Answer: No. Despite their slogan, Black Forest uses gelatin for their gummies, even though there are plant-based alternatives.
Black Forest is a brand known for its snacks and food items made mostly of fruits. These include their two main products, the gummies and fruit snacks.
They use fruits because of the brand’s supposed promise, “From our product to our practices, we act for the good of people and the planet.”
Naturally, from their promise, you’d assume their products are vegan. But what’s interesting is gummies are generally non-vegan. If you aren’t familiar with what gummies are made of, they typically contain gelatin—a protein produced by boiling the tendons, ligaments, and skin of animals. So, is Black Forest gummies vegan?
Unfortunately, no, it’s not. Despite their slogan, Black Forest uses gelatin for their gummies, even though there are plant-based alternatives. With that said, we suggest finding a vegan alternative.
As always, there may be some vegans here who would question the credibility of this statement. What better way to dispel your doubts than by looking at the relevant data directly, that is, the ingredients of Black Forest Gummies? But first, it might be best if we first look at the different varieties of Black Forest Gummies.
Different Varieties Of Black Forest Gummies
As stated earlier, Black Forest has two product lines: (1) Gummies and (2) Fruit Snacks. Each product line also has several subcategories. Gummies, in particular, come in three different types, namely (1) Classic, (2) Organic, and (3) Juicy. Here’s a look at the difference between each type and their corresponding products:
- Classic Gummies is the first variety from Black Forest. It comes in three forms, Bears, Worms, and Swirly Bears. Each one has the same ingredients.
- Organic Gummies are the same as the Classic variety, except their ingredients are mostly organic. It comes in four forms, Worms, Bears, Forest Critters, and Exotic Bears, all of which contain the same ingredients.
- Juice Gummies contain more fruit juice concentrates than the other two varieties, hence why it’s called juicy. It comes in two forms, Bears and Bunnies, and both products have the same ingredients.
All of these varieties are supposedly gluten-free and fat-free, though they do have to contain small traces of fats that come from a few of their ingredients.
Considering it has several varieties, you’d think one of them would be vegan, but no. They aren’t suitable for a vegan diet because of one particular ingredient.
Ingredients Of Black Forest Gummies
Though Black Forest Gummies have different varieties, most of them will have similar ingredients. With that said, here’s a look at their base ingredients:
- Beta carotene
- Carnauba wax
- Citric acid
- Coconut/sunflower oil
- Fruit juice concentrate
- Sugar/Cane sugar
- Tapioca/corn syrup
- Tapioca/potato starch
Keep in mind that these ingredients can be found directly on the website, BlackForestUSA.com, so these are legitimate as it comes from the primary source.
Let’s take a look at a brief description of each ingredient and whether they’re vegan.
Beta Carotene — VEGAN
Beta carotene is used primarily as coloring in food items, and it’s also the food coloring of Black Forest Gummies. It can be derived from plants, synthetic products, and animals. However, its non-vegan version is often only used for nutritional value, particularly its vitamin A, rather than food coloring. Since it’s used to provide Black Forest Gummies their vibrant color, it’s most likely vegan.
Carnauba Wax — VEGAN
Carnauba wax is the ingredient responsible for the shiny texture of Black Forest Gummies. It’s also what prevents the gummies from melting during production.
As it is extracted from carnauba palm, a tree grown in the northeastern states of Brazil, it should be completely vegan. Furthermore, it has no animal sources.
Citric Acid — VEGAN
Manufacturers often use citric acid to prolong the lifespan or shelf life of certain food products and drinks. It also prevents fruit-based products from turning, which is perhaps why it’s an ingredient of Black Forest Gummies—a fruit-based snack. Citric acid may also be responsible for the slightly sour taste of Black Forest Gummies. It’s completely vegan as it comes from citrus fruits like lemons.
Coconut/Sunflower Oil — VEGAN
Black Forest Gummies will always contain a specific edible oil to improve the product’s nutritional value and for baking the initial product. It can either be of the coconut oil variety or sunflower oil variety, depending on the specific product.
Regardless of its type, it should always be vegan. Coconut oil comes from the kernel or meat of the coconut, while sunflower oil is made by pressing sunflower seeds.
