Answer: It depends.
Gobstoppers are very memorable for children. They are hard, sweet, come in varying colors, and are one of the healthier options. They originate from the term ‘‘gob,’’ meaning mouth, and take inspiration from the candies in Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
Also known as Jawbreakers due to their hardness, you might wonder, are Gobstoppers vegan?
The original Gobstoppers are vegan and do not contain any animal-derived components. However, the variations are not.
They also do not contain any non-vegan coloring agents, gelatin, or anything else non-vegan. The other variations of Gobstoppers are not vegan as they might contain eggs and some ingredients that can cause some concern. We will discuss them below.
What Are Gobstoppers Made Of?
Gobstoppers are a hard, round, and sugary candy that gained popularity among school children in the 1900s. They contain several layers, each revealing a different colored or flavored layer before it dissolves entirely.
They are also not chewable and can cause dental damage. Hence, the alternate name is ‘‘Jawbreakers.’’ Gobstoppers are also known as Everlasting Gobstoppers due to their never-ending quality in Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
Gobstoppers or Jawbreakers take several weeks to manufacture. The process of manufacturing these candies is called ‘‘hot panning.’’ The repeated addition of liquid sugar happens over several weeks. They also add natural and artificial colors/flavors in the process.
The layers consist of sugar in the form of dextrose and maltodextrin, corn syrup, water, and food coloring. Here are the actual ingredients for Gobstoppers:
- Calcium stearate
- Carnauba wax
- Added color: Yellow 6, Yellow 5 Lake, Yellow 5, Red 40 Lake, Blue 1, and Blue 2 Lake
- Less than 2% of corn syrup
- Malic acid
- Natural flavors
- May contain egg (some variants)
Are Gobstoppers Vegan?
Gobstoppers do not have any obvious ingredients that are non-vegan. Depending on the variation, they might contain eggs. If any of the flavors contain egg, they would be non-vegan.
The sugars are questionable as some sugars made in the US use bone char to whiten the sugar. The issue is that they are very well-hidden and, as a result, hard to know if there’s bone char in them. The default assumption is that there isn’t any.
Another questionable ingredient is artificial colors that the Gobstoppers have in abundance. Despite the Gobstopper colors not being animal-derived, they test it on animals for safety reasons.
If you are a strict vegan, these ingredients might not be acceptable and make the food non-vegan.
Are Gobstoppers Vegetarian?
Based on the ingredient list, there is nothing to conclude that the candy isn’t vegetarian. The ingredients do not cause any concern and have no animal meat present. The bone char in the sugar is not present in the final version.
What About The Chewy Gobstoppers?
Chewy Gobstoppers are not vegan as they contain egg albumen or egg whites. They add chewiness and prevent the staleness of the Gobstoppers, much like in sweet tarts.
The ingredients of Chewy Gobstoppers are:
- Calcium stearate
- Carnauba wax
- Colors added: Yellow 6, Yellow 5 Lake, Yellow 5, Red 40 Lake, Blue 2 Lake, and Blue 1
- Corn syrup
- Egg albumen
- Hydrogenated coconut oil
- Less than 2% of maltodextrin
- Malic acid
- Mineral oil
- Mono and diglycerides
- Natural flavors
- Sunflower lecithin
What About Off-Brand Gobstoppers?
The off-brand Gobstoppers may or may not be vegan. Some confectioners glaze their candy with shellac, which isn’t vegan. Shellac makes the jawbreakers/gobstoppers shiny. If they aren’t polished, there might not be any.
However, it is hard to be sure as no ingredients are listed on the package. Even though there are many varieties, the ingredients are identical and not animal-based.
Using calcium stearate, artificial flavors, and added colors can be concerning for stricter vegans.
Everlasting Gobstopper Candy: An Overview
The Everlasting Gobstopper is inspired by Roald Dahl’s 1964 book “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” Breaker Confections introduced the candy in 1976 in the Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory movie.
Nestlé later bought the Willy Wonka Candy Company in 1988.
How Does The Everlasting Gobstopper Candy Taste?
The candy has different textures, tastes, and colors. You can also get them in different flavors. The candy’s center is chalky and usually cherry-flavored. They take a significant time to dissolve due to the layers of varied flavors, sizes, and colors.
