Taffy is a chewy candy that takes you back to the beach. Yes, because it originated at the seashore and that is where it is found the most. Peculiar beliefs are prevalent regarding the origin of Salt Water Taffy. Many people believe that Salt Water Taffy indeed contains saltwater. While this is not true, there is certainly more to know about these chewy bundles of joy.
Salt Water Taffy may be the most convenient way to experience the seaside at this time, but is Salt Water Taffy vegan? Maybe and maybe not. Sadly, most Salt Water Taffy isn’t vegan. Like most candies, Salt Water Taffy often contains questionable ingredients. The fundamental ingredients include just sugar, glucose syrup, a fat source, and flavoring. There are often additional ingredients that render this candy a non-vegan status. Sit right back, we’ll clear all your doubts regarding Salt Water Taffy.
Does Salt Water Taffy contain gelatin?
Because of the chewy texture of Salt Water Taffy, it is common for vegans to assume that it contains gelatin. Gelatin is a transparent, odorless substance often added to candies to make them soft and chewy. This is because gelatin is a gelling agent. It adds air, stability, and elasticity to chewy candies.
In case you aren’t aware, gelatin is an animal-derived substance made by boiling bones, tendons, ligaments, and skins of animals in the water. A large number of candies in the US do contain gelatin. This includes marshmallows, jelly beans, gumdrops, and even taffy.
However, this is not true in the case of Salt Water Taffy. Salt Water Taffy is an aerated candy with corn syrup as the base ingredient. It is possible to aerate candies either by physical pulling or by adding gelatin but Salt Water Taffy is aerated by physical pulling and not by gelatin.
Although vegan alternatives to gelatin aerators are readily available to manufacturers, most of them still utilize gelatin in their products. So it is understandable for vegans to worry about the potential gelatin in Salt Water Taffy.
Is egg albumen an ingredient in Salt Water Taffy?
When candy is chewy and soft, consider that it is aerated. Aeration in candies is usually achieved by three methods. It can be done by physical pulling, by the addition of gelatin, or by the incorporation of egg albumen.
Although vegan gelling and aerating agents like starch and pectin can also be utilized, gelatin and egg albumen are most commonly used by manufacturers.
Egg albumen is more commonly employed in the making of candies than you think. Many popular chewy taffy list egg whites amongst the ingredients.
Albumen is the whole water and protein content of eggs that are used in food production. This is different from egg albumin which only includes the protein content of egg whites. Eggs are not only used as a binder due to the presence of significant amounts of protein, but it is also common for eggs to be used as aerators.
Egg albumen does have the potential to make candies that much fluffy and soft but Salt Water Taffy does not contain egg albumen.
Does Salt Water Taffy contain milk?
A large variety of Taffy does contain milk. It is important here to address the difference between taffy and caramel. Many people think caramel and taffy refer to the same thing. This is not true.
Although both of them are chewy candies, the differences boil down to their fundamental ingredients. In the case of caramels, the chief ingredient is dairy milk. Caramels are made by boiling down milk. In comparison, taffy is made out of corn syrup.
Taffy is similar to caramel in texture although it is much more light, pale, and extra chewy. The mixture for taffy is more concentrated and it is either pulled physically or gelling agents are additionally incorporated for achieving aeration.
Now, milk is not present in Salt Water Taffy. Note that milk is always present in caramels.
Is it true that Salt Water Taffy contains butter?
It is possible and true. Butter or vegetable oil is added to the pulled sugary mass used to make Salt Water Taffy. While most food manufacturers use margarine instead of butter, the so-called organic Taffy makers can use real butter obtained from dairy.
Although, margarine is a cheaper and more reliable alternative most commonly used by manufacturers in other taffy.
So is Salt Water Taffy vegan?
Contrary to your expectations, the original Salt Water Taffy does not contain seawater. But it does contain butter and some other controversial ingredients. This means that the traditional Salt Water Taffy is not vegan.
The problematic ingredients in Salt Water Taffy include processed sugar, natural flavors, and palm oil.
How is the sugar in Salt Water Taffy problematic?
Sugar is often problematic for strict vegans. Many people choose to avoid any sugar in their diet because most sugar in America is filtered using bone char.
Bone char is a substance made after burning animal bones at high temperatures to attain a porous absorbing by-product. This substance effectively absorbs all impurities present in the unrefined cane sugar to render the sugar a pristine white coloration.
This step is considered essential because cane sugar is initially brown and esthetically unpleasant. It is essential to note that no animals are killed specifically to make bone char. Bone char is made out of the bones of dead animals. You should also note that bone char is not passed into the finally refined cane sugar.
Strict vegans do not want to consume any product laden with products derived from animals. To escape the guilt of consuming animal-based food, they tend to avoid processed sugar altogether.
You know why this isn’t right. A large portion of sugar in America is not whitened using bone char. It is instead bleached using granular activated carbon which works just as effectively as bone char. A large amount of sugar is also produced from beet and coconut instead. The good part is, sugar derived from beet and coconut is naturally white and does not require a bleaching process.
Since all sugar is not necessarily filtered using bone char, it isn’t right to assume that all of it is non-vegan.
How are the natural flavors in Salt Water Taffy problematic?
Salt Water Taffy comes in a variety of flavors including vanilla, maple, banana, raspberry, mint, watermelon, lemon, and red licorice. While we expect manufacturers to obtain all these flavors from their natural sources, they don’t need to do so.
According to the guidelines of the FDA, natural flavors can be obtained from both plant and animal-based edible sources. This implies natural flavors in Salt Water Taffy may be obtained from any source despite the natural fruit sources.
It is common for manufacturers to utilize a flavor extracted from the American beaver’s anal glands to enhance strawberry and raspberry flavors. Likewise, many such unexpected sources could come forth if we begin to discuss natural flavors in Salt Water Taffy.
Vegans must ask the manufacturers regarding the source of the flavors incorporated in their foods. It is not advisable to give up food items just because natural flavors are mentioned in the ingredients. It is important to analyze the source before leaving food products altogether.
Is it okay if Salt Water Taffy contains palm oil?
Palm oil is environmentally unsustainable, ethically cruel, and is also a culprit of animal exploitation and cruelty. Palm plantations have encroached upon tremendous land areas originally occupied by the tropical rainforests. Their abundant deforestation accompanied by the subsequent release of methane has spiked global warming levels worldwide.
Palm plantations are also responsible for the habitat loss of a large variety of wild animals and plants that are now almost extinct. As vegans do not tolerate animal cruelty and environmental damage, the inclusion of palm oil in a vegan diet is worrying.
You may want to consider these delicious vegan alternatives to Salt Water Taffy
While Salt Water Taffy is not vegan, that doesn’t mean vegans don’t get to taste the sea. There are incredibly vegan alternatives that taste even better than the original Salt Water Taffy.
Florida Candy Factory’s Angel Tropical Salt Water Taffy
This taffy is known for its very attractive list of ingredients, for vegans of course. They have mentioned ‘non-bone char pure cane sugar’, ‘organic sustainably sourced palm oil’, ‘sunflower lecithin’, and natural vegan flavors.
While the above list of ingredients is sure to blow any vegan’s mind, know that many people think this version is yummier than the original Salt Water Taffy.
Mamba Fruit Chews
Although this variety contains sugar, artificial colors, and palm oil, all the other ingredients are vegan-friendly. If you only avoid the typical non-vegan ingredients in your diet, this candy is perfect for you. You may want to go for the Florida Candy Factory’s Taffy if you want to cut down sugar, palm oil, and artificial colors.
Salt Water Taffy may not be vegan, at least not yet. But vegans do have a lot of other similar options to choose from.