Are Lemonheads Vegan?


are Lemonhead vegan

Lemonhead is an American brand of candy produced by Ferrara Candy Company in 1962. These are original lemon candies that are round with a sweet and sour shell and a hard candy core. Few other fruit-flavored candies are cherry heads, apple heads, etc. but “Lemonheads” is often synonymous with the original lemon flavor.

One of the questions that arise is, are these Lemonheads vegan? So the answer to this is that some people consider them as a vegan while the rest of the people consider them as non-vegan.

 

This is because the making of most of the candies requires a food additive known as confectioner’s glaze, which is made from the substance secreted from female lac bugs called sticklac. But many other varieties are free of this confectioner’s glaze and so are considered as a vegan.

A Note On Confectioner’s Glaze

Confectioner’s glaze, also known as “shellac,” is used by many candy manufacturers to give a “shiny sheen” to their finished products. Confectioner’s glaze is not derived not from an animal part but is a resin excreted by female lac bugs as they traverse tree branches. It’s mostly tree sap which these bugs consume and then secrete the sticklac. This sticklac is left on the tree branches where the bugs make cocoon-like structures. From here, the sticklac is harvested, filtered, heated, and purified to be further used in various food products.

I’ve heard arguments regarding both sides whether vegan friendly or not. Individuals who express it’s alright to eat confectioners coat guarantee that it’s odd to state you can chop down trees and scratch the substance off the branches to process the trees into building material. However, you can’t just scratch the substance off the trees and use it.

They also say that this substance is widely used to coat apple produce, which accounts for the shiny look on the apples you’ll see in supermarkets. Others are of the view that it as a non-vegan ingredient because it’s so similar to using beeswax which is considered as non-vegan by most of the people

I personally tend to fall into the latter camp. Because there is a cultivation process that uses bugs to produce this ingredient. It is estimated that to make one kilogram (2.2 lb) of shellac 50,000 to 300,000 lac bugs are used. To remove the tree barks and the dead bugs, the sticklac is filtered after scraping off of branches. Many of the bugs get killed during the scrapping process only.

Most of the ingredients, like mono and diglycerides and lactic acid, can be acquired from non-animal sources also, so they are not that controversial. However, shellac is ALWAYS animal-derived. So personally, it’s an ultimate choice.

I’m just here to present the information, so I’ll list out the ingredients and their alternative for those people who want to avoid confectioner’s glaze.

Lemonheads (Original)-Basic Ingredients (Largely Vegan-Friendly)

Following are the ingredients of applehead

  • Sugar
  • Corn Syrup
  • Citric Acid
  • Lemon Juice from Concentrate
  • Confectioner’s Glaze (Shellac)
  • Natural and Artificial Flavor
  • Acacia (Gum Arabic)
  • Modified Food Starch (Corn)
  • Carnauba Wax
  • Yellow 5
  • White mineral oil

Apple heads

Following are the ingredients of applehead

  • Sugar
  • Corn Syrup
  • Citric Acid
  • Confectioner’s Glaze (Shellac)
  • Artificial Flavor
  • Acacia (Gum Arabic)
  • Modified Food Starch (Corn)
  • Apple Juice Concentrate
  • Carnauba Wax
  • Yellow 5
  • White Mineral Oil
  • Blue 1

Grapeheads

Following are the ingredients of grape head

  • Sucrose
  • Corn Syrup
  • Citric Acid
  • Confectioner’s Glaze (Shellac)
  • Natural and Artificial Flavor
  • Acacia (Gum Arabic)
  • Apple Juice Concentrate
  • Carnauba Wax
  • Blue 2
  • Red 40
  • Blue 1

Are Chewy Lemonheads Vegan?

This is a question that is frequently asked by many people. Chewy Lemonheads are vegan, just like the original hard candies. If a candy product is chewy, it is usually thought that it has some animal origin substance in it. This is because a large number of non-vegan ingredients are used to achieve a chewy texture such as gelatin and egg whites. However, the chewiness of candies is not related to any of the above-mentioned ingredients. Instead, they use other additives like gum Arabic which is totally vegan friendly. Gum Arabic is a food additive that has many uses such as an emulsifier, stabilizer, thickening agent, used in icing and fillings too. It is also used in soft drinks as a binder for sweeteners and flavors. It provides a smooth texture by preventing sugar from crystallizing.

  1. Chewy Lemonheads (mixed flavors):

Following are the ingredients:

  • Sucrose
  • Corn Syrup
  • Modified Food Starch
  • Lemon Juice from Concentrate
  • Fumaric Acid
  • Adipic Acid
  • Malic Acid
  • Citric Acid
  • Confectioner’s Glaze
  • Lactic Acid
  • Natural and Artificial Flavor
  • Gum Arabic
  • Sodium Citrate
  • Carnauba Wax
  • Color Added
  • Red 40
  • Yellow 6
  • Yellow 5
  • Blue 1 and Blue 2

A Note on Lactic Acid

This is one of the above-mentioned ingredients in the chewy version of the candy. Many vegans consider it a grey area for them, and it is also mentioned in the ingredient list of PETA. It is an organic acid acquired from animals, found in milk, blood, and muscle. On a commercial level, it is produced from precursors of crude oil and coal by chemical synthesis or even by the fermentation process of simple sugars by bacteria. In this process, lactic acid bacteria convert sugars like galactose, glucose, and sucrose to lactic acid.

