Fruit is often the sugar of choice for vegans, but when it comes to fruit-based snacks, some are more problematic than others.
Many people think that fruit snacks are vegan. However, the ingredients in many brands of fruit snacks include gelatin and other animal-derived ingredients. If you want to be sure that your snack is vegan, then this article is for you!
Gelatin is the most common culprit that can remove an otherwise potentially vegan snack from the table. So, we are going to take a closer look and see what the options are, and look at all things vegan fruit snacks.
Made from boiled animal bones, ligaments, cartilage, skin, and tendons until they are turned into a goo-like substance, gelatin is as non-vegan as an ingredient can get.
It is cruel and found too frequently in candy products and baked goods as a thickener. But the following are popular substitutes that are plant-based:
Made from seaweed that has been cooked then pressed, it is flavorless and can be purchased as a bar before being ground and cooked until it dissolves.
It’s a common option for vegan baking although using them with fruit can mean the enzymes affect the setting ability of agar-agar. Cook the fruits first if using this as part of a recipe to get the best results.
Also see carrageen which is found off the coast of North America, France, and Ireland (it is often known as Irish Moss).
That’s right, anything that calls itself kosher gelatin has a chance of being vegan. This isn’t always the case as it can be made from fish, so be sure to check the label.
Fruit Snack Brands
Let’s take a look at some of the most common brands making fruit snacks, to see if they are vegan.
Certified organic, vegan, and gluten-free, you can’t go wrong with any Annie’s Organics fruit snacks.
From their Bunny-shaped fruit snacks to their swirly fruit tape multipacks, they make an addition to any plant-based lunch box or for a snack between meals.
Annie’s Organics even has a vegan section on their website where you can view a rundown of their plant-based products.
An often organic and vegan-friendly brand, their fruit-flavored snacks are made for vegans to enjoy thanks to their use of citrus pectin and organic ingredients. Even the confectionery coating is plant-based unlike a lot of brands that use a version made up of the secretions of lac beetles. Here is a rundown of what you can expect to find on the label:
organic cane sugar, organic tapioca syrup, organic tapioca syrup solids, organic pear juice concentrate, water, citrus pectin, contains 2% or less of citric acid (acidulant), organic fruit juice concentrates (organic strawberry, organic apple, organic cherry, organic lemon, organic orange) natural flavors, tripotassium citrate, organic fruit juice (color), organic vegetable juice (color), organic caramel color, organic red raspberry puree, organic annatto extract (color), confectionery coating (organic sunflower oil, organic carnauba wax).
Another popular brand with vegans thanks to their list of plant-based ingredients and snack-sized portions perfect when you are on the go.
The simple ingredients of their fruit snacks include organic cane sugar, meaning there is no bone char in sight (this is when brands decolorize sugar using the charred bones of cattle and pigs), and include the following:
organic rice syrup, organic cane sugar, pectin, citric acid, ascorbic acid, natural flavors, colored with organic concentrate (apple, carrot, pumpkin, blackcurrant), organic sunflower oil, organic carnauba wax.
As you can see, there is a lack of high fructose corn syrup or animal ingredients to make these a better option for many.
Little Duck Organics
Fruit flavored and vegan friendly, Little Duck Organics fruit snacks are simple to freeze-dried bites of fruit that are the go-to option for many parents when handing something cruelty-free to their young ones.
With a variety of flavors available, this Kellogs owned brand makes vegan fruit bar snacks that are certified organic and non-GMO.
It is refreshing to see brands putting the word vegan on the box so these snacks made from real fruit purees and juices can be enjoyed without the fuss of having to scrutinize the label.
We love to see “100% plant-based” and that is what you get from a quick scan of That’s It’s website.
With no animal ingredients in sight, their fruit snacks are allergen-free and made with real fruit, making their variety selection as tempting as their fruit bars.
Stretch Island Fruit Leather
Another brand making it easy to buy vegan snacks, Stretch Island Fruit Leather is made without artificial flavors or colors and is gluten-free.
The word vegan appears on their website which is as reassuring as it is welcome.
Made from whole foods, these guys specialize in fruit and veggie strips and are another brand making cruelty-free fruit snacks. They use a combination of three plant-based ingredients to flavor each strip including berry/apple/spinach and carrot/apple/ginger.
Iconic for the cute bear and colorful packaging, it’s what’s inside that makes this brand so appealing and vegan.
BEAR yoyo fruit rolls include collectible cards to make them a fun snack for children and are made by baking ingredients such as apples, pears, and strawberries, whilst adding a touch of black carrot extract.
They call themselves the original fruit and veggie strips, but are WildMade vegan? They sure are.
