Being plant-based doesn’t mean you can’t indulge your sweet tooth.
The nostalgia of something sweet and sugary can bring us right back to school, visiting little tuck-shops and getting party bags for your birthday.
Many people think that going vegan means saying goodbye to the life of sweet goodness. Now, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Even big names like Love Hearts and Skittles are friendly for the plant-based population.
Many sweets on the market are either made especially for vegans or happen to be free of animal products (which makes being vegan much more accessible than people expect!)
When you boil it down to the ingredients, most sweets are just glucose syrup and refined sugar, everything a grown human needs.
So with most sweets just being sugar and refined syrup anyway, why aren’t all sweets vegan? Let’s explore that, shall we?
Many sweets in your local supermarkets will contain one problematic ingredient for many vegans: milk powder.
I’m not exaggerating when I say that milk powder is in everything. Despite its lack of nutritional value and small impact on the product, many large, sweet manufacturing companies end up with so much of it leftover from other products that they just put it in everything going.
Milk powder is in most liquorice (especially own brand) biscuits, dark chocolate, chocolate-coated sweets, and many more. Of course, milk powder comes from cows, so it’s not suitable for a vegan lifestyle.
Having said this, many companies are starting to develop a healthier alternative for their products that is vegan, such as soy milk powder, and is much healthier to source for the planet. Oreos have always and (I hope) will always be vegan due to their inclusion of soy milk powder in their products rather than skimmed milk.
The vegan world can’t live without you, Oreos.
Despite the rumours, many big-name supermarket sweets are vegan. It’s just about knowing where to look. Some of the biggest and dearest-held sweets are vegan, and people don’t even know about them.
Let’s explore a few:
Love Hearts take me straight back to my childhood. Sitting there and picking them out, taking each one as a life’s prediction (still not sure how accurate they were for this!)
What makes them 100 times better for me now, being an adult, is that they are vegan. The main ingredient is sugar, followed by sodium bicarbonate and food colourings.
No animal products in sight!
I can almost taste these just looking at the picture. I can still remember the enormous tubs of them in sweet shops (the proper traditional ones) and looking up, thinking I was never going to be tall enough to reach them.
Coming in a variety of flavours, every single one of them is vegan; from strawberry, bubblegum, cola, blackcurrant burst, Vimto, orange and lemon you have a large variety of options to choose from.
Ah yes, one of the most significant players going in the sweet world: Skittles.
The be-all and end-all of sweets just happen to be one of the most popular vegan sweets on the market. Skittles have been around longer than I can remember, with so many different varieties and flavours it’s near impossible to pick a favourite.
Oreos are not just the holy grail for vegans, but most of the world at this point. There is no better, creamier biscuit on the market as it stands.
This wonder biscuit has been vegan for as long as I can remember, never including any milk in the original recipe. However, the chocolate-covered Oreos are a different story, but let’s be honest, who would go for them anyway?
Many restaurants and take-out companies have made vegan milkshakes and desserts using Oreos, and I doubt they will stop soon. It is truly a cult classic vegan sweet treat.
Someone ring the nostalgia bell because I’m getting tingles!
Who doesn’t remember this sherbet-filled UFO treat? It’s a favourite as far back as 1921 when people still visited traditional sweet shops more than corporation supermarkets.
You can still find them in many sweet hampers, bulk sweet packets, and retro sweet packets today, but no one thinks of them as the ultimate vegan sweet! You’re in luck; they are 100% vegan!
Oh yes, you read that right.
Haribo has vegan products as part of their ever-expanding range of sweets!
While Haribo has developed somewhat of a reputation for being not-vegan-friendly due to using gelatine in some of their products, they have introduced vegetarian/vegan-friendly options into their line in recent years! They started with Giant Strawbs and then brought out some of the best sweets I have personally ever tasted in my years as a vegan, the Haribo Jelly Beans.
While many people will swear on the Rainbow Strips and Funny Mix (some of my other personal favourites), I will always opt for a bag of Haribo’s fun flavour jelly beans over anything else.
Vegan sweets are everywhere; it’s just about reading the ingredients list and looking for bold words.
Of course, there are other elements to being vegan that can affect some people’s choices with sweets, for example, palm oil, but as long as there are no animal products in sight (gelatine, milk powder, etc.), then you should be good to go!
Plus, most sweets have a label that says ‘Suitable for Vegetarians and Vegans’ on them now, making vegan sweet-hunting life much easier than it used to be.