You may need to give up on some of your favorite treats when you switch to a vegan diet.
Fruit Roll-Ups are a sweet snack many people love but do they fit into a vegan diet? What ingredients does the manufacturer use to make these fun and flavorful rolled candies?
Are Fruit Roll-Ups vegan? Yes, Fruit Roll-Ups are considered vegan. They don’t contain gelatin or egg whites. Synthetic colorants are used to give Fruit Roll-Ups their distinct bright colors. However, it is not clear whether or not the sugar is processed using bone char.
In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about Fruit Roll-Ups. Read on to learn about the ingredients in Fruit Roll-Ups and why they are considered vegan by most standards.
You will also find a recipe for homemade fruit roll-ups in case you want to come up with the healthiest alternative for this treat yourself.
What Are Fruit Roll-Ups?
Fruit Roll-Ups have been in American grocery stores since 1983. These fun snacks feature flat pieces of fruity goodness that are rolled into a tube.
The manufacturer uses a cellophane layer to roll the pectin-based snack so that it doesn’t stick to itself. The added non-stick layer helps to easily roll out these snacks.
Fruit Roll-Ups come in a range of flavors and colors and are a favorite snack not only for kids but adults too.
What Are Fruit Roll-Ups Made of?
As mentioned above, Fruit Roll-Ups are considered to be pectin-based treats. But what is pectin? Pectin is a naturally occurring starch. It is found in the walls of fruits and vegetables. Pectin is a key ingredient in jams and jellies, as it is what provides their gel-like consistency.
While Fruit Roll-Ups come in a range of flavors, the ingredient list is pretty much the same. Berry flavor Fruit Roll-Ups, for example, contain the following ingredients:
Sugar, maltodextrin, corn syrup, pear puree concentrate, palm oil, carrageenan, citric acid, monoglycerides, sodium citrate, acetylated monoglycerides, malic acid, xanthan gum, locust bean gum, vitamin C (ascorbic acid), potassium citrate, natural flavor, and red 40.
Let’s explain some of the more questionable ingredients in this list.
Carrageenan is an additive used to improve the texture of foods and drinks. It is an extract that comes from red edible seaweed and is approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
Locust bean gum is another thickening agent. It comes from the seeds of the carob tree. Derived from plants, locust bean gum is not an ingredient vegans avoid.
To further improve the texture and stability of the Fruit Roll-Ups, the manufacturer also uses xanthan gum. Even if you are not familiar with this food additive, you have certainly consumed it, as manufacturers use xanthan gum in a range of products of daily use.
Xanthan gum is made by fermenting sugar with the help of Xanthomonas campestris bacteria and processing it for the final result.
You may also consider sugar to be a bit suspect, as some white sugars are processed using bone char. It isn’t clear whether the sugar used in fruit roll-ups is processed with bone char, so it may be best to avoid it if this is an important aspect of your diet.
Are Fruit Roll-Ups Vegan?
Chewy candies like Fruit Roll-Ups aren’t typically vegan as they contain gelatin. And gelatin is not vegan. It is made by boiling the skin, tendons, ligaments, and bones of cows or pigs.
Aside from gelatin, egg whites (also known as egg albumen) can be used to give candies a hard and chewy texture. This isn’t vegan either.
Luckily, Fruit Roll-Ups don’t contain gelatin and egg whites. Other ingredients in Fruit Roll-Ups are considered vegan in and of themselves, but as we mentioned, white sugar is a contentious topic for the way it is sometimes processed.
Sugar In Fruit Roll-Ups
Firstly, the manufacturer uses regular sugar. Secondly, there is corn syrup in Fruit Roll-Ups. As you may know, corn syrup is a sugar-based sweetener. Some sources state that the Fruit Roll-Ups’ manufacturer uses not only regular corn syrup but dried corn syrup too.
As we’ve discussed, white sugar is often bleached with bone char from animals. It’s very difficult to track which sugars are and aren’t processed this way, as they are all labeled the same way, but cane sugar is more likely to have been bleached in this way.
Bone char is an animal byproduct from the meat industry. While the bone char itself doesn’t make it to your plate, many vegans choose not to consume products that were involved in the harming of animals at any stage.
It is not clearly stated whether or not Fruit Roll-Ups use this kind of sugar in their products, so it may be best to avoid these items if you’re worried. Monk fruit sweetener and beet sugar are the best vegan alternatives.
Lastly, all Fruit Roll-Ups are made with pear puree concentrate. Pear puree concentrate is made by blending, pressing, and sieving pears. While this fruit concentrate contains natural sugars, it increases the overall sugar content of Fruit Roll-Ups anyway.
