The beginner’s guide to Vegan Sweets

Sweeties are meant to be something you grow out of. But from gummies to mints, there are few adults who don’t indulge in sweets from time to time. For vegans, however, it’s always been something of a sticking point. With gelatine, milk powder, animal-derived colourants, and beeswax common ingredients within the sweets industry, it’s often safer and easier for vegans and vegetarians to simply avoid sweets altogether. But where’s the fun in that?

The Vegan Society recently reported that the number of vegans in Great Britain quadrupled between 2014 and 2019. And there’s every reason to believe that that trend has continued to grow in the last 18 months. If you stretch that boundary to include vegetarians, it’s believed that around 14% of adults – 7.2 million people – in the UK are following a meat-free diet. And at Swizzels, we believe that everyone deserves a sweet treat from time to time. 

Vegan sweets are possible to make, and to taste fantastic. It’s all in the know-how!  In fact, Swizzels has a pretty huge selection. Over the years, we’ve taken great pains to substitute animal products within many of our classic lines.  We have worked hard to maintain the expected quality, flavour, and texture with the use of plant-based products.

So, what goes into making vegan sweets? And what do you need to look out for?

What’s the problem with vegans and sweets?

Gelling agents

The primary reason that most sweet manufacturers use animal products is as a gelling agent. For very many years, gelatine was the only option. Gelatine is used both as a preservative and as a means of adding a wobbly or chewy texture to food stuffs – mainly sweets and puddings. But there are a number of good quality, plant-based alternatives now available including Agar Agar, Carrageenan and Soya.


Food colouring comes from a whole range of sources. Sadly, some of the prettiest and most vibrant – and therefore most attractive for use in sweet production – are derived from animals.  However the good news is that Swizzels has achieved terrifically bright sweets whilst only using non-animal derived colours in ALL its confectionery. 

Swizzels vegan sweet selection

Swizzels produce a whole range of vegan sweets, both classics and new creations. Some, you’d expect to be vegan-friendly, like our delicious, sherbet Double Dip. Others, such as our complete collection of Choos, may come as more of a surprise. We have vegan Barley Sugar, Crystal Fruits, Double Lollies, and Giant Fizzers. Refreshers Bars, Rainbow Drops, Flic ‘n Lic, and Mini Me. Simply sweet, fizzy, suckable, chewable, crunchable, and everything in between. And we’re working hard to add new ranges to our assortment.

In fact, one of the latest additions to the Swizzels range is Puds. To celebrate our 90th birthday in 2018, we launched a competition for the public to come up with an original new sweet line. The result, thought up by the wonderful Tracy-Jane, was Puds. Chew bars inspired by classic British desserts, including lemon meringue pie and sticky toffee pudding. They’re not only like nothing else you’ll find on the high street, but 100% vegan, too. 

Thankfully, we’re at a time now where different dietary requirements are no longer disparaged as faddy or fussy eating. Vegetarians and vegans have had it hard for decades. But in 2021, they now have a choice. Vegan sweets may be just a small part of a greater movement, but sometimes it’s the little things that can really make a difference. And everyone deserves at least a little sweetness in their life from time to time.

Are you looking for the perfect gift for the vegan in your life? Check out our vegan sweet hampers for nspiration. 

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