Laffy Taffy is more than a candy. It is a time machine. One bite takes you back to your childhood, whether you are old or young. True to its name, Laffy Taffy brings joy when it is opened. One just needs to hear the name to be reminded of the sweet memorable taste.
Laffy Taffy has remained amongst the most popular candies in the US for more than fifty years. You may want to indulge in more than one Laffy Taffy while reading this article, but is Laffy Taffy vegan?
Veganism brings along a series of questions everytime you think about a food item. Many beloved candies and snacks turn out non-vegan and vegans take the responsibility to avoid them.
The essence of veganism is in avoiding all animal-based products in diet and lifestyle while being environmentally conscious and maintaining your health and well being by natural means. By this criteria, all Laffy Taffy candy is not vegan. Some varieties of Laffy Taffy contain clear animal-based ingredients while others contain some controversial ingredients that strict vegans avoid.
Which varieties of Laffy Taffy are vegan?
According to the ingredients listed behind the packaging, the smaller Laffy Taffy candies have no direct animal-based ingredients. We will analyze all varieties one by one to ascertain which of them are actually vegan.
Laffy Taffy Minis is vegan by most standards
The main ingredients of this candy are corn syrup, sugar, hydrogenated cottonseed oil, malic acid, soy lecithin, palm oil, artificial colorants. While there are no direct animal-based ingredients in this product, there are many controversial ingredients that strict vegans may avoid. These are sugar, palm oil, artificial flavors, and artificial colors ( Blue 1, Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6).
Laffy Taffy Ropes is vegan too!
Laffy Taffy Ropes have almost the same ingredients as Laffy Taffy Minis. Corn syrup, palm oil, sugar, hydrogenated cottonseed oil, soy lecithin is present along with artificial colors and flavors.
Just like the Laffy Taffy Minis, Laffy Taffy Ropes contain controversial ingredients like palm oil, sugar, artificial flavors, and artificial colors.
Laffy Taffy Stretchy and Tangy is not vegan
Laffy Taffy Stretchy and Tangy have different ingredients than Laffy Taffy Minis. Along with corn syrup, malic acid, and hydrogenated coconut oil, there is egg albumen, sodium alginate, natural flavors, and artificial coloring agents.
While this variety does not have the controversial palm oil and sugar like the other varieties, it has direct animal-based ingredients like egg albumen. Natural flavors and artificial coloring agents (Red 40) are also considered problematic ingredients according to some standards. In comparison, the rare chocolate variety of Laffy Taffy is vegan.
Egg albumin refers to the protein portion of the egg that is extracted out for use as a constituent ingredient. Albumin plays a function similar to gelatin and aerates the mixture of constituents that in turn provides a soft and chewy texture to the candy.
Laffy taffy Jelly Beans are not vegan
Many varieties of Jelly Beans these days are vegan-friendly, but not the ones by Laffy Taffy. Along with other normal candy ingredients, Laffy Taffy Jelly Beans contain beeswax.
Sugar, artificial flavors, and artificial colors (Blue 1 Lake, Red 40, Red 40 Lake, Yellow 5 Lake) are also considered problematic by many vegans.
Beeswax is not acceptable in a vegan diet. Bees are animals and stealing of beeswax is animal exploitation. Bees guard their hives and are often killed by humans who mean to steal their produce.
Is Laffy Taffy not vegan if it contains controversial ingredients?
It depends upon the type of controversial ingredients present. Sugar is a controversial ingredient but avoiding sugar is not practical, so is the case with natural flavors and monoglycerides. Things get different when palm oil and artificial colors come into picture.
Palm oil is ethically unfair and environmentally unsustainable while artificial colors cause suffering to the animals they are tested upon.
Should vegans avoid sugar containing candy?
This is not really practical. One cannot avoid sugar in all foods. Be it Laffy Taffy or the simplest bland biscuit in the market. If we aim to eliminate sugar from our diet, there is hardly any mainstream food left to consume.