So, Fruit Roll-Ups are not something you would eat for their health benefits. But while they are not the healthiest treat in the world, eating them is a fun experience and they are not high in calories either.
Food Colorants In Fruit Roll-Ups
The colorants used in Fruit Roll-Ups are something many vegans want to learn more about. This is because not all coloring agents are derived from plants.
Fruit Roll-Ups, however, are made using artificial colorants, i.e. coloring agents that are not derived from natural sources. Red 4, for example, is a popular food colorant and it is natural. Also known by the name carmine, this coloring agent comes from cochineal insects.
To give Fruit Roll-Ups a rich red color, the manufacturer uses Red 40. This is a synthetic food dye approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
Beeswax and Confectioner’s Glaze
You have probably noticed that nearly all fruit-flavored candies have a glossy finish. The sheen on these candies is in most cases the result of a beeswax coating or a confectioner’s glaze.
Beeswax, similar to honey, is a product sometimes avoided by vegans, as it is made by worker bees.
It is debated whether honey should be considered vegan, as bees aren’t harmed in the process of collecting honeycomb, are free-range, and have actually increased in number due to ethical and eco-friendly beekeeping, but it’s ultimately your choice whether or not to consume it.
As for confectioner’s glaze, it is not vegan either. Also known as pharmaceutical glaze, confectioner’s glaze is used by manufacturers to make their candies look attractively shiny.
Confectioner’s glaze is not vegan and vegetarian as it is made by killing lac beetles. The glaze is essentially a secretion of lac beetles.
Fruit Roll-Ups don’t contain beeswax or confectioner’s glaze which is another check that confirms the vegan status of these sweet treats.
Are Fruit Roll-Ups Healthy?
A serving of Fruit Roll-Ups, which is one roll (14 grams), contains 50 calories. Taking into account that for most people a snack is usually 200 to 300 calories, eating a few of these fruity candies can help you out while you are waiting for your next full meal.
A portion of Fruit Roll-Ups also contains one gram of fat and 11 grams of carbohydrates. Fruit Roll-Ups are high in sugar. A roll contains 7 grams of sugar as well as 50 mg sodium.
According to the manufacturer, Fruit Rolls-Ups are also a source of vitamin C. They also contain calcium and iron.
With this said, Fruit Roll-Ups are not the healthiest snack. While they may be healthier than many of their counterparts, Fruit Roll-Ups are not something we would recommend you eat every day. This is due to the fact that they contain lots of sugar and artificial additives.
While there are Fruit Roll-Ups with different fruit flavors, the main ingredient in these pectin-based candies is always sugar.
Homemade Fruit Roll-Ups
If you want to have super healthy Fruit Roll-Ups, the best thing you can do is to make them yourself. Homemade fruit roll-ups can be completely vegan and packed with nutrients. And the best part is, you only need a few ingredients and a few spare hours.
Here is how to make strawberry fruit roll-ups. You can use any fruit you like, including peaches, plums, mangoes, etc.
- Clean the strawberries and wash them thoroughly.
- Puree the strawberries using a blender or a food processor.
- If you don’t like having seeds in your strawberry puree, pour it into a fine-mesh sieve. The sieve will catch the seeds.
- Add lemon juice to the puree. Use the juice from half a lemon for every 4 cups of strawberries.
- Add a tablespoon of maple syrup to the strawberry puree. How much maple syrup you need to add to the puree depends on your preferences and the natural sweetness of the fruit.
- Preheat the oven to 170°F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Evenly spread the strawberry puree on the baking mat.
- Transfer the baking pan into the oven and bake for 3 to 4 hours. Don’t set the temperature higher. The high temperature will burn or overcook the puree while 170°F is the perfect temperature for drying it.
- Remove the mixture from the oven when it feels dry to touch and not sticky and soft.
- Cut the layer of dried strawberry puree into long strips. If you have had it on parchment paper, don’t remove it and roll the strips together with the paper.
And here you have vegan, gluten-free, and naturally-flavored homemade fruit roll-ups.
Are Fruit Roll-Ups Vegetarian?
As Fruit Roll-Ups don’t directly contain any animal products, you can easily incorporate them into your vegetarian diet as a snack or a treat whenever you want to eat something fun and sweet.
Are Fruit Roll-Ups Gluten-Free?
Yes, Fruit Roll-Ups are gluten-free. They are a good sweet treat for kids and adults with gluten intolerance.
Are Fruit Roll-Ups Dairy-Free?
As Fruit Roll-Ups are vegan. No dairy products are used in the manufacturing of Fruit Roll-Ups.
Are Fruit Roll-Ups Kosher?
Yes, Fruit Roll-Ups are Kosher. This means that these fruity candies satisfy the requirements of Jewish law.
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