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So I asked my daughter the other day what kind of candy she wanted for the weekend and she said “I want Twizzlers!”. We are all vegan in this family and the question, “are Twizzlers vegan?” started to haunt my mind.
Twizzlers are suited for dietary vegans because they don’t contain any animal derived ingredients. Twizzlers are not suited for ethical vegans because they contains artificial colors, which is known for being tested on animals.
Below is a table showing the Twizzlers flavors I could find an its vegan status.
|Cherry and Cola flavored Twizzlers||Dietary vegan.|
|Chocolate flavored Twizzlers||Dietary vegan.|
|Cherry and Cola flavored Twizzlers||Dietary vegan.|
|Black Licorice Twizzlers||Dietary vegan.|
|Sugar-free strawberry||Dietary vegan.|
|Rainbow Flavored Twizzlers||Dietary vegan.|
|Pull-N-Peel twists||Dietary vegan.|
|Filled Twizzlers||Dietary vegan.|
|Twizzlers: Filled bites||Dietary vegan.|
|Twizzlers Twerpz||Dietary vegan.|
|Twizzlers Nibs and super nibs||Dietary vegan.|
|Twizzlers Sour Mini twists||Dietary vegan.|
|Fire Edition Twizzlers||Dietary vegan.|
|Twizzlers: Candy straws||Dietary vegan.|
|Twisted Summer Fusion||Dietary vegan.|
|Twizzlers: Bites||Dietary vegan.|
|Twizzlers: Soft bites||Dietary vegan.|
|Twizzlers Sourz||Dietary vegan.|
The crew over at CrueltyFreeReviews.com actually contacted the company and asked if Twizzlers could be considered vegan. You can read the answer here.
What are Twizzlers?
Twizzlers have a long and interesting history to them as the original version dates back to 1929. This was back in the day when it was produced by Y & S Candies Inc. and was called a licorice-type candy.
By 1977, Y & S Candies Inc. Company was purchased by the Hershey Company.
Twizzlers has since been originally manufactured in Montreal in Canada, New Mexico, and Memphis.
Now it allows other companies around the world to license Twizzlers candy under the watchful eye of the Hershey Company.
According to Wikipedia, the Hershey Company has announced that the following Twizzlers have no animal products in their recipe.
Since the range of Twizzlers covers many new variants, the ingredients will vary from flavor to flavor.
We cover the original flavor and new entries on this list to give you an idea of what’s inside.
Twizzlers flavors (Feature flavors)
Strawberry Twizzlers, Cherry Twizzlers, Black Licorice Twizzlers, Chocolate flavored Twizzlers, Cherry and Cola flavored Twizzlers (special edition).
Rainbow Flavored Twizzlers
Orange, Lemonade, Watermelon, Blue Raspberry, Grape.
Orange, Black cherry, Cherry, Cherry cola, Raspberry, Wild berry, Vanilla, Strawberry, Strawberry Blast, Fruit Punch (Grape, Cherry, Orange), Green Apple, Lemonade, Cinnamon.
Caramel Apple, Orange Cream Pop, Strawberry Smoothie, Strawberry Lemonade, Strawberries ‘n’ Creme, Sweet and Sour (Cherry kick and Citric Punch flavors), Key Lime Pie.
Twizzlers: Filled bites
Strawberry, Cherry, Sweet and Sour.
Twizzlers Sour Mini twists
Green Apple, Cherry, Lemon, Blue Raspberry.
Fire Edition Twizzlers
Twisted Summer Fusion
Rasberry, Wild berry, Lemonade.
Black Raspberry, Cherry, Strawberry.
Twizzlers: Soft bites
Cherry, Strawberry, Licorice, Watermelon.
Strawberry, Green apple, Cherry, Blue Raspberry.
Twizzlers: Candy straws
Blue Raspberry, Watermelon, Lemonade, Grape, Licorice, Orange.
Now with a product list that includes all these flavors and variants, will have some ingredient discrepancies. Surprisingly enough, the recipe sticks together pretty well.
There are actually a few ingredients that are off-course with the Twizzlers brand, so here is the main recipe they use:
Twizzlers Strawberry, Cherry
Corn Syrup, enriched wheat flour, flour, niacin, ferrous sulfate, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid, sugar, cornstarch, palm oil, salt, artificial flavor, mono-diglycerides, citric acid, potassium sorbate, artificial colors, Red #40, mineral oil, soy lecithin, glycerine.
- Chocolate flavored Twizzlers (chocolate and cocoa)
- Cherry and Cola flavored Twizzlers (yellow #6, blue #1)
- Black Licorice Twizzlers (black licorice extract, blue #1)
- Sugar-free strawberry (maltitol syrup, acesulfame potassium)
- Rainbow Flavored Twizzlers (glyceryl monostearate, blue #1, yellow #5&6)
- Pull-N-Peel twists (same as the original)
- Filled Twizzlers (modified potato starch, carrageenan)
- Twizzlers: Filled bites (pectin, carnauba wax)
- Twizzlers Twerpz (cellulose gel, sodium lactate, carrageenan, carnauba wax)
- Twizzlers Nibs and super nibs (same as the original)
- Twizzlers Sour Mini twists (malic acid, modified potato starch)
- Fire Edition Twizzlers (cinnamon extract)
- Twisted Summer Fusion (same as the original)
- Twizzlers: Bites (partially hydrogenated soybean oil)
- Twizzlers: Soft bites (riboflavin, licorice extract, carnauba wax)
- Twizzlers Sourz (tartaric acid, carnauba wax, acesulfame potassium)
- Twizzlers: Candy straws (niacin, carnauba wax)
Here are the ingredients that will no doubt be obvious for Vegans to spot. Because this product is being made at the Hershey’s Company, they are first and foremost a chocolate producing company.
