It is not a joke to wonder if this candy is vegan or not. Laffy Taffy is a famous brand of taffy first made in the 1970s. It was earlier sold as a flavored caramel, which was, in fact, a square-shaped Taffy in different fruit flavors.
These candies are tiny, with each one in about 45 grams or 1.5 ounces. They are sold in an extensive assortment of artificial flavors of fruits like Strawberry, Banana, Grape, Green Apple, and Blueberry.
Several vegans have been eating the tasty treats since childhood and like to find out if they can still consume them after starting a full 100% diet based on plants.
Is it vegan? The original Laffy Taffy and Laffy Taffy Ropes are vegan. In contrast, the Stretchy and Tangy varieties are considered non-vegan because of the use of egg albumin, a protein found quickly in the white portion of the egg.
Table of Contents
Vegan-Friendly Laffy Taffy Varieties
These contain sugar, corn syrup, palm oil, malic acid, mono- and diglycerides*, hydrogenated plant oils (cottonseed), salt, soy lecithin (an emulsifier) natural flavor, and artificial colors (Blue 1 and Red 40).
*Monoglycerides and diglycerides are derived from glycerin, which in turn is an element that a few vegans try not to use. It’s listed in PETA’s pages on ingredients based on animals and is likely to be derived from animals.
However, these substances may be derived from plants as well as animals and are mostly 100% vegan-friendly.
That is why foods having these ingredients are not thought of to be non-vegan by any standards.
In case you are an unusually strict vegan, you can like to shun such products.
They’re quite popular in processed food products since they help in emulsifying the ingredients, which means they help fat and water mix properly and help as surfactants also, which makes it easier to work with candies production.
These contain corn syrup, sugar, palm oil, hydrogenated cottonseed oil, mono- and diglycerides, salt, soy lecithin, yellow five*, and natural flavor.
*Laffy Taffys perhaps use natural type flavors, but they never say that they use only natural food colors. Yellows 5, which is also known as tartrazine, is classified as azo dyes, a group of food colors made from petroleum).
Hence, it’s always vegan.
Ingredients include sugar, corn syrup, palm oil, mono- and diglycerides, hydrogenated cottonseed oil, soy lecithin, salt, Red 40*, and natural flavor.6
*Red 40, also known as Allura Red, is again a class of azo dye and hence is vegan-friendly. It generally gets mistaken for Red 4, because of its same color and similar name. Red 4, also known as carmine, is a dye used in foods and is made from beetles and hence thought of as non-vegan.
Carmine is manufactured from carminic acid, which is the element that’s derived from the beetles.
Not all vegans decide not to use products like carmine, which are derived from insects. Hopefully, it is not an issue with this specific candy product.
These appear to be similar to the strawberry type, but having a separate natural flavor.
These contain corn syrup, sugar, malic acid, mono- and diglycerides, palm oil, hydrogenated cottonseed oil, natural flavor, salt, soy lecithin, and Red 40.
No carmine is used here also.
It contains corn syrup, sugar, palm oil, malic acid, mono- and diglycerides, hydrogenated plant oils (also cottonseed), salt, soy lecithin, natural flavor, Blue 1*, and Yellow 5.
*Blue 1, also known as Brilliant Blue FCF, is a natural, synthetic organic compound added as a blue dye in processed food products, medicines, supplements, and some cosmetics.
It’s not an azo dye, but it is considered vegan as it’s chemically synthesized without the use of any animals.
These contain corn syrup, sugar, malic acid, palm oil*, mono- and diglycerides, hydrogenated cottonseed oil, soy lecithin, salt, natural flavor, and Blue 1.
*Palm oil is a debated substance amongst the vegan people. Many vegan people don’t use this because of its harmful effects of cultivation.
But, in general, the mere presence of palm oil doesn’t make any food non-vegan by any standards.
Laffy Taffy Ropes (All Flavors)
These are primarily manufactured from the same ingredients; they’re simply shaped into long thin ropes in place of usual small squares.
E.g., the cherry variety has corn syrup and sugar, palm oil, malic acid, mono- and diglycerides, cottonseed oil, salt, lecithin (soy), natural flavor, and Red 40.
Therefore, we don’t have any problems here.
Non-Vegan Laffy Taffy Varieties
It is amusing to see that it’s not because of the chocolate here. Chocolate Laffy Taffys is hard to stumble upon in the market, but they are entirely vegan-friendly.
Here, it’s the Stretchy and Tangy type that contains egg albumin.
Albumen is another name for egg whites, which is the area of the egg that’s consists of water and protein.
Albumin with an “i” (Please note), on the other hand, is the real protein part of the egg white that’s taken out for use in food products.
Like gelatin, one more non-vegan element mostly used in candy making, albumin is a popular aerator that helps in getting the chewy texture of some candies.
So, anything having albumin in its list of ingredients will always be non-vegan.
That was the fact file of the vegan status of Laffy Taffy.
Thanks for reading.
You may also want to check out the following related articles:
- Laffy Taffy. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laffy_Taffy
- Grape – Laffy Taffy. https://www.laffytaffy.com/mini-grape
- Animal-derived Ingredients Resource: Living. https://www.peta.org/living/food/animal-ingredients-list/
- Banana Mini – Laffy Taffy. https://www.laffytaffy.com/mini-banana
- Yellow 5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tartrazine
- Strawberry – Laffy Taffy. https://www.laffytaffy.com/mini-strawberry
- 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
- The Great Honey Debate. https://slate.com/human-interest/2008/07/why-vegans-can-t-decide-whether-they-re-allowed-to-eat-honey.html
- Cherry – Laffy Taffy. https://www.laffytaffy.com/mini-cherry
- Sour Apple – Laffy Taffy. https://www.laffytaffy.com/mini-sour-apple
- Brilliant Blue FCF. https://iacmcolor.org/color-profile/brilliant-blue-fcf-fdc-blue-no-1/
- El Ali, Bassam M.; Bassam El Ali; Ali, Mohammad Farahat (2005). Handbook of industrial chemistry: organic chemicals. New York: McGraw-Hill. ISBN 978-0-07-141037-3.
- Wild Blue Raspberry – Laffy Taffy. https://www.laffytaffy.com/mini-blue-raspberry
- Clay, Jason (2004). World Agriculture and the Environment. p. 219. ISBN 978-1-55963-370-3.
- “Palm oil: Cooking the Climate.” Greenpeace. 8 November 2007. https://web.archive.org/web/20100410195818/http://www.greenpeace.org/international/news/palm-oil_cooking-the-climate
- “Researchers warn against high emissions from oil palm expansion in Brazil.” phys.org. 13 November 2013. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131113213852.htm
- Rosenthal, Elisabeth (31 January 2007). “Once a Dream Fuel, Palm Oil May Be an Eco-Nightmare.” The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/31/business/worldbusiness/31biofuel.html
- Ropes, Cherry – Laffy Taffy. https://www.laffytaffy.com/rope-cherry
- Cherry, Stretchy, and Tangy – Laffy Taffy. https://www.laffytaffy.com/stretchy-tangy-cherry
- Understanding Food: Principles and Preparation (Page 250). Amy Brown – Wadsworth Cengage Learning – 2011. ISBN-10: 0-538-73498-1
- Chocolates and Confections: Formula, Theory, and Technique for the Artisan Confectioner (Page 356). Peter Greweling-Ben Fink – John Wiley & Sons – 2013