Are Twizzlers Vegan?

Most chewy candies are made non-vegan in some form, usually by gelatin, but are Twizzlers vegan? The good news for any fan of the famous twisted red licorice sticks is that they are. But they may not be so vegan-friendly for everyone. 

There are no animal-based products in their ingredients list, but just what are they made from, and is the production method ethical? We’re going to answer all the important questions and see if there are other vegan-friendly options available.

Ingredients

We mentioned that there are no animal-derived ingredients, but there are questionable inclusions in these strawberry chews. A lot will depend on your level of ethics and how strict you are when it comes to certain ingredients. The full list is as follows:

CORN SYRUP; ENRICHED WHEAT FLOUR (FLOUR, NIACIN, FERROUS SULFATE, THIAMIN MONONITRATE; RIBOFLAVIN, AND FOLIC ACID); SUGAR; CORNSTARCH; CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF: PALM OIL; SALT; ARTIFICIAL FLAVOUR; MONO- AND DIGLYCERIDES; CITRIC ACID, POTASSIUM SORBATE (PRESERVATIVE); ARTIFICIAL COLOUR (E129); SULFUR DIOXIDE, TO MAINTAIN FRESHNESS; MINERAL OIL; SOY LECITHIN; GLYCERIN E129:

Let’s take a closer look at the questionable ingredients for a vegan:

Sugar

With sugar aplenty (4 twists amount to 19 grams of sugar) you are going to want to know more about the source. This is a big problem in the confectionery world. Because a lot of sugar used in the US has been through a decolorizing process that uses bone char.

The bones are made from cattle and pig and bleach sugar to make it a more desirable white. There is no trace of it in the finished product, but it does raise questions of ethics.

The problem is, many companies are not transparent about their sugar. When asked the question, they will often say that their sugar comes from numerous suppliers. Look for products that use organic sugar, or beet or coconut sugar to be sure.

Palm Oil

This is another ingredient that is derived from a plant but raises questions of animal cruelty. Because of the way palm oil is sourced, it displaces animals (such as orangutans) from their natural habitat, causing a decrease in numbers.

The devastation of the environment and to animal populations makes it a no-go for many vegans. Again though, this is a matter of how strict a person follows a plant-based lifestyle.

Artificial Colors

Another ingredient is derived from plants, but this doesn’t mean they are cruelty-free. Many food dyes are still tested on animals, and some of the most common are found in confectionery such as Twizzlers. 

They contain Red 40 (E129 in the UK) which has been routinely tested on thousands of animals. This is enough to make Twizzlers non-vegan for many people.

Even if you are ok with this, studies have shown that artificial colors can cause hyperactivity in children, which is another reason to avoid this ingredient where possible. 

Other Flavors

Twizzlers Liquorice Twists

The ingredients for this family favorite are as follows:

Enriched Wheat Flour [Flour: Niacin; Ferrous Sulfate; Thiamin Mononitrate; Riboflavin: Folic Acid]; Sugar; Cornstarch; Contains 2% Or Less Of Licorice Extract; Palm Oil; Salt; Natural Flavor And Artificial Flavor; Artificial Color [Red 40; Blue 1]; Mineral Oil; Lecithin (Soy).

There are the same questionable ingredients so again, it is a matter of how strict you are when it comes to the likes of palm oil, sugar, and artificial colors like Red 40. 

Twizzlers Sugar-Free Strawberry Twists

The sugar-free option isn’t overly different. It contains the same questionable ingredients:

Maltitol Syrup: Wheat Flour, Sorbitol, Corn Starch, Contains 2% Or Less Of Palm Oil, Salt, Corn Syrup, Artificial Flavor, Citric Acid, Glycerin, Artificial Color (Red 40), Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), Sodium Carbonate, Acesulfame Potassium, Mineral Oil, Soy Lecithin.

Most of the other flavor options contain a similar ingredient profile, so it is easy to spot the potentially non-vegan culprits. 

Vegan Alternatives

Following a strict vegan lifestyle and wish to avoid the above ingredients? We have a couple of options that are plant-based and do not raise questions of animal cruelty:

Panda All Natural Liquorice Bar

With a simple ingredient profile, these all-natural chews are an ideal vegan replacement. They are made from the following ingredients:

Molasses, wheat flour, raspberry puree (color) citric acid (acidulant), natural flavor, licorice extract. 

YumEarth Organic Liquorice

The word organic is often the sign of an ethical product, but it doesn’t always mean it is vegan. Here, we have an alternative to Twizzlers that is vegan. 

They share many of the same ingredients but because they are organic, are not an issue and are sourced responsibly:

ORGANIC CANE SUGAR, ORGANIC BROWN RICE SYRUP, ORGANIC RICE FLOUR, ORGANIC CORN STARCH, ORGANIC PALM FRUIT OIL, NATURAL FLAVOR, CITRIC ACID, SODIUM CITRATE, ORGANIC STRAWBERRY JUICE CONCENTRATE, ORGANIC LICORICE EXTRACT, SALT, COLORED WITH ORGANIC CONCENTRATE (CARROT, APPLE, BLACKCURRANT), ORGANIC CARNAUBA WAX, ORGANIC SUNFLOWER OIL

FAQ

Do Twizzlers Contain Gelatin?

They do not. This is one of the first questions to ask when looking for vegan-friendly movie snacks. The good news is that Twizzlers are free from gelatin, and some would say they are vegan.

Do Twizzlers Contain Dairy?

Another no. Twizzlers do not use any ingredients derived from animal products, and this includes dairy.

Final Word

Whilst a plant-based snack sounds like it should be music to the ears of a vegan, this is not always the case, Because of the way ingredients are sourced, you have to be mindful of the issue of cruelty.

This is why we always recommend reading the label thoroughly and consider truly vegan alternatives where possible.