If you visit the BlackForestUSA.com website, you’ll find that there will always be a part in the Ingredients list that says, “Adds a trivial amount of fat.” While they don’t specify what this means, we assume it refers to how certain ingredients contain fats and therefore add to the fat content of the Gummies. Thankfully, the ingredients marked on this label are all vegan, including Carnauba Wax and Coconut/Sunflower Oil. Therefore, it’s safe to assume that the fats are vegan.
Fruit Juice Concentrate — VEGAN
One of the main selling points of Black Forest is that all its products contain real fruit juice. It even says so on the product’s label. The fruit juice comes in the form of fruit juice concentrate, and it’s what gives the Black Forest Gummies their fruity flavors and perhaps partially their color as well. Fruit juice concentrate is vegan.
As the name implies, it comes from the specific fruit it’s based on. Orange juice concentrate comes from oranges, while apple juice concentrate comes from apples.
However, it’s worth noting that while a certain ingredient may indeed come from vegan sources, there’s a possibility that the production adds animal byproducts to the mix. This statement often rings true to ingredients that contain several components, like fruit juice concentrate. Since this cannot be proven now, we’ll stick with the conclusion that the fruit concentrate they use is vegan.
Gelatin — NOT VEGAN
The main issue with Black Forest Gummies is gelatin—a common ingredient in gelatinous foods like gummy snacks. It’s the main cause of the jelly consistency of these gelled desserts. Unfortunately, it’s not vegan as it’s made by boiling the skin, tendons, bones, and ligaments of animals, particularly cows and pigs, with water.
Interestingly, despite the slogan of Black Forest on their products being good for the planet, they still choose to use gelatin rather than its vegan alternative, agar-agar.
Agar-agar can do the same thing as gelatin. It can act as the gelling and thickening agent in gummy desserts. It’s a common product in Asia, so it’s understandable why Black Forest, a US company, doesn’t use it. It comes from seaweed or algae and is processed into thin sheets, flakes, and powders.
Perhaps the main reason why Black Forest Gummies use gelatin instead of its vegan alternative, agar-agar, is because it doesn’t add flavor to the snack.
Cane Sugar — VEGAN
Sugar will most definitely be an ingredient in every Black Forest product, including their Gummies. It adds to the sweetness of the snack, which is its primary taste.
Interestingly, the brand uses cane sugar, which is completely vegan, unlike its counterparts, like brown sugar, which contains molasses, an ingredient made with bone char. So, while they did ruin the “veganness” of the product by using gelatin instead of agar-agar-, they at least made the right choice with cane sugar.
Tapioca/Corn Syrup — VEGAN
In addition to the edible oil of Black Forest Gummies, the syrup it contains may also vary between tapioca and corn syrup. Both types add flavor and sweetness to the product and improve its texture. Tapioca syrup, in particular, is a binding agent to the gummy snack. Meanwhile, corn syrup adds volume to the snack.
Fortunately, both tapioca and corn syrup is vegan. Tapioca syrup comes from either manioc or cassava, while corn syrup comes from corn.
Though some may argue that corn syrup may come from genetically modified corn, even if that’s the case, there’s no genetic modification that’ll change the fact that corn is vegan. Therefore, it will always be vegan, regardless of modification.
Tapioca/Potato Starch — VEGAN
Black Forest Gummies may also contain starch of either the tapioca or potato variety. The starch serves as the secondary thickening agent of the product, along with gelatin. It may also add nutritional value to the food, depending on the type.
Tapioca starch comes from the cassava root, while potato starch comes from the tubers of potatoes. Their production doesn’t involve the inclusion of animal byproducts.
Therefore, both types are completely vegan.
As you can see, most of its ingredients are completely vegan. The gelatin is the only problem and reason why we wouldn’t consider Black Forest Gummies vegan. But this shows that gummy snacks can be vegan, as long as you replace non-vegan ingredients with a vegan alternative, like gelatin for agar-agar.
If you’ve been a long-time consumer of Black Forest, it can be heartbreaking to know that the seemingly fruit-based product is not actually vegan. But that’s only to be expected from gummy snacks. Due to their nature, gelatin will almost always be present unless they use its vegan alternative. Hopefully, Black Forest will start replacing gelatin with agar-agar to make vegan products.