Mike and Ike candies, the classic, chewy, and fruit-flavored treats we all know and love, have been satisfying our sweet tooth for decades. These small, oblong candies come in various flavors and colors, making them a favorite for many.
They are marked as fat-free, gluten-free, and Kosher, but a question often arises among conscious consumers: are they vegan-friendly?
Answer: It depends – the main ingredients that could cause concern in Mike and Ike candies for vegans are “Confectioners Glaze” and the food colorings used.
Let’s dive in to discern whether these popular candies align with a vegan lifestyle.
Mike and Ikes Ingredients
- Corn Syrup
- Modified Food Starch
- Citric Acid (less than 0.5%)
- Malic Acid (less than 0.5%)
- Fumaric Acid (less than 0.5%)
- Sodium Citrate (less than 0.5%)
- Natural and Artificial Flavors (less than 0.5%)
- Dextrin (less than 0.5%)
- Confectioners Glaze (less than 0.5%)
- Carnauba Wax (less than 0.5%)
- Medium Chain Triglycerides (less than 0.5%)
- Red #40 (less than 0.5%)
- Yellow #6 (less than 0.5%)
- Yellow #5 (Tartrazine) (less than 0.5%)
- Blue #1 (less than 0.5%)
Confectioners Glaze, also known as shellac gives candies a bright, shiny appearance and helps prevent them from sticking together.
The source of Confectioners’ Glaze is what raises concerns for vegans. This ingredient is derived from the secretions of the female lac bug (Kerria lacca). These insects, native to forests in Thailand and India, secrete a resin to form a tunnel-like tube as they move along the branches of host trees.
This resin is scraped off the tree branches and processed to create shellac flakes, which are then dissolved in ethanol to produce liquid shellac or Confectioners’ Glaze.
While Confectioners’ Glaze is considered safe for general consumption, it is not vegan because it originates from an insect. For strict vegans who avoid all animal products, including those that involve insects in their production processes, candies coated with Confectioners’ Glaze would not be acceptable.
The other potential issue lies with the artificial colorings (Red #40, Yellow #6, Yellow #5 (Tartrazine), Blue #1).
Some artificial colors are tested on animals and may therefore not be considered vegan-friendly by all vegans. Additionally, some artificial colors were historically made from coal tar or petroleum, but this information isn’t specified in the ingredient list.
There’s no explicit mention of animal-derived ingredients, and allergen information doesn’t include any of the top 9 allergens (Milk, Eggs, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Fish, Shellfish, Soy, Wheat, Sesame) that could potentially be animal-derived.
Since veganism can be interpreted differently by different individuals, it’s important to decide which ingredients you’re personally comfortable with consuming.
If you want a definitive answer, it might be best to contact the company directly for more detailed information about their production processes and sources of ingredients.