Are Dum Dums Vegan?

With just about every flavor imaginable, this popular lollipop is the go-to treat for kids and adults alike. But, it does ask the question, are dum-dums vegan? Because there are 16 flavors to choose from, it is good to know that they are. 

Popularised by their mystery flavor that comes out sporadically, there are a handful of controversial ingredients that need to be put under the microscope here. We’re going to take a closer look at dum dums, to see how suitable they are for a vegan lifestyle.

What Are Dum Dums Made Of?

According to their website, the ingredient profile of the original flavor is as follows:

Sugar, Corn Syrup, Citric Acid, Malic Acid, Salt, Artificial Flavor, Color Added, (Includes: Red 40, Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Blue 1)

It is easy to assume these ingredients are vegan, but some will question a few of the ingredients, and here is why:

Sugar

Discounting sugar as non-vegan is tricky since it is present in pretty much all candies. However, the method of processing sugar is problematic because of bone char. This is made from animal bones and is a method of giving sugar its white color. 

Not many brands specify if they use this method. Although there are no bone char particles present in the food itself, the processing method is not vegan. 

Flavorings

This refers to both natural and unnatural and although most natural flavorings will be sourced from plants, it is not always clear. 

Most animal-derived flavorings will be mentioned on the label. Dum Dum has confirmed these are derived from fruits on their website. 

Colors

Another controversial ingredient, colors are often tested on animals which is why they are not vegan. This isn’t always the case, and there are plenty of plant-derived colors. It is another factor to consider.

The ingredient profile will vary slightly depending on the flavor, but all of the non-original dum dum flavors are vegan. The fact that PETA has confirmed that dum dums are vegan is also reassuring. (https://www.peta.org/living/food/vegan-candy-land/)​​

Other Ingredients To Look Out For In Lollipops

Hard candy is often vegan, but certain flavors and additives can make them unsuitable for a vegan. Look out for the following ingredients in other brands to be sure:

Caramel – There are different forms of caramel, and a simple version is plain natural sugar and heat. Other types of caramel can use cream and milk. The problem is that not every brand will specify the type of caramel used.

Cream – Not just found in caramel flavors, the cream is often a stand-out ingredient used in the name of the flavor. Think cookies and cream, berries and cream, etc. This is a dairy product and not vegan.

Glycerine – This is a difficult ingredient since it can be derived from plants. However, unless specified, there is a risk that it is sourced via animals. 

How Are Dum Dums Made?

Over 12 million dum dums are made every day. The manufacturing process is detailed on their website and starts with liquifying the sugar and combining it with corn syrup. 

From there, they are cooked in a vacuum to remove air and moisture. In a large mixer, the formula is combined with color, flavor, and citric or malic acids. The batch is then mixed and pressed into shape before the stick is inserted. They are then left to cool and harden.

During manufacturing, cross-contamination is avoided through the use of dedicated equipment and the way to tell if this is the case is by checking they have been packaged by Spangler Candy Company. 

Do Dum Dums Have Gelatin?

There is no gelatin listed on the ingredients, so dum dums do not. There are no animal by-products in sight. This is part of why dum dums pass most vegan checks, and since it is a candy, gelatin is one of the first things to look out for.

However, since gelatin tends to make candy chewy, it is unlikely to be found in hard candy such as a lollipop. 

Are Dum Dums Sugar-Free?

No, dum dums are not sugar-free. It is the first and main ingredient that goes into this sweet treat. 

Although the ingredient itself can be controversial in terms of bone char, the likes of PETA have confirmed that dum dums are vegan. Because of this, we are closer to assuming that dum dums do not use it to color their sugar.

Expect about 5g of sugar in every serving.

Do Dum Dums Have Dairy?

The ingredients list shows that dum dums do not contain dairy. Because a lot of manufacturing involves reusing the same equipment for making different foods, there can be a risk of cross-contamination.

The company themselves publish the allergen information on their website and this states that they are dairy-free. Because of this, it is safe to say they are fine for anyone who has dairy intolerances and allergies. 

This is not the case for dum-dums as their website confirms that they are made on dedicated equipment. This means there is no risk of cross-contamination with milk or eggs. 

Final Thoughts

Dum Dums are another sweet treat that can be enjoyed by vegans. Enough voices are championing them as being suitable and the ingredients list does not bring up anything to be concerned about.

All of the 16 popular flavors are vegan, meaning there are plenty of options – something not every brand can offer those following a plant-based diet.

Featured image: “Dum-Dums” by Steve Snodgrass is licensed under CC BY 2.0