Are Junior Mints Vegan? What’s Inside America’s Favorite Mint Candy?

Are Junior Mints vegan?

Made by the legendary Tootsie Roll Industries, Junior Mints are probably the most exciting way to enjoy the fresh mint flavor. These small round candies are coated by dark chocolate on the outside. The savory inside houses a delicious mint filling. The statistics on Wikipedia boast of 15 million Junior Mints being made by the company every single day!

The thought of Junior Mints might make you rejoice the light green taste on your palate, but are Junior Mints vegan? Well, different varieties of Junior Mints have different compositions. Some varieties of Junior Mints are vegan while some are not. Let’s have a look at the various Junior Mints found in America.

All Junior Mints are not vegan

Veganism is the need of the hour. This essential lifestyle requires you to consume only those products which do not cause animal-cruelty. Vegans also choose to consume only those products which do not cause environmental damage and are ethically sound. 

The fundamentals of veganism involve avoidance of the consumption of meat, eggs, and dairy. Broader aspects of veganism also include tangible non-edible products made with animal-cruelty. Strict vegans don’t consume any product that has the slightest tinge of unfairness to animals. 

We have explained all the varieties of Junior Mints considering all these aspects of Veganism. 

Junior Mints Original and Junior Mints Mini may not be vegan

Box of Junior Mints

You are probably used to coming across information like this. Many of the seemingly innocent snacks turn out non-vegan. Junior Mints Original and Junior Mints Minis are two such unexpectedly non-vegan products. 

The fundamental ingredients of both these candies are similar. The sweet chocolate coating is dairy-free and the other ingredients include corn syrup, peppermint oil, invertase, and modified food starch. 

The one obvious non-vegan constituent of these candies is confectioner’s glaze. This is because confectioner’s glaze is a product derived from certain lac insects. All these insects get killed in the process of collecting this glaze for industrial use.

The lac secreted by these insects is collected from a tree, but since insects are harmed in the production of this substance, the confectioner’s glaze is considered non-vegan.

Although, vegans differ in their opinion about confectioner’s glaze. Some people don’t consider insects as animals so the killing of these insects is not animal-cruelty for them. Others ascertain that the sacrifice of any life for human greed is animal-cruelty. 

Confectioner’s glaze is present in many foods, especially cakes and candies. This product is used to render the foods an attractive shine and appeal. If you are okay with the consumption of substances derived from insects, you may as well consume Junior Mints Original and Mini candies. 

Junior Mints also contain certain problematic ingredients that strict vegans tend to avoid. These ingredients are sugar and invertase.

Junior Mints Deluxe is not vegan 

This variety of Junior Mints contains dairy milk. Vegans do not consume dairy products. Some vegans may have a different opinion, but there is nothing like milk consuming vegans. Vegetarians can consume milk, but not vegans.

Milk, along with meat and eggs is the key ingredient vegans avoid in their diet. Dairy is a large capitalist industry that makes profits out of animal exploitation. Cows do not produce milk for us. Their milk is meant for their calves.

Humans bereft the calves of their right to their mother’s milk. The male calves are often abandoned or killed for their meat because they are of no apparent use to the dairy industry. The cows are administered artificial hormones so that they produce more quantities of milk. This often harms their overall health.

One extremely dark side of the dairy industry is the killing or abandoning of the cows once they stop producing milk. There is no way dairy can be included in a vegan diet. Vegans avoid all products derived from dairy.

Controversial ingredients like sugar, palm oil, and invertase enzyme are other controversial ingredients present in Junior Mints Deluxe. 

Junior Caramels is not vegan 

With the vast array of dairy-derived ingredients, there is no way Junior Caramels can be vegan. Junior Caramels contain milk chocolate, dry whole milk, and whey. Apart from this, they also contain confectioner’s glaze, natural flavors, sugar, soy lecithin, and palm oil.

You should consider the problematic ingredients present in Junior Mints 

Ingredients like sugar, palm oil, soy lecithin, natural flavors, and invertase enzyme are present in one or the other variety of Junior Mints. It is important to assess which of these constituents should influence your decision to go further with a vegan product. 