About Everlasting Gobstopper Candy
The Everlasting Gobstopper candies do not have any gluten in them. However, they manufacture the candies in a factory that produces gluten-based products. There are chances of cross-contamination. Ensure to read the label before buying anything.
A pack of nine Everlasting Gobstopper candies has 60 calories. As such, a single piece of the candy has about 5-6 calories.
Regarding its vegan status, the Everlasting Gobstopper isn’t vegan. The food coloring does not use animal derivatives like carmine. However, egg albumen is a crucial ingredient in candy.
Are These Ingredients Problematic?
Let us take a look at the possible problematic ingredients of Gobstoppers.
Calcium stearate is a permitted anti-caking agent used in a range of foods and not just Gobstoppers. It acts as a thickening, flow, and waterproofing agent, popularly used in cosmetics and food.
It is a compound of calcium combined with solid organic acids gained from edible sources. Some sources say that it was originally derived from animals.
If extracted from animals, it comes from cows, pigs, sheep, and euthanized pets (dogs and cats) from shelters. It is a component of some lubricants, surfactants, and many foodstuffs.
However, other sources say that stearic acid is a naturally occurring saturated fatty acid of animal fats and vegetable oils. Most stearic acid today is derived from palm oil, soybean oil, or edible tallow.
Due to its versatile properties, manufacturers use it to produce medicines. When used in food, calcium stearate prevents caking and improves texture. It’s also crucial in reducing friction between elements.
However, calcium stearate can also cause skin allergies and should be kept away from the eye. The alternative for calcium stearate is silicon dioxide.
Artificial Flavors And Added Colors
Artificial flavors and colors face the same issues. They are considered vegan because of their manufacturing process – synthesized in a lab. However, there are issues about cross-contamination and health concerns surrounding using these items.
If you want to practice a healthy lifestyle, you should reduce preservatives, artificial colors, and flavors from the food you eat. You can only do this by planning your meals and eating organically. You can find similar flavors naturally, too.
If you can’t find or afford the organic food you want, buy the freshest produce you can and wash it thoroughly. You can also use a lime-based solution to remove any chemical residue (not soap) found on inorganic food.
There are also vegan alternatives for food coloring, and there is no need to purchase items from brands that conduct animal testing. If you know of vegan-friendly brands, this statement only holds truer.
Carnauba wax is extracted from the carnauba tree leaves found in Brazil. Brazil is the only country that makes and distributes carnauba wax. The wax is a secretion produced by trees to regulate moisture.
The wax is obtained by drying the leaves in the sun and removing the wax from them. The farmers only harvest 20 leaves every summer to make sure the trees aren’t bare. The resin can be powdery or flaky, depending on how pure it is.
Carnauba wax is used in baby products, bath products, skin care products, sunscreens, and baked goods. The primary use of this wax is due to its glossy finish and rendering smooth and soft skin.
Is Carnauba Wax Vegan?
Due to the word ‘‘wax’’, carnauba wax is often confused with beeswax. However, carnauba wax is extracted from palm trees and is safe for vegans. Many food items use carnauba wax as an anti-caking agent and give a glossy coating.
The wax is also hypoallergenic, non-toxic, and comprises fatty acids and hydrocarbons. Due to its high melting point, it does not dissolve in water and can be more solid than concrete.
The human body is incapable of melting wax with such a high melting point and, as a result, is not absorbed by the body upon consumption. It is a safe ingredient.
Gobstoppers Are Vegan
Since most variants of Gobstoppers do not have ingredients vegans usually avoid, the candy can be considered vegan. However, it does have ingredients that can elicit concern, like artificial flavors and colors.
Animal testing to prove food safety is still frowned upon due to the animals suffering and sometimes dying in that process.
Therefore, even if you look at Gobstoppers and know that it doesn’t have any non-vegan ingredients, there are ingredients associated with animal cruelty.
Although Gobstoppers’ main ingredient is sugar and does not contain any obvious dairy or poultry, there might be non-vegan elements. These ingredients are sugar, calcium stearate, and artificial colors.
Some variations might contain egg, which is also non-vegan. Gobstoppers are, however, vegetarian-friendly.