A popular snack with children, Fruit Roll-ups are chewy, stretchy and fruit flavored. But are Fruit Roll-ups vegan?
Let’s take a look at what they are made of and find out.
What’s In A Fruit Roll-Up?
The list of ingredients in a Fruit Roll-up is quite long and is listed on the Betty Crocker website for anyone to check.
While they claim to be both gluten and gelatin free as well as free of artificial flavors, there is no mention of the product being vegan.
Let’s take a look at some of the main ingredients listed on a pack of Fruit Roll-ups to see what they contain and if they can be considered vegan.
As with all packaged food, the list of ingredients follows the order of the highest to lowest quantity in the food.
Therefore, the most predominant ingredient comes first, followed by the next and so on. In Fruit Roll-ups the first listed ingredient is corn syrup.
This is one of the most commonly used sweeteners in food production in the US and widely present in manufactured food.
While corn syrup is plant-based, the process of converting starch into glucose and fructose uses enzymes some of which may be derived from animals.
Sugar is the next most commonly used sweetener in commercially produced food and can be a problem for vegans.
Although it is a plant-based substance, the filtration method used by some sugar manufacturers uses bone char to further refine sugar and remove impurities.
In the US this is a more common practice than in other parts of the world and why many vegans here avoid sugar.
It is difficult to tell which sugar a food manufacturer uses especially if there are multiple sources. So some vegans don’t consume products with sugar.
Natural flavors perform one function in manufactured food and that is to provide and enhance the flavor.
However, natural flavors is a generic term for a multitude of substances that may be present in food.
An issue for vegans is the definition of natural flavors by the FDA which includes meat, seafood, eggs, poultry and dairy products.
So although the substances have to be of natural origin this is not helpful to vegans in deciphering the source of the flavor.
Food Coloring Agents
An important part of food marketing is food coloring and especially with a product which is aimed at children.
The coloring agents in Fruit Roll-ups are artificial. This is usually a good thing for vegans as it means there are no animal products involved.
However, to ensure that anything added to food is safe, stringent testing needs to be done first.
This typically involves using animals for testing which is contrary to the definition of veganism.
Palm oil is one of the most unpopular food additives in the world and is synonymous with the destruction of the rainforests.
As this has a direct impact on huge numbers of animals, many vegans avoid palm oil as do a lot of non-vegans who are concerned about the environment.
However, there are organizations such as Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil which help companies to produce sustainable palm oil.
The manufacturer of Fruit Roll-ups, General Mills Inc, are a member of this organization and as such their palm oil is vegan friendly.
To the uninitiated citric acid would seem to be derived from citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons and limes.
But most commercially used citric acid comes from corn, and typically GMO corn.
How individual vegans feel about GMO crops will determine whether they want to consume them.
Finally, some fruit in a Fruit Roll-up! This addition of pear puree to the ingredients adds sweetness and some nutritional value to this snack. It is a plant-based additive and so is vegan.
As an alternative to gelatin which typically comes from beef or pork, fruit pectin is used as a gelling agent.
This is mostly carbohydrates with some traces of protein and is a safe vegan food.
Can Fruit Roll-ups Be Called Vegan?
Taken as a combination of all the above ingredients with so many gray areas it is difficult to call Fruit Roll-ups vegan. The manufacturer certainly doesn’t claim that they are.
For some, the absence of obvious animal products is enough, but stricter adherents to veganism will have some reservations.
We hope this guide to Fruit Roll-ups has helped you decide whether they are vegan.