Are Twizzlers Vegan?

Vegan Twizzlers

Most vegans, like non-vegans, love their sweets. For Twizzler lovers, that begs the question: “Are Twizzlers Vegan?

What’s Inside?

Twizzlers are an immensely popular American licorice-like candy brand. Licorice is derived from the root that gives the original black licorice its flavor. It’s usually sold as red licorice or black licorice. However, Twizzlers today no longer have the licorice part present.

This means it doesn’t have any licorice extract or root. Nevertheless, the non-licorice flavors actually add to their popularity. Twizzlers are available in a variety of shapes and flavors with the most popular flavor being strawberry. Other flavors include Cherry Twists, Chocolate Twists, Pull ‘n’ Peel, among others.

Ingredients listed on Twizzlers packaging are:

  • Artificial flavor
  • Corn syrup
  • Artificial color (reg 40)
  • Citric acid
  • Cornstarch
  • Glycerin
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Soy lecithin
  • Palm oil
  • Potassium sorbate
  • Wheat flour

The ingredients listed above are for the strawberry flavor. From the list above, there are no clear ingredients from animals, such as gelatin. Gelatin is common in other types of candy. But, does that make Twizzlers vegan?

Are They Vegan?

The short answer? Yes. Twizzlers are vegan.

This is because they technically, do not contain any gelatin.

However, Twizzlers may not actually be 100% vegan. One potentially non-vegan ingredient found in Twizzlers is glycerin.

Glycerin is a by-product of soap manufacture. And it mostly utilizes animal fat. However, Hershey maintains that the glycerin they use is made from different vegetable oils.

Additionally, the red color that gives Twizzlers their red look isn’t derived from carmine. Instead, the red color used is the red dye #40 is synthetically made. It’s not made from insects. However, there are vegans who don’t consider them to be vegan because they are sometimes tested on animals.

Another ingredient that is always a subject of debate is sugar. Some of the sugar made in the United States isn’t vegan as it’s made from bone char. While Hershey’s doesn’t categorically say the exact type of sugar they use, it leaves room for questions. And because candy-making companies make candy in large-scale, they need a lot of sugar. Therefore, there is a high likelihood that they get their sugar from different suppliers. And therein lies the problem as there’s a high chance that some of the sugar they get is made from bone char.

Another bone of contention is the use of palm oil. Palm oil is largely plant based. However, most vegans don’t use it because it’s driving deforestation and leading to the extinction of animal habitats.

That said, though considered vegan, Twizzlers may not be every vegan’s cup of tea. Choosing to take Twizzlers all comes down to your personal choice and views on the ingredients used.

Vegan Alternatives

Vegan Twizzlers
Evan-Amos / Public domain

Twizzlers may be suitable for vegans. However, if you have any reservations about the some of the ingredients used, below are some other alternatives you can consider:

Choosing to take Twizzlers all boils down to your personal preference. While there are no clear ingredients made from animals, some vegans will stick have an issue with some of the listed ingredients. And so, while Twizzlers are about 99.9 percent vegan, not all vegans will consume them.


Marion is a Kenya-based freelance writer who covers a wide range of topics from politics and business to health and nutrition.

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