If the source of galactose is vegetables like beets or no galactose is used, it can totally be vegan friendly. When LA is listed as an ingredient in PETA’s list, it does not mean that the product is not suitable for vegans. I’m mentioning it here in case you want to be extra careful in avoiding ingredients that may be of animal origin.

A Note on Food Coloring

Red 40 is a food color that is frequently confused with Red 4 or carmine, which is also a food colorant and is made from the beetles. Whereas Red 40 or Allura red is a petroleum-derived product, so it is completely vegan-friendly. It can also be derived from strawberries. Yellow 5 (tartrazine) and Yellow 6 (Sunset Yellow), another food colorant, like Red 40, are generally considered vegan, as they’re produced synthetically from petroleum. They may be considered non-vegan by some people as they are tested on animals. But, the vegan community at large does not consider food coloring agents that are non-animal-derived to be problematic.

They’re present everywhere and maybe in a number of things you’re currently consuming. If you would like to avoid food coloring agents totally, you should stay away from most candy or just consume vegan chocolate.

  1. Lemonhead Twists: The 100% Vegan-Friendly Alternative

These are an alternative to the original Lemonheads because the texture and appearance of these candies are quite different from the original candies. But, the taste of these candies is really good.

Following are the ingredients for Lemonhead Twists:

  • Corn Syrup
  • Sugar
  • Modified Food Starch (Corn)
  • Cornstarch
  • Tartaric Acid
  • Lactic Acid
  • Sodium Lactate
  • Natural and Artificial Flavors
  • Yellow 5
  • Red 40
  • Blue 1

Thank you so much for reading.

References

  1. Flinn, Angel. “Shellac and Food Glaze” http://gentleworld.org/shellac-food-glaze/
  2. Shellac, WoodworkDetails.com: Shellac as a Woodworking Finish. http://www.woodworkdetails.com/knowledge/finishing/shellac
  3. Bangali Baboo; D. N. Goswami (2010). Processing, Chemistry, and Application of Lac. New Delhi, India: Chandu Press. p. 4.
  4. Yacoubou, Jeanne (30 November 2010). “Q & A on Shellac.” Vegetarian Resource Group. http://www.vrg.org/blog/2010/11/30/q-a-on-shellac/
  5. Velji, Vijay (2010). “Shellac Origins and Manufacture.” shellacfinishes.com. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQcQ0yuekZ0&t=5m23s
  6. Lemonhead Candy. https://www.ferraracandyshopusa.com/brands/lemonhead.html
  7. Ferrara Candy Applehead Apple Candy, 0.8 oz. https://www.walmart.com/ip/Ferrara-Candy-Applehead-Apple-Candy-0-8-oz/130443266
  8. Lemonhead, Grapehead Chewy Candy Grape Flavor, 0.8oz. https://www.walmart.com/ip/Lemonhead-Grapehead-Chewy-Candy-Grape-Flavor-0-8oz-Box-of-24/381430313
  9. Laura Halpin Rinsky; Glenn Rinsky (2009). The Pastry Chef’s Companion: A Comprehensive Resource Guide for the Baking and Pastry Professional. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons. pp. 1, 134. ISBN 0-470-00955-1. OCLC 173182689
  10. McEachran, Rich (16 August 2013). “Gum arabic: the invisible ingredient in soft drink supply chains”. The Guardian. Archived from the original on 15 March 2018.
  11. Ferrara Pan Lemonhead & Friends Chewy Assorted Flavors Candies. https://www.walmart.com/ip/Ferrara-Pan-Lemonhead-Friends-Chewy-Assorted-Flavors-Candies-6-Oz/23704257
  12. Animal-derived Ingredients Resource | Living. https://www.peta.org/living/food/animal-ingredients-list/
  13. H. Benninga (1990): “A History of Lactic Acid Making: A Chapter in the History of Biotechnology”. Volume 11 of Chemists and Chemistry. Springer, ISBN 0792306252, 9780792306252
  14. Galactose. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galactose#Sources
  15. Potera, C., 2010. Diet and nutrition: the artificial food dye blues. Environ Health Perspect. 118 (10), A428–A431.
  16. Bug-Based Food Dye Should Be Exterminated, Says CSPI. https://cspinet.org/news/bug-based-food-dye-should-be-exterminated-says-cspi-20060501
  17. Lemonhead Twist – 6 Oz. https://www.roundeyesupply.com/Lemonhead-Twist-6-Oz-p/de679731.htm

 

Recent Content