Are Twizzlers Vegan?
Here’s Everything You Need to Know

Whether it’s movie or night or you have a craving for something licorice, long, chewy, and sweet, Twizzlers are one of the nation’s favorite licorice candies.

But are Twizzlers vegan? The answer is a little more complicated than a simple yes or no, but we have all the information you need on these twists in the article below.

Read on for all the strawberry twists and turns of the “Are Twizzlers Vegan?” saga.

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Are Twizzlers Vegan?

twizzlers for vegan

Yes, technically, Twizzlers can be considered vegan. There are no animal ingredients that we know for sure.

Though, the problem arises that there are a few ingredients that at best have a question mark next to them, and at worst, definitely aren’t vegan.

Essentially it depends on how deep down the vegan rabbit hole you want to go when seeing are twizzlers vegan.

If a simple “technically yes” was enough, then be on your way and enjoy your Twizzlers, you little scamp. Otherwise, read on.

4 Potentially Non-Vegan Ingredients In Twizzlers

First, let’s take a look at the ingredients list for the classic strawberry flavor Twizzlers:

  • Corn syrup
  • Wheat flour
  • Sugar
  • Cornstarch
  • Palm oil
  • Salt
  • Artificial flavor
  • Glycerin
  • Citric acid
  • Potassium sorbate
  • Artificial color (red 40)
  • Soy lecithin

While at first glance, the Twizzlers ingredients list might look vegan, on second glance, the licorice part gets a little more twisted.

Here’s why.

1. Sugar

There is a LOT of sugar in Twizzlers. Just four of these twists contain 19 grams of sugar, equivalent to just raw dogging five spoonfuls of the stuff. These are a no-no for any people with diabetes or those watching the waistline, but this high sugar content also poses a problem for vegans.

While some of the sugar comes from corn syrup, the rest is sourced from cane sugar. The problem here is that a worryingly large amount of white sugar is bleached using animal bone char in the refining process. It’s hard to tell if a specific sugar does or doesn’t for sure, so most more militant vegans avoid the ingredient.

2. Palm Oil

Palm oil, like mineral oil, is one of the tricky ingredients that make you examine the reason for your veganism. While it doesn’t directly have animal blood in it, it’s a plant-based ingredient, and it does have blood in its production path.

Palm oil is heavily linked to massive rainforest deforestation and has a substantial environmental impact. It has too few regulations and oversight in its practices in most of the countries it is sourced from. It displaces and endangers animals and even small rural human populations [1].

3. Artificial Colors And Flavors

There are natural colors that are animal-based such as carmine, which is made from bugs. But seeing as the majority of the artificial coloring processing methods are made in a lab, they should be vegan-friendly, right? Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as that.

Artificial colors and flavors have to go through rigorous and constant animal testing to prove they are safe for ingestion. From mice to dogs, these colors and flavors will need constant retesting for as long as they are on the market and so can’t be considered vegan.

Red 40, in particular, is made from petroleum, which is a whole other vegan issue.

4. Trans Fats

While it might not be a strictly vegan issue, I would still label the Twizzlers trans fats issue as something to note. The FDA will allow small amounts of trans fats to be rounded down to 0, making for some less than honest labels on sweets and candies.

Trans fats are the worst ingredient for you if you care about your health [2]. They simultaneously lower your good cholesterol and raise the bad. While a label might say Twizzlers contain 0 grams of trans fats, look for any ingredients that are “partially hydrogenated,” “monoglycerides,” or “diglycerides” because that means trans fats are present.

Common Non-Vegan Ingredients In Sweets To Look Out For

milk fat, carmine, gelatin

1. Gelatin 

When it comes to chewy candy, gelatin is the ingredient most vegetarians and vegans know to look out for. The lack of gelatin is probably why a lot of people think Twizzlers (and Marshmallows) are vegan.

Gelatin, which is made from the boiled skin, bone, and tendons of cows and pigs, is a protein that is not vegan, so keep an eye out for it on your candy wrappers.

2. Carmine

As mentioned above, natural colors and flavors are preferable to artificial ones, except when they aren’t vegan. Carmine, or cochineal, is a rich red raw food dye made from the crushed up beetles.

The use of red 40 instead of carmine is a good sign for some reasons but problematic for others and doesn’t mean that Twizzlers are vegan.

3. Milk Fats

Milk finds its way into everything from your favorite chips to your favorite candy. As a vegan, it’s a prominent ingredient to avoid.

However, it crops up in the strangest of places, and I’m still thrown by the unnecessary addition of animal products to my otherwise vegan-friendly candy even now.


2 Vegan Alternatives to Twizzlers

Thankfully we live in an age where it isn’t just Red Vines or Twizzlers as the only choice. While Red Vines are a little better than Twizzlers in terms of a more straightforward ingredients list, the Red Vines ingredients still feature the same problems Twizzlers do.


So, Are Twizzlers Vegan or Not?

While the ingredients list for this licorice candy might not contain any animal products, there is still a trace of blood running through these red licorice-filled twist products.

With the artificial colors being tested on animals and the high risk of bone char being used in the sugar, I wouldn’t call this licorice vegan.

There are more organic and healthy alternatives out there, though, that still serve big on flavor, without any of the guilt.

My personal favorite is the Yum Earth Organic Licorice Candy variety pack, which proudly wears its vegan label on the front of the package.

This is an important thing to note. Twizzler products don’t claim to be vegan. People have just assumed because the products don’t use carmine and gelatin that they are.

If there isn’t a V on the products label, then the company hasn’t made an effort to ensure their product is vegan, and it probably isn’t.


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Jason Hughes
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