As kids, we all have had Salt Water Taffy. If you are following a vegan diet, you may be wondering, is Salt Water Taffy vegan?
Sadly, most Salt Water Taffy products are not vegan. Like other candies, Taffy can be vegan, but most of the time, it contains dairy and animal products, such as butter and gelatin, that are indeed not vegan.
This article will provide an in-depth view of Salt Water Taffy and its vegan status.
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Salt Water Taffy
Taffy is a candy that takes you back to the seashore. As Taffy originated at the beach, many people believe it contains seawater. Well, this particular belief is far from the truth. This chewy candy is made by pulling or stretching a sticky mixture of colorings, flavors, vegetable oil, butter, and boiled sugar.
Salt Water Taffy is usually fruit-flavored and pastel-colored, but there are several other flavors available as well, such as classic unflavored taffy and molasses.
What Makes Salt Water Taffy Unique?
If you witness taffy being made, we are sure you will be amazed by the pulling process. The pulling process is one of the most fascinating and crucial parts of making this candy. This process is one of the main reasons taffy has a unique texture compared to other chewy candies.
In the pulling process, taffy is pulled out and then folded back on itself, which captures all the tiny air bubbles to provide a fluffy and light texture. This process is repeated again and again until the candy achieves the right texture and consistency.
If you love Salt Water Taffy and consume it regularly, you might want to cut it back.
First, this candy contains several dairy and animal products. On top of that, most Taffy ingredients are not cruelty-free, meaning they have been tested on different animals.
Second, Salt Water Taffy is loaded with sugar. This candy is made by pulling boiled sugar and other ingredients, and it can cause several sugar-related issues. Other than sugar, this candy contains up to 10% saturated fat and 22g of carbohydrates.
In addition, Taffy does not offer any dietary fibers, protein, iron, or other essential nutrients.
To understand the vegan status of Taffy, it’s important to learn about its ingredients. Salt Water Taffy contains fat, flavorings, glucose syrup, and sugar. In addition to these primary ingredients, some flavors also contain dairy and animal products, such as:
Butter is one of the most common ingredients in Salt Water Taffy. Most Taffy flavors contain butter and vegetable oils and coloring and flavorings that offer a fluffy, light end product.
Margarine is the best alternative to butter, as it is 100% plant-based and has a low melting point. However, it’s possible that “organic” and “natural” Taffy makers would likely use real butter.
The actual definition of veganism is avoiding animal products and by-products. By nature, palm oil is vegan-friendly. However, it is not cruelty-free because harvesting palm has resulted in the death of many animals.
The demand for palm oil is rising, so greedy producers destroy peatlands and forests to develop more plantations. Due to this practice, several animal species, such as orangutans and Sumatran tigers, face extinction.
However, this isn’t an issue for some vegans because palm oil is not an animal product. But most strict vegans avoid consuming products that are linked with animal cruelty.
Artificial Flavors and Colors
In general, artificial colors are synthetic products made of fossil fuels. As these ingredients are not animal-based, most people think they are vegan. Unfortunately, it’s not true. Due to safety reasons, artificial colors are typically tested on dogs, mice, and rats to see their side effects.
In comparison, we don’t recommend consuming artificial flavors either because determining the origin of your selected ingredient is quite tricky. As thousands of brands are available out there, it is nearly impossible to identify vegan-friendly artificial flavors.
Gelatin and Egg
Not many Taffy products contain egg and gelatin, but it’s important to remember that Taffy is an aerated candy. Many aerated candies contain high-fructose corn syrup, gelatin, egg whites, and chemical aerators.
Any time a candy features a gummy texture, it must be considered a red flag. Most brands use gelling agents to achieve a chewy texture. While some gelling agents are vegan, such as veggie gums, pectin, starch, and more, others like egg whites and gelatin are not.
Gelatin is generally used in bakery products to add elasticity, stability, and air to gummy candies. In addition, this ingredient is used to bind and soften chewable treats such as taffy and caramels.
For strict vegans, sugar has been a problem of the divine eternity. This is because it is nearly impossible to find sugar that is not filtered by bone char. Bone char is an animal product derived from burning animals’ bones at high temperatures.
Bone char is an effective filtration substance. It can absorb all the impurities found in unrefined sugar to achieve white coloration. Filtering cane sugar is crucial because it’s esthetically unpleasant and initially brown.
It’s important to note that bone char is not derived from “killing the animals.” Instead, this substance is made by burning the bones of animals that are already dead. You should also know that this substance is not directly passed into the finally refined cane sugar.
However, strict vegans don’t consume any product that is associated with animals. So, to eliminate the guilt, they try to avoid sugar altogether and stick with vegan sweeteners.
Milk is not suitable for vegans. As various taffy flavors contain milk, they are a no-no for most vegans unless you are a lacto-vegetarian. It is important here to distinguish between caramel and Taffy. Most people out there think that Taffy and caramel are the same, which is not valid.
The main difference between both of these gummy candies is their primary ingredients. In the case of Taffy, the chief element is corn syrup. While some Taffy candies contain milk, almost all caramel candies have dairy products. In comparison, caramel is made out of dairy milk.
Vegan Alternatives to Salt Water Taffy
Now that we know Salt Water Taffy is not an ideal treat for vegans, the real question is, what are the best vegan alternatives to Salt Water Taffy?
Well, several vegan chewy candies are available in the market with different flavors and specifications, such as:
Mamba Fruit Chews
If you are not a strict vegan and can deal with ingredients like palm oil and sugar, this candy is a perfect choice for you. Mamba Fruit Chews is best for those who enjoy fruit-flavored variety.
Mamba Fruit Chews is made of vegan ingredients, including alpha-tocopherol, antioxidants, concentrated elderberry juice, citric acid, artificial flavors and colors, sorbitol, vegetable oil, sugar, and glucose syrup.
As you can see, there are some artificial ingredients and palm oil that are cruelty-free with all-natural ingredients. So, if you are a strict vegan, you should probably opt for another option.
Angel’s Tropical Salt Water Taffy
Angel’s Tropical Salt Water Taffy is probably the most vegan-friendly Taffy available out there. the main ingredients of this chewy candy include:
- Natural vegan flavors
- Sunflower lecithin
- Organic palm oil
- Non-bone char cane sugar
- Non-fructose corn syrup
While the list of ingredients mentioned above will surely blow your mind, this version of Taffy is known to be yummier and tastier than the traditional and original Salt Water Taffy by Atlantic City.
YumEarth Organic Chewys
YumEarth Organic Chewys is free from several allergens. Plus, this chewy candy is USDA organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, and vegan. The main ingredients of this candy are all organic, such as natural organic flavor, organic cane sugar, organic rice syrup, and organic palm oil.
YumEarth Organic Chewys is available in several flavors, including orange, strawberry, lemon, and cherry. This candy is a perfect pick for strict vegans because it is free from high fructose corn syrup, dyes, artificial flavors and colors, bone char cane sugar, and more.
Most Salt Water Taffy flavors are unsuitable for vegans because they contain dairy and animal products. However, butter, egg, and gelatin are the ingredients you should worry about most because they are directly derived from animals and dairy.
In addition, artificial colors and palm oil are also not suitable for strict vegans. Even though these ingredients are synthetic or plant-based, they are still not cruelty-free.
Plus, cane sugar is also a red flag because it is filtered with bone char – a substance derived from burning animal bones. Due to all these red flags, we suggest avoiding Salt Water Taffy and consuming the healthy alternatives mentioned above.