Even the vegan alternatives of common foods contain sugar. Vegan activists are of the opinion that if vegans avoid even the vegan alternatives of popular foods, then manufacturers will stop taking their demands seriously.
This is mainly because all sugar is not non-vegan. Even the sugar that is considered non-vegan is bleached by bone char made of dead animal bones. Animals are not routinely killed to feed the factories that produce bone char.
Bone char is a highly absorbent substance made by high temperature combustion of animal bones. Originally brown sugar is bleached by bone char to render it white. Bone char is not passed into the final refined sugar, nor is it a product of animal cruelty.
Most sugar in America is whitened by granular activated carbon these days. A large portion of all sugar is beet and coconut derived. Sugar derived from beet and coconut is naturally white.
What we mean to say is, you cannot label a product non-vegan without knowing where it comes from. The manufacturers usually aren;t aware of the bleaching methods used in factories from which they obtain their sugar. Complete eradication of sugar from diet is an extreme step and is never encouraged in veganism as long as sugar is proven to be essentially non-vegan.
According to me, vegans shouldn’t give up Laffy Taffy or any other candy for the sake of avoiding sugar.
Is it okay to consume natural flavors in candy?
As long as the producer doesn’t make the actual source of natural flavors known, there is no advantage in doubting otherwise vegan products. Vegans should constantly question the manufacturers regarding the source of their natural flavors in products that are otherwise vegan.
This is because the FDA states that natural flavors may be derived from both plant and animal-based edible sources. This includes fruits and vegetables as well as meat and eggs. It is possible for an animal-based natural flavor to be used in a fruit flavored candy. This is commonly seen in strawberry and raspberry flavors.
Animal-origin natural flavors are usually highlighted in the ingredients. It isn’t known where the natural flavors in Laffy Taffy candy have been derived from.
How problematic is the use of palm oil and palm fats?
Napalm oil is not controversial because it is derived from animals. It is indeed obtained from palm plants. Palm oil is problematic because of the destructive environmental impacts that result from its cultivation.
Large acres of tropical rainforests are cut down to plant palms in centuries old fertile forest soils. Such large scale felling of evergreen forest trees has resulted in the loss of uncountable natural resources.
A wide variety of nonrenewable flora has been felled to the ground and replaced by capitalist palm. This abundant deforestation has led to a sharp increase in the level of global warming. The greenhouse effect and the subsequent global warming are also enhanced by the peat these plants release into the soil when they die.
Peat releases methane into the atmosphere. As you know, methane gas is even more toxic than carbon dioxide in causing the greenhouse effect. Environmental degradation gravely affects the inhabitant wildlife. Many common animals in these areas have been pushed to the brink of extinction. Many are rendered homeless and destitute. This severe injustice to animal life is intolerable in veganism.
Palm oil has grave social implications for the workers that toil in their vicinity. All laborers employed in palm plantations are bonded by inhumane contracts. They are fed insufficient meals and made to work for little or nothing in harsh and cruel conditions.
Palm oil is environmentally disastrous, ethically unjust and non-vegan because its cultivation results in animal cruelty.
Many vegans do not consume palm oil and it is a fair decision looking at the immensity of its implications.
Should vegans not consume artificial colors?
Artificial colors like Blue 1, Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6 are present in Laffy Taffy candy. None of these artificial coloring agents is obtained from animals. All these colors are artificially made. Blue 1 is made artificially in the laboratory and Red 40 is obtained from petroleum. Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 are also obtained from petroleum.
This is not enough reason to classify a product as vegan. Artificial colors are notorious for being tested on innocent animals in laboratories that eventually die from their adverse effects.
According to me, substances like colors should be avoided because they directly add to animal suffering.
To conclude, Is Laffy Taffy Vegan?
Some varieties to Laffy Taffy are vegan and some are not. Laffy Taffy Stretchy Ropes and Laffy Taffy Jelly Beans are not vegan.
If you are against the consumption of palm oil, artificial colors, sugar, or natural flavors, Laffy Taffy is not a vegan candy.