Answer: No. Traditionally, it is not considered vegan because of butter and honey.
Sweet, sour, chewy, and delectable. Most of us have fond memories of downing packet after packet of gummy candies in our childhoods. The shocking sour exterior of Trolli Gummy Worms gives way to a mind-numbing sweetness.
Memories of gummy candy getting stuck in our teeth on Halloween are something many can relate to. The gelatin-like sweet and sour candy, shaped like colorful worm-noodles, many have loved them over the years.
But part of the vegan lifestyle is coming to terms with the fact that most snacks are not vegan-friendly. While obvious foods like meat and dairy are immediately off the table, for many snacks, it’s not that obvious.
After all, what animal product could candies contain apart from honey, right? So are Trolli Gummy Worms vegan?
The answer is a resounding no. There is no doubt that gummy worms are not vegan. Gummy worms and other gummy candies use animal gelatin. Animal gelatin comes from breaking down animal tissue like horns, bones, skins, and even fat.
While there are alternatives available, finding them is not easy.
What Is Gelatin?
Gelatin is a type of protein product called collagen. Collagen is incredibly healthy for the human body.
The reason why it is so healthy is that that collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies. It is found in our skins, organ linings, muscles, connective tissues, and more. The most significant sources of this protein are unfortunately found in these very same parts.
Humans have figured out the way to extract collagen from these animal parts by boiling them. Gelatin is the boiled and extracted form of collagen.
What Is It Used For?
Health benefits aside, people use gelatin in a variety of food products. It is used in dessert items to thicken them and to “set them.” Desserts like cakes, puddings, marshmallows, gummy candies, and even in some ice creams.
Gelatin has no taste or odor and is completely colorless. Gelatin also has the property to give a jelly-like texture to any mixture it is added to. Because of these two properties, gelatin is used for, well, gelling up different foods.
Apart from their use in foods, gelatin can even be found in some shampoos, photographic film (here is where the younger generation will scratch their heads), in medicine coatings, and many cosmetics.
Gelatin is everywhere. This means more products to avoid, unfortunately.
The Animal Connection
The most common way to make gelatin is by taking the bones, connective tissue, and even horns of animals and boiling them in water for hours and hours. This makes them completely vegan unfriendly.
It is the presence of this product in Trolli Gummy Worms that makes them non-vegan.
Vegetarian Is Not Vegan
While Trolli has its selection of vegetarian candies, including a version of their gummy worms, those products aren’t vegan. Even vegetarian products can be non-vegan. For example, honey is one product that is vegetarian but not vegan.
The products that cause doubt in their vegetarian collection are lactic acid and sodium lactate in particular.
Both of these chemicals are processed down from milk and other dairy products. That’s why Trolli’s other vegetarian products are not safe for the vegan community.
What About Other Gummy Candies?
Just like gummy worms, most other gummy candies contain gelatin. It is the gelatin that gives gummy candies their texture and mouth-feel. Considering that most gummy candies aren’t even vegetarian or even kosher, being vegan-friendly is out of the question.
This doesn’t mean that there aren’t any alternatives, however. The way to enjoy vegan gummy worms is to look for the right ingredients.
The Alternative To Gelatin
While gelatin is found almost everywhere, there are new alternatives that are available,
The most popular alternative to gelatin is a substance called agar-agar. Agar-agar, or kanten, or simply just agar (who decided on a double name anyway?) is a simple substance extracted from seaweed, mainly red algae.
Unlike gelatin, which is almost entirely made out of proteins, agar is made out of carbohydrates. Just like gelatin, agar is used as a stabilizing and gelling agent. Dairy-free, kosher and vegan food products often use agar.
Agar is an excellent substitute for gelatin because, just like gelatin, it has virtually no taste, smell, or color.
Carrageenan is another alternative for gelatin. Just like agar, it is also extracted from red algae. However, it is extracted from different species of algae. Carrageenan is usually used for vegan cheese products instead.
Scientists also make efforts to create a synthetic version of gelatin from fungi instead.
Health Benefits Of Agar
Many people use agar as laxatives and intestinal stimulants. This is supposed to help with problems like obesity, constipation, and even diabetes.
Agar has also been claimed to have similar restorative effects on connective tissue health, just like gelatin but to a smaller extent.
Most importantly, agar is entirely free from sugar and fats and has very few calories in general. It is also surprisingly filling. This makes it great as a dietary substitute.
If you have heard of the Japanese “Kanten Diet,” then you know of the diet practice where agar or kanten, as it is called in Japan, are eaten as snacks. This is supposed to deal with hunger pangs and make you feel full without adding extra calories.
Alternatives To Trolli Gummy Worms
The perfect vegan alternatives to Trolli Gummy Worms do not have gelatin and milk-derived chemicals like sodium lactate and lactic acid. But this information can be hard to find. That is why we have made a list of the popular and best alternatives to Trolli Gummy Worms.
Not all the alternatives are in the same shape or color as Trolli Gummy Worms. But they still provide a great option as they are different varieties of vegan gummy candies. Until more candy makers start looking at vegan alternatives, this is the best we have to offer.
Surf Sweets Organic Fruity Beer
Surf Sweets are a great manufacturer of vegan-friendly sweets. The company makes 12 varieties of vegan candies. All of these candies are marked as vegan safe as well.
Not only are these candies vegan, but they are also 96% organic. These tasty treats are also entirely free of the most common allergens.
Surf Sweets Vegan collection has a delightful sweet tasty in various fruit flavors.
Trader Joe’s Gummy Lobsters
These wonderfully weird-looking candies are another excellent alternative for vegans. These vegan candies are available all across the country and are sold by Trader Joe’s. The gummy candies are shaped and colored just like lobsters. They look adorable.
While the Lobsters were part of the Scandinavian Swimmers range of sweets, only the lobsters are still in the market.
They have a more subtle taste than most gummy candies. The taste of berries comes through and doesn’t feel like a cheap synthetic berry flavor. Plus, they have a great sour taste to them.
It’s not just the Red Gummy Lobsters, though. Trader Joe’s has an entire range of plant-based vegan candies. You have vegan gummy candies available for all occasions.
Sour Patch Kids
While some products are made with being vegan-friendly in mind, others often are vegan-friendly entirely by accident. One such vegan safe candy is Sour Patch Kids.
Sour Patch Kids are a cultural icon as much as they are a brand of candy. And they are entirely free of gelatin and any other animal products.
Their famous sour taste, along with their ridiculous shapes (which look like my attempts at art at a young age), has made them popular all over the country and world.
They hit you with an extremely sour taste and then rapidly give way to a sweeter sensation. No wonder they were used in pranks so often!
Annie’s Organic Bunny Fruit Snacks
Annie’s vegan safe candies come in colorful packs and multiple fruity flavors. These candies are entirely organic. More importantly, they are healthy.
You see, they are made from fruit juice and are a great source of vitamin C for kids and adults.
These candies are organic as well.
Trolli Gummy Worms are not vegan, and neither are most other gummy candies. Thankfully, there are new organic, vegan gummy candies these days.
These candies are free from gelatin, an animal product, and instead use agar, a plant-based product. These vegan alternatives are just as good, and they’re even healthier than the non-vegan options. So go out, grab a packet and have a great time with these fun, chewy, and vegan snacks.