I don’t know about you but there are times when certain foods take me back to my carefree childhood days. One of these is Twizzlers! Yes, that red stringy sweet treat that we all remember trying back in the day!
Now that I am a little older and wiser, and have made the conscious choice of living the vegan life, I have thought of the possibility of me not eating Twizzlers ever again!
So to answer what we all want to know here (are Twizzlers vegan?), there’s good news and bad news! The good news here is that Twizzlers are actually vegan folks, if you only consider the ingredients!
The bad news are that depending on your views on the ethical sourcing of the ingredients, then you might consider them non-vegan friendly!
Let’s Do The Twizzlers!
If you don’t have any idea what Twizzlers are, where have you been all your life? I’m just kidding! But just to give us a backgrounder, I will look into the origin of Twizzlers and how they came about.
Twizzlers were created by one of the oldest confectionery companies in the United States called Young and Smylie, which was established in 1845. The company began selling all sorts of licorice candy in Brooklyn.
At the beginning of the 20th century, around 1902, the company (known then as Y&S Candies) merged with two other companies. This merger led to the founding of the National Licorice Company.
It wasn’t until 1929 that Twizzlers were first made. It would, however, take about four decades before the candy would catch the mainstream consciousness. This was probably due to the company name change.
By 1968, the company was called Y&S Candies. In 1977, both the company and the Twizzlers brand were acquired by Hershey’s Foods.
For nearly three decades – from 1970 to 1999, Twizzlers were made in Farmington, New Mexico. Since 1999, Twizzlers have been made both in Tennessee and Lancaster, Pennsylvania (Home of The Hershey Company).
According to the Hershey’s official site, the products are created only in the United States.
The original Twizzlers came in licorice flavor only but by the 1970s, different flavors such as the following, were introduced to the market:
A variety of shapes and sizes were also introduced to the public such as:
- And Nibs
Apart from these, there have been other flavors and shapes that were added to the mix. Some of them, however, have since been discontinued.
But, when it comes to Twizzlers, The Hershey Company continues to come up with new varieties every couple of years.
What’s In A Twizzler?
Before we dig deep into the vegan-friendliness of Twizzlers, let’s take a look at the list of ingredients.
Let’s take Twizzlers Twists Strawberry as an example (since it’s probably the most common one people buy). If you check the ingredients list, you will find the following:
- Corn Syrup
- Corn Starch
- Wheat Flour
- Palm Oil
- Modified Palm Oil
- Citric Acid
- Soy Lecithin
- Mineral Oil
- Potassium Sorbate
- Colour (Red 40)
- Natural and Artificial Flavor
Are Twizzlers Vegan?
Upon seeing the ingredients list, it’s time to answer the rather important question. Here it is again in case you didn’t catch it before: Based on the ingredients listed on the label, there are no animal by-products included.
So this means that they might be vegan.
According to Hershey’s, Twizzlers products are free from ingredients and processing aids derived from animal origin. While this might validate the vegan friendliness of Twizzlers, this doesn’t really tell you the whole story or truth.
There’s actually a twist!
The Twizzler Twist
While Twizzlers are technically vegan, the issues have something more to do with ethics. And these issues might cause some concerns to vegans.
To know what these ethical issues are, I have listed down some of them so vegans know what’s up!
We all know that sugar is a primary ingredient when it comes to candies. The issue that lies with sugar has something to do with the white one specifically. For some vegans, white sugar is not vegan out all.
If you wondering why it’s because of the use of bore char as a decolorizing filter. According to PETA, bone char is made from bones of slaughtered cattles that are then sold to foreign traders.
These traders then sell these bones to US-based companies. This kind of information is something that does not sit well with some vegans. If this is something that turns you off, then sad to say, Twizzlers are not as vegan as you think.
- Palm Oil
If you’re vegan and you see “Palm Oil” on a product label, chances are you know that the said product might not be something that would fit your vegan dietary needs.
While plant-based and derived, the issue with Palm Oil goes beyond this. The cultivation of Palm Oil has been very controversial.
The production of Palm Oil has been connected with massive deforestation in places like Malaysia and Indonesia. The deforestation has led to the displacement of both people and animals in the areas affected.
BONUS: To learn how to make some of the famous candies vegan friendly, check out the video below.
What Are Twizzler Alternatives?
If you are looking for a licorice-ish alternative, there are candy companies out there that offer vegan sweet treats.
- Take the licorice offerings of Yum Earth.
The ingredients include: 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, Organic Carnauba Wax, Organic Sunflower Oil.
And the licorice is:
- USDA Organic
- Gluten Free
- Nut Free
- And of course… Vegan!
Yum Earth’s licorice line comes in four flavors – strawberry, chocolate, pomegranate, and peach!
- Another perfect alternative to Twizzler is Candy Tree Organic Liquorice Laces.
It is made from: Organic licorice extract, organic malt corn syrup, organic black molasses, freshly milled organic wheat flour, and organic aniseed. They are:
- Dairy Free
- Additive Free
- And of course… Vegan!
Now, this sounds like the ideal substitute to Twizzlers!
On paper, it is safe to say that Twizzlers are vegan! If the underlying issues that come with some of its ingredients are not a big issue to you as a vegan, feel free to enjoy this classic candy treat!
However, if the ethical and animal-rights issues are something that you are not totally fine with, don’t hesitate to explore and find other licorice candies that are vegan-friendly like the ones I shared with you above.
If you know of other great licorice alternatives that are vegan and that we can try, let us know in the comments below! If not, why don’t you share this on your social media accounts?
There might be someone in your network of friends who know a thing or two about vegan approved sweets!