Any seasoned vegan knows that one of the hardest parts of following this lifestyle is finding candy that is safe to eat. A lot of candy, especially chewy candy, contains a surprising amount of animal products, making them unsuitable for those following a vegan diet.
But just because you are a vegan doesn’t mean that you have to have to give up your favorite sweet treats.
On your trips down the candy aisle, you have probably seen bags of Swedish Fish on the shelves. Swedish Fish are a type of chewy candy that was first introduced in the United States in the late 1950s by Swedish candy manufacturer Malaco.
In this article we will answer any questions you may have about Swedish Fish and whether they are safe for vegans to eat.
What Are Swedish Fish?
Swedish Fish are a type of chewy candy that is shaped like small fish.
Although originally created in Sweden, this chewy candy is now mainly manufactured in Turkey and Canada by a company called Mondelz International.
Swedish Fish were originally red in color and had a flavor that was exclusive to the candy, which is what made them so popular when it was first introduced.
However, they are now available in a variety of other colors and flavors, such as orange and lemon-lime.
Are Swedish Fish Vegan?
Swedish Fish are one of the rare goods available that include different combinations of ingredients depending on the particular package used.
You can find Swedish Fish in two different packagings; regular packaging and peg bag packaging.
Regular Packaging Ingredients
Modified Corn Starch, Invert Sugar, Sugar, Corn Syrup, Red 40, Natural and Artificial Flavor, White Mineral Oil, Citric Acid, and Carnauba Wax are the ingredients that are included in the regular packaging.
Peg Bag Packing
Sugar, carnauba wax, natural and artificial flavor, palm kernel oil, citric acid, modified corn starch, corn syrup, invert sugar, red 40, and beeswax are the ingredients used in the production of peg bag packaging.
When compared to regular packaging, Swedish Fish that come in a peg bag (a bag with a hole at the top, like the kind you’d find in a convenience store) contain Palm Oil and Beeswax.
Beeswax is not recognized to be vegan because it is commonly thought to be an animal-derived substance.
On the other hand, the Swedish Fish that comes in the standard packaging may be enjoyed by vegans because they do not include any animal products.
Because of this, Swedish Fish are typically vegan, but you should double-check the box to ensure that beeswax is not an ingredient.
Questionable Vegan Ingredients In Swedish Fish
Swedish Fish contains a number of ingredients that you as a vegan may or may not be comfortable with eating. This is because the ingredients may have come into contact with animal byproducts, but are not themselves made out of these products
Here are some ingredients found in Swedish Fish that you may not be comfortable eating as a vegan.
Sugar is nearly always one of the first few ingredients listed on the label of any confectionery product.
Because refined cane sugar needs to be treated with bone char in order to get the pure white hue, the vegan community is divided on whether or not sugar should be considered a vegan product.
However, because of the processing procedures that are employed, the sugar cannot be considered vegan even if it does not include any bone char particles.
In most cases, the type of sugar used is not specified on the packaging, so it is up to you to decide whether you want to eat foods containing sugar.
Palm Fat And Palm Oil
As a vegan, you may not have any issues with eating products containing palm oil as this ingredient is not made out of any animal products.
However, for some people, the issue is not what palm oil is made from but rather how it is harvested. The cultivation of palm oil has a negative influence on the environment and causes suffering to a great number of animals because of the destruction of their natural habitat.
The issue of palm oil harming the environment has got so bad that many companies are not pledging to remove this ingredient from their products in an attempt to reverse any environmental damage.
Artificial And Natural Flavorings
Natural flavors can originate from either plant or animal sources; however, the majority of natural flavors found in candy are from plant-based origins. If these flavorings have been made from animal products, then this is typically shown on the package.
Within the vegan community, there is debate over the use of certain food colorings. This is because a lot of food colorings are either tested on animals or made from animals themselves.
For the sake of this article, we will presume that all food colorings are vegan unless the coloring itself comes from an animal or insect source (e.g. Carmine).
Frequently Asked Questions
Is There Gelatin In Swedish Fish?
There is no sign of the presence of gelatin in any of the Swedish Fish items on the Mondelez website’s list of ingredients.
Do Swedish Fish Contain Gluten?
While Swedish Fish themselves do not contain any gluten, on the Mondelez website they do give a small warning.
According to the company, there is not a separate production line for each of the items that they provide.
Between each time a product is switched out on a line, Mondelez goes to great lengths to ensure that all of its manufacturing lines have been meticulously cleaned and sterilized.
When transferring from goods that include nuts to ones that do not contain nuts, for instance, these cleaning procedures are built into our safety systems to ensure that there is no carryover from allergies.
If there is even a remote possibility of contamination from another allergy, the company will mark the product as “made on equipment that processes allergens.”
As a result, there is a possibility of product contamination through cross-contact with other Mondelz products, although a very remote one. Because of this, we can say that Swedish Fish do not contain gluten.
Are Swedish Fish Kosher?
The Mondelez website states that Swedish Fish are NOT considered to be Kosher certified.
Does Swedish Fish Contain Nuts?
There are no nut products in Swedish Fish, although as was mentioned above there is a very small chance of cross-contamination on the production line.
If you are following a vegan diet but are craving something sweet and chewy, then Swedish Fish is are good choice for you.
While this candy does contain some ingredients that a few vegans may be a bit weary of eating such as sugars or artificial flavorings, overall this candy is considered to be vegan by most people.
However, you have to be careful when buying a bag of this candy, as depending on the packaging used the product may not be vegan. Make sure that you buy a regular bag and not a peg bag, as the latter contains beeswax which is unsuitable for vegans to eat.
Always check the ingredient list before buying this candy just in case.