Answer: It depends.
Some flavors contain animal-derived ingredients, while others are completely vegan-friendly.
Ah, Altoids. It’s been one of my favorite mints since my younger days. Who doesn’t love the smell of the popular flavors filling your nostrils and a delightful taste in your mouth?
Altoids have been a household name with their mints that give different flavors. However, not all flavors are vegan, especially the original ones like Cinnamon and Peppermint. The sugar-free Altoids, though, don’t contain any animal-derived ingredients like gelatin, which makes them vegan-friendly.
Let’s go find out more about Altoids.
Altoids, Curiously Strong Mints
In the 1780s, Smith Kendon of London-based Smith & Company created Altoids, which were originally made as lozenges to help mitigate any intestinal discomforts and bad breath.
The company Callard & Bowser acquired the rights to make, market, and sell Altoids in the 19th century and was later purchased by Mars Wrigley in 2004.
Mars Wrigley has since been producing Altoids in many different flavors.
The first Altoids were sold primarily in metal tins, which are repurposed as containers for other items such as coins, clips, and more. The tins have been popular as survival kits or first aid kit containers, especially for outdoor enthusiasts.
They were sometimes used as a computer board container, notably the BeagleBone made by Texas Instruments.
Some designers also used the tins as a container for a Membership Card, which was designed to fit in properly.
Musicians, specifically guitarists, also use the Altoids tins to store their plectrums, also known as a pick.
Another company also built a mini amp that resembles the Altoids tins, which they call Ampoids.
In the later years, Altoids packs were added.
Vegan-friendly Altoids Flavor
So as mentioned above, not all Altoids are vegan. Some of them contain gelatin, which is an animal-sourced ingredient.
Another controversial ingredient is sugar, which can be processed through the involvement of bone char.
Check these vegan-friendly flavors for your convenience.
- Arctic Peppermint Sugarfree Mints
- Smalls Peppermint Sugarfree Mints
- Arctic Strawberry Sugarfree Mints
- Arctic Wintergreen Sugarfree Mints
- Smalls Wintergreen Sugarfree Mints
So, these sugar-free Altoids are free from gelatin and, of course, sugar. It only means one thing, they’re vegan.
I’ve checked their ingredients one by one, and they all show that they’re vegan-friendly, which is great news to all vegans out there!
Non-Vegan Altoids Flavor
Unfortunately, not all Altoids flavors are vegan, especially since some contain gelatin, and the controversial ingredient, sugar.
For what it’s worth, you should check these flavors so you don’t accidentally use them in the future.
- Classic Peppermint Breath Mints
- Wintergreen Mints
- Cinnamon Mints
- Spearmint Mints
- Classic Wintergreen Breath Mints
- Peppermint Mints
What Is Gelatin?
Colorless and flavorless, gelatin is made of boiling animal body parts such as tendons, ligaments, cartilage, skin, and bones. These are mostly obtained from cows and pigs.
Gelatin is widely used in candies, gums, marshmallows, and other confectioneries. It’s also common in food, capsules, beverages, cosmetics, medications, and many more as a thickener or gelling agent.
But good news! Some vegan products are made with vegan gelatin called agar-agar, which is marketed as gelatin according to PETA.
Agar-agar is obtained from the cell walls of a type of seaweed, or red algae in particular. This is also used in many fruit preserves, ice cream, and more as a thickener and clarifying agent.
Unfortunately, some Altoids flavors are not made of agar-agar but real gelatin, which is sourced from animal body parts.
What About Sugar?
If you check the ingredients of the non-vegan flavors of Altoids, you will see that they involve sugar.
Many vegans don’t take sugar seriously as non-vegan. But some strict vegans would make sure that the sugar used in food or a certain product didn’t go through a filtration process involving bone char.
Bone char is made out of animal bones. It’s used in refining sugar, which is called decolorizing filter to obtain the white color in sugar.
Sugars like beet and coconut are not processed with bone char.
So the best thing to look out for when buying sugar at a supermarket is to check the label if it’s labeled organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Or you can check if it says unrefined or if it’s made from beets.
I got a few favorite vegan-friendly sugar brands that you can consider the next time to make a trip to the grocery.