Processed sugar is a debatable topic amongst vegans 

A large portion of the sugar in North America is filtered using bone char. This step in the production of sugar makes many vegans abandon sugar altogether. This is because bone char is made by burning bones of cows and pigs at high temperatures in combustion chambers. 

No animals are indeed killed to make bone char. Bones of dead animals are utilized in the process. It is important for some vegans to not indulge in any product that involves the use of animal substances. This is why sugar is a debatable topic amongst vegans. 

It is worthwhile mentioning here that a large portion of sugar in America is also obtained from beet and coconut instead. The beet and coconut-derived sugar is naturally white and doesn’t need bleaching like cane sugar. 

A significant quantity of sugar in America is also bleached using granular activated carbon. Since you never know for certain whether the sugar you are avoiding has been bleached with bone char or not, there is less practicality in avoiding all sugar.

Vegans should consume sugar without worrying about how it was filtered in the factory. 

Palm oil is environmentally and ethically disastrous

Palm oil cultivation has wreaked havoc in the tropical rainforests where a significant number of trees have been cut down for capitalist plantation grounds. The large scale deforestation and the eventual release of methane gas pollutants from these plantations have brought about a sharp spike in the greenhouse effect and the consequent global warming. 

The felling of forests has resulted in habitat loss for a huge population of animals. Palm oil cultivation is the sole reason for the endangerment and extinction of many animal species. 

A significant variety of endemic plants and trees have been permanently lost to the wrath of these plantations. The use of palm oil is a contributor to animal endangerment and environmental damage. Not only this but the workers employed in these plantations are also bonded by cruel and inhumane contracts that don’t sustain the fundamental criteria of their living. 

Animals, plants, and human beings are all exploited in these plantations. There is no reason for vegans to keep consuming palm oil. 

Soy lecithin is often derived from animals 

It is possible to obtain soy lecithin from soy and sunflowers, but large manufacturers often obtain soy lecithin from animals. It is worrying for vegans when the source of lecithin hasn’t been mentioned. 

Vegans must confirm the source of their ingredients from the producers to avoid the confusion. Until that information is known, vegans should trust the ingredients listed on the product. 

Natural flavors may at times be obtained from animals 

Manufacturers can obtain natural flavors from animal-based sources, even when the product is fruit-flavored, or mint-flavored. The FDA allows the obtaining of natural flavors from all plant and animal-based edible sources. 

Vegans often choose to not consume products with natural flavors listed on them until the actual source has been clarified by the manufacturer. Vegans should consider questioning the producers regarding the source of their natural flavors so that they can consume those products guilt-free. 

Invertase may at times be derived from bees 

The invertase enzyme used in Junior Mints candy may be derived from bees that synthesize this enzyme naturally. Manufacturers either obtain this enzyme from yeast or honey bees. 

Since bees are animals and the killing of bees for obtaining a product is animal-cruelty, invertase enzyme may not be acceptable in a vegan diet. 

Vegans should ask the manufacturers to specify the source of such enzymes used as ingredients.

So Are Junior Mints Vegan?

Or Are Junior Mints another candy vegans should stay away from? Technically, Junior Mints are not vegan. With ingredients like dairy and confectioner’s glaze, there is no way vegans can consume this candy.

However, there are vegan alternatives to Junior Mints that are just as delicious and addictive. 

Try out Free2b Dark chocolate Mint Cups. 

These mouth-watering mint cups are made out of simple vegan ingredients like cocoa mass and cocoa butter. Even the sugar used in this product is organic. 

Another vegan alternative is Divine Chocolate 70% Mint Dark Chocolate Bar

Made with simple and vegan ingredients, this is another treat for your sweet vegan tooth. Divine Mint Chocolate brings you mint enveloped in heart-warming dark chocolate so you never miss out on good things with your cruelty-free choices.  

Joe became a vegan after watching Cowspiracy. He always knew something was off with the way we consume animal products, but watching the documentary made him realized how bad it actually is. Joe is now making sure that every product he buys is 100% vegan!