Though they do make as many concessions to have a product that’s Kosher and Vegan-friendly, these ingredients are listed.
The issue of artificial colors including Red #40, Blue #1, and Yellow #5 &6 come under fire for animal exploitation.
I have to be fair in saying that no Hershey’s Twizzlers were ever tested on animals.
But some are sensitive to the issue of animal testing when these colors are mentioned.
This ingredient can’t be considered vegan since it involves animal cruelty.
This has long been a key issue for the exploitation of a plant material that causes some deforestation and animal displacement.
Much of the fuss comes from child labor that is used to harvest this wax. Haribo has been accused of using carnauba wax to keep their gummy bears shiny and from sticking together.
They were the first to be sighted for non-vegan-friendly ingredients.
No doubt that palm oil does cause deforestation and the exploitation of animals fleeing from the harvesting process. This makes palm oil not vegan-friendly.
However there is a organisation called RSPO that focus on sustainable palm oil and The Hershey Company is a RSPO member.
This means that palm oil used in Twizzlers is vegan-friendly.
Now there are some questionable ingredients that we need to cover.
To be fair, the Hershey’s Company openly expresses their definition of sugar as being all forms of sucrose-based additives. The odd part is that they don’t specifically say they aren’t using processed cane sugar.
Since they openly admit to using all forms of sucrose, it’s not a stretch that they’re using processed cane sugar. At their website, scroll down to ‘S’ and look for Sugar as an ingredient.
You can also read that lactose also falls under their umbrella term “sugar”.
So this ingredients is highly questionable.
Although citric acid is made from fruit and is a vegan ingredient in general.
China stands for a large of the export of citric acid to the US and the fruits used in China are mostly genetically modified.
The issue of GMOs is certainly a case of on-the-fence awareness, however, China doesn’t have strict guidelines for FDA approval.
If the citric acid used in Twizzlers are imported from China then there is a high chance it’s made from GMO crops.
This is an artificial sweetener that is used to replace sugar. Because of this, the only side-effect here can act as a laxative or stomach discomfort.
You’ll find this in the sugar-free version of Twizzlers along with acesulfame potassium.
Modified Potato Starch
Since this sounds at first as if this is a GMO related ingredient, it’s not. This is a process where potato starch is scientifically modified to produce an effect.
It’s used on Twizzlers to be a food thickener and adds texture to the candy.
There may be at least 50% of potato starch that was used which contains GMO-grown potatoes.
Vitamin B3 also known as Niacin is produced from vegetables and from animals.
The beef liver produces the highest amount of niacin (93%) while rice (33%) contains less than 1/3 or that.
This article shows that China is now the leading manufacturer of B3 in the world.
It would be cost-effective for their production to include animal sources to export as much as they are doing now.
Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
Soybean is a good source of protein for vegans and healthy living.
It seems that this additive may contain trans-fats.
These are increasingly a health issue with foods and can lead to heart problems later in life. Trans-fats are found in all sorts of foods but those who are trying to lead healthy lifestyles will want to avoid trans-fats altogether.
Soybeans are a common GMO crop and since Twizzlers don’t have a Non-GMO Project label, we cannot be sure it’s not made from GMOs.
Why would this be problem?
Well it’s because of the high usage of herbicide and the fact that the weeds gets more resistant over time, increasing the amount of herbicide needed.
This harms the biodiversity, environment and a noticely increase in water and air pollution.
This is a highly questionable ingredient.
If the soybeans are organic then this ingredient is 100% vegan.
Twizzlers has several types of flavors that are all reproducing fruity combinations.
The problem here is that these are specifically artificial flavors and not natural flavors. As most artificial flavors are created using chemical combinations that mimic a fruit’s essence, it’s merely a reproduced mimic.
Larger companies such as Hershey’s will no doubt use alternative animal essence to get a stronger hint of fruit flavor.
Sadly, we cannot prove they are using animal extracts. Flavors such as vanilla, strawberry, or raspberry can immediately be called into question.
As these are usually the flavors that use Castoreum, which is derived from Beavers.
Q & A
Are Twizzlers Vegetarian?
I would say that Twizzlers are not vegetarian. There are artificial colors in all the flavors and this is not a vegetarian ingredient since it’s still tested on animals.
There is also the issue that bone char may be used in the Sugar.
It’s uncertain if Hershey’s is using refined cane sugar, but if they are then this issue would also contribute to Twizzlers not being vegetarian.
Are Twizzlers Gluten-Free?
No. This product contains enriched wheat flour and flour which both contain gluten. If you’re trying to avoid gluten in your candies, Twizzlers is not a good choice.
Are Twizzlers GMO-Free?
No, they aren’t -to be exact. Two obvious clues include citric acid and modified potato starch. While the potato starch is at least 50% GMO, citric acid made in China is obviously made with GMO technology.
Are Twizzlers Healthy?
The burning question that may take forever to solve! Actually, within reason to say that Twizzlers is healthy in moderation.
The serving amount for any of the regular Twizzlers is a total of 4 pieces.
Anything more than that and you’ll be looking for trouble.
Moderation is the best advice for eating any kind of candy.
Vegan Alternative to Twizzlers
I could find any red licorice but I did find organic black licorice from YumEarth.
So did my daugther get Twizzlers for weekend candy? No she didn’t.
After I did the research I could infact say that it’s not a vegan product.
There are so many flavors of Twizzlers the closest one to beeing vegan is the sugar-free version, the only issue is the artificial color.
One great thing is that The Hershey Company uses sustainable palm oil.
If you are interested in another red licorice brand, I did a review about Red Vines that you can find here.