- Florida Crystals
- In the Raw
- Bob’s Red Mill
- Now Foods
- Imperial Sugar
- Big Tree Farms
- Michigan Sugar Company
Apart from Altoids, there are many mints to choose from that are not made with animal ingredients. Most of them are easily found in most groceries and supermarkets.
Some of these brands also vary, like Altoids. So you will have to check out the label to ensure that they don’t contain gelatin, beeswax, or other animal-sourced ingredients.
- Bendicks Mints
- Breath Savers
- Dentyne Mints
- Eskimo Mints
- Eclipse Mints
- Extra Chewy Mints
- Excel Mints
- Ice Breakers
- Fox’s Glacier Mints
- Jila Mints
- Polo Mints
- Orbit Mint Gum
- Simply Mints
Some flavors of these mints are non-vegan, while others are vegan-friendly. Always check the ingredients before adding them to the cart.
- Tic Tacs
- Mentos Mints
Common Non-Vegan Ingredients In Mints And Other Confectioneries
It’s been known that gelatin is mostly the culprit of most candies, mints, marshmallows, and other confectioneries.
However, their being non-vegan is strengthened by these other culprits that complete the lineup of animal-sourced ingredients.
Like gelatin, these are also widely used as a thickener, gelling, or clarifying agent in food, cosmetics, beverages, beverages, candles, and many other products.
- Beeswax. This is made by the bees and is boiled with water to obtain the natural wax that it produces. Sadly, thousands of bees are killed when bee farms have to retrieve the honeycomb.
- Carmine. It’s a bright-red color pigment obtained from the dried bodies of cochineal or some types of female insects. Yes, it doesn’t sound delicious either.
- Lanolin. In food, this is used as a softener and as an emollient in many beauty products such as haircare, skincare, and other cosmetics. Also called wool wax, lanolin is obtained from the wool-bearing animals’ sebaceous glands.
- Egg. This is formulated for baking products such as fondants, fudges, and more.
- Milk. Many candies, ice cream, baked goods, and other food products are made with milk, which is produced by animals such as cows, goats, sheep, horses, and buffalos, among others.
- Casein. This is the major reason why cheese is not vegan. Casein is the chief protein obtained from the milk of mammals.
- Whey. When milk has been curdled and strained, the remaining liquid is called Whey. It’s a byproduct of cheese, which means it’s not vegan.
- Castoreum. This is a yellowish fluid that’s obtained from the castor sacs of beavers. It’s used in many food and drinks, as well as in many beauty products.
Health Risks Of Gelatin
Altoids are mostly made with gelatin as one of their key ingredients. While the FDA has certified gelatin as safe to consume and use, it’s still important to understand that there are also health risks.
Gelatin is derived from animal body parts. These animals may have diseases when they get busted, which may also affect the human body when gelatin is eaten or used.
However, there are no reported severe cases in that gelatin has harmed those who consume it. Nonetheless, it’s still non-vegan and is not suitable for you.
Gelatin Vegan Substitutes
Luckily, there have been a lot of vegan substitutes for most of these animal-derived ingredients that are commonly used in food, beverages, and other beauty products.
- Agar-Agar. As mentioned earlier in this post, agar or Katen is obtained from the cell walls of red algae. Most custards, jellies, and puddings in Asia are made with agar-agar.
- Pectin. This fiber is derived from the cell walls of fruits, which develops a gel-like substance when boiled. Many store-bought jams and jellies are made with Pectin.
- Carrageenan. This is obtained from dried red seaweed that becomes softer and produces a gel-like pigment when boiled. You can buy this on Amazon too!
- Vegan Jel. This is a product that may contain carrageenan, tapioca dextrin. or vegetable gum, and is definitely vegan-friendly. It’s commonly used as a replacement for real gelatin.
The Bottom Line
Altoids, just like some other mints, are both vegan and non-vegan. There are a few flavors that you can’t have since they include gelatin, which is obtained from animal body parts.
However, you can trust that the sugar-free Altoids are vegan-friendly, especially since they don’t contain sugar and gelatin. I also included vegan alternatives to gelatin that weren’t mentioned above in this separate article if you want to check it out.
You can refer to the list I included above to check what other brands of mints you can buy from the groceries. Those are vegan-friendly and safe to consume.