The Swedes have offered two very admirable things to the world. The first is obviously the popular and chewy Swedish Fish. IKEA comes second. The American market and kids were blessed with this new unidentifiable taste in the 1950s. Swedish Fish have since remained on the top counters all around this country. As good as they taste, turning into a vegan might have you speculating specifically about this particular candy. So are Swedish Fish vegan? Or do vegan questions have to keep ending in disappointment?
This is not your time to indulge in dissatisfaction. Our research has found that Swedish Fish are vegan according to most standards. Maybe this is your time to have some candy!
What separates Swedish Fish from other comparable candies?
Although nothing else in the world tastes like the very addictive Swedish Fish. There has to be a reason why this candy is quite vegan unlike other candies with equal softness and chewy texture. There isn’t one but several reasons.
There is no gelatin in Swedish Fish
Almost all chewy candies or soft fruity candies for that matter, are known to contain gelatin. Vegans tend to presume the presence of gelatin in all such candies without even going through the list of ingredients.
Many popular candies like Starburst contain gelatin. Gelatin provides stability to the candy while increasing the elasticity of it’s material. A net content of water is bound to the candy by means of gelatin which serves to provide a fresh and natural feel in the mouth and hold all ingredients in a balanced manner. The most fundamental role of gelatin is to work as a gelling agent during candy formation.
With all such ideal requisites, gelatin seems to be inexpensible in the creation of Swedish Fish. But that is not the case.
The way some candies have utilized products like pectin and various gums, Swedish Fish utilizes carnauba wax as a binding and shining agent. This comes as a blessing for vegans who had initially regarded gelatin as an undeniable constituent of Swedish Fish.
Swedish Fish has no egg albumen
If you thought Swedish Fish couldn’t amaze you more, you are in here for a surprise. Even though Swedish Fish is a gummy aerated candy, egg albumen is not what it takes to achieve that aeration. Swedish Fish gets the requisite aeration by means of corn syrup which is considerably vegan as compared to egg albumen which is a direct non-vegan ingredient.
The absence of these peculiar non-vegan ingredients which have tremendously haunted all other comparable candies makes Swedish Fish climb high up the vegan ladder.
If you look at the complete list of ingredients of Swedish Fish, you’ll spot some constituents that many strict vegans may find problematic. Such ingredients include processed sugar, corn syrup, natural and artificial flavours, artificial colors, palm oil, and sometimes beeswax.
It is important to note that the manufacturers of Swedish Fish have been trying to phase out beeswax from the ingredients. Only the peg bag packaging of Swedish Fish that you’ll sometimes see at gas stations contains beeswax as an ingredient.
How problematic are the problematic ingredients in Swedish Fish?
Depending on how strict a vegan you are, these ingredients could be either negligible or too problematic. Some of these ingredients have animal based production processes. Others are doubted to be secretly obtained from animal sources. There are some which are indeed plant based or synthetic but have grave undeniable grave impacts on animals and the environment.
Swedish Fish contains processed sugar
Sugar is not coming off debate in the vegan community anytime soon. At least not until all sugar factories in America shift to methods other than bone char for filtering and whitening cane sugar.
Bone char is indeed a problematic substance. It is prepared from the skulls and other bones of cattle by burning them at very high temperatures in combustion chambers. The resulting material is dark, porous, and has highly absorptive properties. This material is known as bone char.
Cane sugar is brown in coloration when it is first produced. It is rendered shiny white after passing through bone char. The involvement of this particular process in the production of sugar is problematic to vegans.
Bone char is not passed as a constituent in the finally refined sugar, but its presence in sugar production renders such sugar unethical and non-vegan by strict vegan standards.
The probability of the presence of sugar filtered by other techniques is almost equivalent to the probability of having sugar filtered by bone char. You never know which batch of sugar entered the Swedish Fish you are judging in the aisle.
So you might as well pick it up and not bother about the source of sugar because you will never know. Your impact as a vegan is defined more by your efforts in reducing the direct non-vegan substances. Focus more on avoiding dairy, eggs, and meat.
Corn syrup is not perfectly vegan
Stating this fact is not meant to drive you away from Swedih Fish. Only a few things on Earth are perfectly vegan. Corn syrup hasn’t committed a tough crime.
It’s only flaw is that the corn is often genetically modified and not entirely natural. These modifications are meant to hinder pests.
We’d suggest you to not bother about such minor inscrupulencies.
You may consider these artificial coloring agents vegan at first
Swedish Fish come in a vast array of colors. Such colors are seldom, which means never produced naturally. Specific substances known as artificial colors are used to impart peculiar colors to food items. Swedish Fish employs Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, and Blue 1 as coloring agents.
Red 40 and Yellow 5 and 6 are derived from petroleum while Blue 1 is synthetically created in laboratories. Since they aren’t derived from an animal based source, you may assume all these coloring agents to be vegan.
This is not true. But it also depends on what defines vegan for you. Artificial colors are known to be harmful to human health. They have to be periodically tested on lab animals in order to ascertain their safety in human use.
While some people consider this step essential for the welfare of humanity, many vegans consider this activity brutal, unethical, and highly unacceptable. The animals subjected to toxic doses of these colors often succumb to death on the testing table. They are killed as much rapidly if they survive with adverse effects.
Animals like rats, rabbits, monkeys, and even dogs are subjected to needless pain for the sake of a few coloring agents in your food. This degree of inhumanity has forced many countries to permanently ban animal testing of foof coloring agents.
What you consider vegan and what not really depends on your own understanding.
Swedish Fish contains natural and artificial flavours
It has been specified by the FDA on numerous occasions that natural flavours may be derived from both plant and animal based sources. The trick is, we never know what enters our food as an apparent fruit flavour.
You need not worry about the natural flavours in Swedish Fish. They are plant based and as natural as flavours can be.
Swedish Fish sometimes has palm oil as an ingredient
The world is witness to the drastic consequences of uncontrolled capitalist minded palm cultivations. A series of important rainforests of our planet have been completely wiped out in order to create more space for this highly profitable business.
The reduction in green forests is visible in the rapidly rising temperatures of our planet. There has been an abundant crisis in the forest lands for many species of animals who have permanently lost their habitats and links to their food chains.
Many animals and plants have become severely endangered and the earth’s atmosphere has more methane than ever owing to the innumerable drastic effects of these plantations.
It is natural to regard the products of palm cultivation as hazards to the earth’s environment and wildlife. This is why most vegans consider palm products as non-vegan.
The peg bag packaging of Swedish Fish contains beeswax as an ingredient
Bees are an already endangered essential species of insect that have succumbed to increasing demands and pressure from humans. As a vegan, it is essential to avoid products derived from bees, be it honey, or beeswax.
Bees work hard to nurture their beehive. Our rigorous stealing practices only make them work twice as hard. Many bees get killed or are intentionally killed when their products are stolen by humans.
Some vegans may not consider products derived from bees as non-vegan and that is okay. Although most people need to understand that humans are not a superior race and everything made by nature is not meant for our benefit alone.
Are Swedish Fish vegan afterall?
Absolutely! Swedish Fish are definitely vegan by most standards. No ingredients in this candy are directly obtained from animals.
Some thought needs to be spared for the controversial ingredients, some of which could be easily classified as non-vegan because of the tremendous damage they incur to our ethics.
We need to urge all large scale producers to shift to comparatively vegan modes of manufacturing food items. Swedish Fish is quite vegan as compared to most candies. According to us, it should undoubtedly be considered vegan. And you must keep swimming. Better days are coming.