Red licorice candy brought up a popular brand called Red Vines. An interesting fact is that, despite having no licorice at all, they’re referred to as red licorice. For decades, at least as far back as the early 1950s, they have been around.
Red Vines put out black twists made with real licorice.
A lot of vegans grew up eating the candy because it’s been around for so long. Thus after switching to a 100% plant-based diet, they want to know if they can continue to do so.
The question is, are they still vegan? No worries because yes, Red Vines are considered vegan. In fact, both red and black varieties are. Most food panels only list corn syrup, citric acid, artificial flavor, Red 40, and wheat flour because it’s sensed that vegans are pretty minimalistic with their ingredients.
Over here, we might go through various reasons considering why Red Vines are generally considered vegan.
Table of Contents
Why Red Vines Are Considered Vegan
Red Vines Use Vegan-Friendly Red Food Dye
When the structure of the compound isn’t found in nature or is not derived from a natural source, then that food dye is said to be artificial.
Artificial colorings can be classified as the azo dyes like Sunset Yellow (Yellow 6), Tartrazine (Yellow 5), Allura Red (Red 40), etc.
Source of these dyes are petroleum, and thus always considered vegan. It’s a fact that dyes are usually tested on animals (for carcinogenicity, etc.). The strictest of vegans would avoid petroleum-based food dyes because they’re tested on animals.
There’s another popular food dye called Red 4, or carmine, which is derived from beetles. Thus, the red food coloring issue turns out to be a point of confusion for many.
It is often used in place of Red 40, which is a bit less common in candy foods (although it’s a brighter-red pigment). Carminic acid, which is the compound derived from beetles, is its by-product.
It is sourced directly from insects with which some methods are used to produce the chemical involve animal products (e.g., fish glue, egg white, and Gelatin), even though the ingredients aren’t present in the end product.
So it’s considered non-vegan.
Red 40 can even be produced from a specific type of strawberries.
Hybrid species from the genus Fragaria, (a specific type of strawberries) are used for its production.
Red 40 seems to be the most common dye for vegans, which is used in “accidentally vegan” foods like soft drinks, cotton candy, etc . whereas carmine tends to be used in yogurt, which is already classified as a non-vegan food product.
Red Vines Don’t Contain Gelatin
Collagen, which is only found in animals—specifically, the epidermis of the skin, as well as ligaments, bones, etc. are used in the production of Gelatin.
Confections use Gelatin that demands a chewy texture and is a common aerator for this purpose in addition to other animal products like an egg.Luckily, several plant-derived substances are useful for the same.
In food science, the term “gelatinization” is used to refer to the process in which heating of plant matter is done in the presence of water. It causes the starchy content to swell up to several times its original size.
The hydrogen bonds that hold the starch together, allowing water to penetrate the starch molecules is weakened because of it. Thus, the process causes the starch molecules to swell until their peak thickness is reached.
The food to develop a gelatinous texture due to swelling and the consistency differ than it had previously.
If you jump into Red Vines, you’ll notice a wheat-like texture that’s similar to cooked noodles. That may not be the same, the reason being that wheat is only one of several ingredients used to make the candy.
Red Vines Don’t Contain Confectioner’s Glaze.
Most of the fruit candies these days make use of some kind of edible coating, which is a thin layer of edible material, such as an oil or wax (natural or petroleum-based) that serves as a barrier between gas and moisture.
There are numerous waxes which are completely vegan-friendly, but confectioner’s glaze is often used in candy making (the reason for the name it bears).
It is insect-derived and mentioned in PETA’s list of animal-derived ingredients. Thus, not all but some vegans avoid the stuff.
Confectioner’s glaze is made up f the shellac content of sticklac; a substance scraped from tree branches after they are left behind by lac bugs.
It’s obvious to consider that a lot of bugs are killed in the process of removing the sticklac from tree branches. This is then purified to remove pieces of bark and glitches, and it seems unlikely that any previously dead bugs could account for the number of bugs filtered from the crude sticklac.
Reminding that not all vegans avoid the ingredient, but it seems to be considered off-limits by most.
Here, as Red Vines don’t contain the stuff, we needn’t worry about the arguments on either side (in terms of whether or not vegans should consume confectioner’s glaze),
This is it for the vegan status of Red Vines. Thanks for reading.
- Red Vines. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Vines
- Red Vines, Jumbo Original Red Licorice Candy, 8oz. https://www.walmart.com/ip/Red-Vines-Jumbo-Original-Red-Licorice-Candy-8oz/38323325
- NATCOL, 2013. Position on the Term “Natural Colour” and the Categorisation of Food Colours.
- Kobylewski, S., Jacobson, M.F., 2010. Food Dyes. A Rainbow of Risks. Center of Science in the Public Interest (Online) http://cspinet.org/new/pdf/food-dyes-rainbow-of-risks.pdf
- Bug-Based Food Dye Should Be Exterminated, Says CSPI. https://cspinet.org/news/bug-based-food-dye-should-be-exterminated-says-cspi-20060501
- Carminic Acid https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carminic_acid
- Carmine https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carmine#Production
- Potera, C., 2010. Diet and nutrition: artificial food dye blues. Environ Health Perspect. 118 (10), A428–A431.
- Gelatin. https://www.dictionary.com/browse/gelatin