Are you a vegan with a sweet tooth? Nerds candy sounding good just about now? Yes, I’m talking about those tiny, tiny, colorful Wonka candies.
Before you pop them in your mouth, let’s first find out the answer to the common question I get of “are nerds vegan?”
Better be sure these days with all the sneaky ingredients in foods today. At first glance, Nerds candy might seem harmful, but a closer look will tell you that they are actually NOT VEGAN. Keep reading to learn why!
What Are Nerds Made Of?
If you have eaten Nerds before, you will probably think it’s just made of sugar and food coloring. Well essentially, yes! TONS of sugar, a variety of food colors, and natural flavors.
In fact, Nerds boxes say “No Artificial Flavors”. Not sounding too bad yet? Well I hate to break it to you, but they MAY also CONTAIN EGGS.
Here is the complete list of ingredients: Dextrose, Sugar, Malic Acid, and less than 2% of Corn Syrup, Natural Flavors, Carnauba Wax, Color Added, Carmine Color, Blue 1 Lake, Blue 2 Lake, Red 40 Lake. May contain egg.
As you probably already know, vegans don’t approve of eating eggs.
Also, if you are a long-time vegan, you will probably also know that most types of sugar are a no-no for vegans, as the refining process often involves the use of bone char.
But it doesn’t end there, below I talk about other issues with Nerds’ ingredients that you might want to consider…
Food Colors In Nerds
Colors make candy even more appealing. But did you know that some food colors are derived from insects?
Take the color carmine, for example, which you can find in Nerds, too. This red food color comes from the crushed scales of female cochineal insects. Ugh!!
The thing is, carmine can be hidden using other names. In food labels, you can see it hiding under these names or codes:
- C.I. 75470
- Carmine lake
- Crimson lake
- Cochineal extract
- Natural red
Most food items, especially candy, that use “natural color” to look red or pink are non-vegan. So watch out for “natural” red colors on food labels!
BONUS: To learn how to make vegan candy alternatives, check out the video below.
Gelatin and Confectioner’s Glaze
Did you know that gelatin is from the leftover animal parts of meat industries? Gelatin is made from Skin, bones, tendons, ligaments, and other remnants that are boiled until they are soft enough to be combined!
This makes them rich in protein and collagen, but is of course, absolutely not for vegans. On the other hand, confectioner’s glaze or shellac comes from insects.
Specifically, shellac is a resin excretion of female lac insects (Asian beetles). Shellac gives candy their shiny appearance, and also helps protect them from moisture.
Always Check The Ingredients!
I realized that many vegan blogging sites list Nerds among popular vegan candies. The truth is that they are NOT EVEN VEGAN!
Unfortunately, many bloggers don’t do their due diligence in digging deeper into where the ingredients listed on a label come from.
Do you know what this means? You can’t just rely on any info out there on the web. So always do your part by checking the labels and ingredients yourself before you put that candy in your basket!
There are several issues with the ingredients Nerds are made of, regrettably they are not readily apparent. Among them are: the use of carmine color and the fact that they may contain eggs.
So they answer to your question ‘are nerds vegan?’, is a NO.
With great disappointment we vegans must say goodbye to Nerds candies. Are you also a vegan with a sweet tooth? What are your favorite vegan candies?
Let me know on the comment section below. And don’t forget to share this article in your favorite social media platform.