Ring Pop is a brand of fruit-flavored lollipops which is very famous. Real Ring Pops are available from Topps, though other similar brands are also available. This lollipop product comes in the shape of a wearable plastic ring containing food jewels of giant hard candy.
It comes in a variety of flavors, but red appears to be their default color.
Are they vegan? Yes, Ring Pops are vegan. Ingredients may vary as per flavor, but all the flavors are a mixture of sugar, corn syrup, lactic acid, natural and artificial flavors, fruit juice concentrate, and synthetic food dyes, etc. and all of them are vegan-friendly.
This is true for the original Ring Pops. The brand is presently offering different variations of the original product like twisted, sour, gummies, etc. to name a few.
We will check here different reasons why these Ring Pops are considered suitable for 100% plant-based eaters.
Table of Contents
Why Ring Pops Are Considered Vegan
Processed sugar Doesn’t Render Food Products Non-Vegan
Sugar is mostly the most crucial ingredient in lollipops.
Candy manufacturers expose sugar to a lot of heat, to break their molecules to generate a sophisticated color and flavor.
Processed sugar used in many candy products, mainly in the USA, is the most critical issue for the strictest of vegans.
For your information, sugar is processed to remove impurities to create white sugar (molasses are added to white sugar to make the brown sugar).
But the method of removing impurities usually involves the use of bone char, which is a non-vegan ingredient. Animal bone char, a popular agent to refine sugar, is mainly used to decolorize and de-ash cane sugar.
It’s helpful to remove impurities in large quantities, making the Sugar white and decreasing the amount of scaling, which is required at a later stage of the refining process.
But organic sugar doesn’t use any refining agents and always has a somewhat light to dark brown color.
In totality, the vegan community may not consider the presence of non-organic sugar for qualifying such foods unsuitable for consumption.
Firstly, not all white sugar is processed with bone char as a refining agent. There are other alternatives, like activated carbon and ion-exchange resins.
Secondly, vegan-friendly organizations like PETA generally advise us not to be too strict.
It’s impractical to say that to be vegan; you have only to buy organic food products. It gives a wrong message.
In general, we should not buy non-organic sugar, but we may consume processed foods that contain non-organic sugar e.g., Oreos and candies.
Ring Pops Use Artificial Food Dyes
Some of their flavors are Twisted Berry Blast, Blue Raspberry, Cherry, Strawberry, Watermelon, and Strawberry Lemonade.
Red is the most popular color, and it’s visible in many of the flavors, as mentioned above.
Natural dyes can be problematic for vegans, as some of them may be derived from insects e.g., Red 4 or carmine, which is derived from beetles.
Carmine is a red pigment made from carminic acid, the compound that’s derived from the bugs and gives the bright reddish appearance.
It is derived from the insects, and some production processes may involve fish glue, egg white, and gelatin also.
So, it is not vegan-friendly.
But Ring Pops use Red 40, or Allura red, which is produced from petroleum or strawberries.
The cherry variety contains
- Sugar and Corn Syrup
- Buffered Lactic Acid
- Natural and Artificial Flavors
- Pear Juice Concentrate
- Red 40
Red 40 is a dark red color most common in soft drinks, children’s medications, and even confections. It’s the most commonly used dye in the USA for candies, sodas, and popsicles.
Red 3 is also popular and is used in Cherry Cola, Strawberry, Twisted Berry Blast, Twisted Citrus Craze, and Twisted Raspberry Lemonade.
Red 3 is also an azo dye and hence suitable for vegans.
Other conventional dyes in Ring Pops are – Yellow 5, Yellow 6, and Blue 1.
Yellows 5 and 6 are also considered petroleum-derived dyes.
Yellow 5 (tartrazine) and Yellow 6 (Sunset Yellow) are both azo dyes i.e., “coal tar dyes,” and hence vegan.
Blue 1, or Brilliant Blue, is not an azo dye but is vegan as it is manufactured synthetically without using animal parts.
Ring Pops Don’t Contain Non-Vegan Edible Coatings
Edible coatings are prevalent in processed foods and sometimes are also used on fresh produce to make a better visual appeal.
They provide those food products a lovely glossy finish and prevent damage and loss of moisture. Only a few edible coatings are considered non-vegan – beeswax and confectioner’s glaze.
Beeswax is non-vegan, as honey is non-vegan.
Confectioner’s glaze maybe a plant-based tree sap, but it is sucked out of the tree by lac bugs as they fly across tree branches.
Most vegan and vegetarian manufacturers consider such ingredients not suitable for vegans.
But it doesn’t matter in the case of our Ring Pops.
The original Ring Pops have no edible coating. The gummy varieties have an edible coating, but they use carnauba wax, which is vegan.
Lactic Acid Is Not the Same as Lactose
The formulations may vary as per flavor, but some ingredients are used in all flavors. Buffered lactic acid (LA) is one such type of component.
Lactose is just pure sugar in milk, so it’s considered non-vegan. In contrast, Lactic acid can be produced from lactose but usually made industrially from LA-producing bacteria or via chemical synthesis of petroleum.
Hence, it is generally believed to be vegan.
That was the fact file for the vegan status of Ring Pops. Thanks for reading.
- Candymania – Ring Pops. https://www.candymania.com/category/ring-pop/
- Lollipops. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lollipop
- McGhee, Harold (2004). On Food and Cooking. Scribner. pp. 647–712.
- Asadi, Mosen (2006). Beet-Sugar Handbook. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons. p. 333. ISBN 9780471790983.
- Chou, ed. by Chung Chi (2000). Handbook of sugar refining: a manual for the design and operation of sugar refining facilities. New York, NY [u.a.]: Wiley. pp. 368–369. ISBN 9780471183570.
- Bone Char. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bone_char
- Is Sugar Vegan? https://www.peta.org/living/food/is-sugar-vegan/
- 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
- Carminic Acid https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carminic_acid
- Potera, C., 2010. Diet and nutrition: artificial food dye blues. Environ Health Perspect. 118 (10), A428–A431.
- Ring Pop Candy Variety Party Pack, Assorted Flavor Lollipop Suckers, 20 Count. https://www.walmart.com/ip/Ring-Pop-Candy-Variety-Party-Pack-Assorted-Flavor-Lollipop-Suckers-20-Count/715193852
- 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
- Yellow 5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tartrazine
- Yellow 6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunset_Yellow_FCF