Both non-GMO and organic, they come as fruit rolls and fruit strips and their website even says they are vegan.
Certified organic and made only from fruit and veggies, there is no gelatin or artificial and synthetic colors.
With collectible cards included in every pack, kids will lap up four Nature’s Bandits flavors that include apple which is made from the following simple ingredients:
Blueberry, Cherry, Apple, Kale, Pumpkin, and Carrot Puree
Organic and once popular, it is unfortunate that their fruit snacks are now discontinued. Some of their other products can still be found online and are as wholesome as a lot of the other brands on our list.
A brand that needs no introduction, but how is Betty Crocker Fruit Snacks vegan? They are themed around popular characters such as Minions and Pokemon, but they use fruit pectin as a thickener instead of gelatin.
The ingredients are as follows:
Corn Syrup, Sugar, Modified Corn Starch, Apple Juice Concentrate. Contains 2% or less of Citric Acid, Fruit Pectin, Sodium Citrate, Malic Acid, Vitamin C (ascorbic acid), Sunflower Oil†, Color (vegetable juice, spirulina extract, fruit juice, annatto extract, turmeric extract), Natural Flavor, Carnauba Wax. †Adds a trivial amount of fat
Many beans will take issue with big American brands using sugar in their confectionery items since so many use bone char whilst processing their sugar. Look for organic sugar, or beet or coconut sugar.
Since it can be hard to trace, it makes it difficult to say if these are truly vegan, even though they use plant-based ingredients.
Using organic ingredients that include organic sugar so there is no concern over the use of bone char, they are made with mixed flavors and use organic sweet potato juice pectin instead of gelatin.
Sold by and made from the same recipe as Betty Crocker above, kids may be able to enjoy these if the parent is comfortable with the inclusion of sugar without knowing if it has been processed with bone char or not.
They call themselves America’s favorite fruit snacks but unfortunately, they are not vegan.
Made with real fruit juice and colors from natural sources, Welch’s fruit snacks are made with gelatin derived from beef and pork, as confirmed on their website.
They are also made without organic sugar so there is always a risk that they use bone char.
Made by General Mills, their fruit snacks are suitable for most vegans, but again there is the issue of sugar and the potential use of bone char. Still, it is good to see the use of fruit pectin in place of gelatin.
The ingredients read as follows:
CORN SYRUP, SUGAR, MODIFIED CORN STARCH, PEAR JUICE CONCENTRATE, APPLE JUICE CONCENTRATE, STRAWBERRY PUREE, CARROT JUICE CONCENTRATE. CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF: FRUIT PECTIN, CITRIC ACID, VITAMIN C (ASCORBIC ACID), DEXTROSE, SODIUM CITRATE, MALIC ACID, POTASSIUM CITRATE, SUNFLOWER OIL*, VEGETABLE AND FRUIT JUICE ADDED FOR COLOR, NATURAL FLAVOR, CARNAUBA
Are Most Fruit Snacks Vegan?
As the above brands prove, most fruit snacks you see are vegan-friendly. They often make use of fruit pectin in place of gelatin that ensures they are plant-based and fine to consume.
Although some vegans will take issue with the inclusion of sugar that may have been processed with bone char in some brands, there are still plenty of options from organic products, or companies baking their fruit to make it as close to natural as possible.
Do Fruit Snacks Contain Gelatin?
Because they are often made with vegetarians and vegans in mind, a lot of fruit snacks avoid gelatin. Instead, fruit pectin is the gelling ingredient of choice, and many brands don’t even need that when they bake their fruit.
However, this is not to say that every brand avoids gelatin, as you can see with Welch’s Fruit Snacks. They serve as a reminder that you still need to check the label.
Do Fruit Snacks Contain Pork?
Most brands avoid the use of pork gelatin, although it is not always the case. This was confirmed on Welch’s website where they answer the vegan question in their FAQ.
Still, most fruit snacks do not contain pork in any form.
Do Fruit Snacks Contain Dairy?
Most fruit-based snacks do not contain dairy unless there is a yogurt-flavored variant.
When shopping for fruit snacks, you are unlikely to find dairy products on the ingredients list which is why they are vegan more often than not.
Do Fruit Snacks Contain Eggs?
This is not a common ingredient in any fruit snack and we are yet to see it in any of the products we have reviewed.
This makes them closer to being vegan and since the treatment of egg-laying hens is so abhorrent, we are very glad.
Is this Fruit Snack Vegan?
With so many brands making vegan fruit snacks, it is good to see a confectionery item where we are spoilt for choice.
Still, there is no way any vegan can go in blind and pick up any fruit snack off the shelf. With some brands still using gelatin, it is important to stay vigilant and read the label.