General Mills makes Fruit Roll-Ups under the Betty Crocker brand, and since many of their signature products are not vegan, it is always best to take a closer look. The popular snack has been on the shelves since 1983, with a simple ingredient profile. But does this mean that these fruit snacks are vegan?
All flavors of Fruit Roll-Ups are vegan friendly, with most being similar. But there are various definitions of what makes a product suitable for a vegan lifestyle. The following article will answer the most pressing questions about Fruit Roll-Ups and just how vegan-friendly they are.
List of Ingredients
According to the Betty Crocker website, Fruit Roll-Ups get their texture from a vegan-friendly mix of the following ingredients:
- Corn Syrup
- Dried Corn Syrup
- Pear Puree Concentrate
- Palm Oil
- Contains 2% or less of Citric Acid
- Sodium Citrate
- Fruit Pectin
- Malic Acid
- Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
- Acetylated Monoglycerides
- Natural Flavor
- Food Colorants (red 40 / allura red, yellows 5 & 6, blue 1)
How They’re Made
To make Fruit Roll-Ups, Betty Crocker must puree the fruit and other ingredients by cooking them, drying them, and rolling them into the iconic strip. They will still be sticky at this point, so it is rolled onto a non-stick backing sheet made of cellophane.
Once dried, they get that firm leather-like texture that is still flexible enough to roll. This texture also makes it easy to cut. There is nothing added at this stage, so the strips remain vegan-friendly.
It was in 1975 that General Mills, the company behind the first Fruit Roll-Ups, wanted to make a fun fruit snack. The research took eight years to perfect, and the process hasn’t changed a lot.
Do Fruit Roll-Ups Have Gelatin?
No, Fruit Roll-Ups do not get their consistency from Gelatin. Fruit candies can raise questions about how suitable it is for vegans, especially if it is chewy. Looking at the ingredient list, they get their texture from vegetable microbe-derived gums.
It is the Pectin-based ingredients that give it the texture. This is a natural starch that is derived from the walls of fruits and vegetables. Mainly extracted from citric acids, it is a gelling agent often used in jams but also as a stabilizer in fruit juice. Because it is made entirely from plants, pectin is vegan-friendly.
None of the other ingredients contain Gelatin in Fruit Roll-Ups.
Are Fruit Roll-Ups Dairy Free?
There is no dairy on the ingredients list. Most sugar-based candies tend to avoid adding dairy, whether they are hard candies or soft like Fruit Roll-Ups.
Fruit Rolls Ups do not contain any animal products or by-products, which mean no animal fats, egg whites or milk. They also use plant-based wax. It is a valid question since egg whites will sometimes be added to hard candies to help give them their texture.
Xanthan Gum can be produced with milk and even egg whites, but this is rare. Most Vegan resources consider it to be a safe ingredient for consumption.
Do Fruit Roll-Ups Have Pork?
No, they do not. The one ingredient that some may have been called into question is acetylated monoglycerides. An emulsifier can be made from processed meat, which is why many people avoid them for religious or dietary reasons.
However, the type used is derived from vegetables and uses the natural building blocks of plants. They are included to improve the consistency of food as well as preventing stickiness.
Does Fruit Roll-Up Have Processed Sugar?
The sugar may raise a few questions since white sugar is often bleached using the animal by-product bone char. It isn’t easy to track which companies use sugars bleached this way. Although the bone char won’t be consumed, it can be part of the manufacturing process, which will raise alarm bells for many vegans.
It is difficult to be sure if this process is used, but there is nothing to say that they do.
Other generic brands include Fruit By The Foot. This is another Betty Crocker product. Although most vegans will find the ingredient list fine, some strict vegans may wish to avoid some of the additives that are difficult to trace and be 100% certain they are vegan-free.
Fruit Roll-Ups are considered vegan, but there are alternatives. Stretch Island Original Fruit Leather is one brand that makes its fruit leather entirely from fruit and is vegan.
There are other brands masking products aimed at kids, with Cliff Kid Organic Z Fruit Rope. Although there are different flavors and different ingredient profiles, the Strawberry variant can be vegan. They are also gluten-free, organic, and do not contain artificial sweeteners.
The best way to ensure that a vegan alternative is safe to consume is to make your own. Homemade Fruit Leather is easy to make. To enhance the flavor, only fresh fruit, water, lemon juice, sugar, and even a few spices such as cinnamon are needed to make it a vegan snack. There are various recipes online, but the process mainly involves spreading out and drying pureed fruit.
Fruit Roll-Ups do not contain any clear non-vegan ingredients. For a strict vegan, the process of which the sugar goes through may be problematic.
In terms of ethics, the Palm Oil content may be something to consider, but there are no animal by-products and no dairy. The lack of Gelatin could also make this a tempting snack between meals, although alternative brands make it clearer that their ingredients are vegan-friendly.