredient.
Which Brands Offer Vegan Lollipops?
When people think of a plant-based diet, many assume that it is highly restrictive. Well, it doesn’t have to be, as brands are coming out with vegan alternatives for every food, even lollipops! Listed below are some brands that offer vegan lollipops.
YumEarth Organic Pops
One of the best organic lollipop brands on the market, YumEarth’s Organic Pops, offers naturally-derived lollipops. Although other brands exempt animal by-products from their ingredient list, they use artificial dyes which may have been tested on animals. YumEarth, on the other hand, uses natural coloring that is derived from fruits and vegetable concentrates.
Some key ingredients of YumEarth Organic Pops include:
- Organic cane sugar
- Natural flavors and coloring
- Organic Brown rice syrup
- Citric Acid
- Ascorbic acid
This brand offers a mix of vegan and non-vegan options, so make sure to check the flavors beforehand. A vast majority of Chupa Chups lollipops are vegan-friendly and mostly contain fruit flavorings and organic sugars. Some of them include:
Remember to watch out for the non-vegan flavors that usually contain caramel, vanilla, and cream.
Vegan lollipops are a delight for everyone. They come in fruity flavors so you can give in to your cravings without feeling guilty, especially if you are on a strict diet.
We hope that this article cleared your doubts about vegan lollipops and gave you some insightful suggestions.