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Smarties are vegan!


I came across a hilarious meme on Facebook that shows a clown peeking up through a street sewer grate saying, "I have vegan candy."

The next few frames show a child fearlessly slipping down through the grate.

The meme is clearly a play on Stephen King's horror story "It," but it is funny for us vegans because it reflects the longing for candy that is free of any animal products.

I always find it strange that so many people ask me if I eat sugar when they find out I am a vegan. Setting aside the fact that some cane sugar is bleached and filtered using bone char, sugary treats are not off limits to ethical vegans, unless, of course, they contain animal products.

Problem is that most candy, or at least most of the more popular candies, contain milk, eggs, gelatin, honey, lard, carmine coloring (beetles) and/or other animal-derived ingredients. Vegans are never so reminded of this than during this month of October as the cruel countdown begins toward the high-holiday of candy known as Halloween.

But October does not need to be a month of horrors for vegans. There is a growing number of vegan candy options and some old standards, which are "accidentally vegan."

The latter group includes such traditional candy as Atomic Fireballs, Charms Blow Pops, Cracker Jack, Dots, Dum Dums, Jolly Rancher hard candy, Jujyfruits, Lemon Heads, Mary Jane, Nerds, Now and Laters, Pixy Stix, Skittles, Smarties, Sour Patch Kids, Sweet Tarts, Twizzlers and Zotz.

You may have noticed that chocolate is missing from the list above. That is because most mainstream chocolate bars contain milk and/or other animal products.

But fear not, there is no need to give up chocolate after going vegan. There are plenty of options available at most stores. Look for dark chocolate (though not all are vegan), and look around in the area of the better quality chocolates to find vegan varieties such as Lindt, Green and Black's, and Endangered Species Organic.

So you have many options available this Halloween season whether you are looking to satisfy your own sweet tooth or hand out some cruelty-free treats.


Porter/LaPorte county reporter

Bob is a 23-year veteran of The Times. He covers county government and courts in Porter County, federal courts, police news and regional issues. He also created the Vegan in the Region blog, is an Indiana University grad and lifelong region resident.