Are Hi-Chews Vegan?

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Hi-Chews are tasty, fruity chew candies that are incredibly moreish, but are they suitable for a vegan diet?

In this article, we are going to be looking at the ingredients that can be found in Hi-Chews to see if they are a vegan-friendly choice when it comes to sweet treats. 

What Are Hi-Chews?

Hi-Chews are a Japanese fruit chew candy that was released in 1975, though the origins of the sweets began before that. 

Japanese entrepreneur Taichiro Morinaga created the first variation of the Hi-Chew- then known as Chewlets- in 1931 when he wanted to create an edible gum that could easily be swallowed. 

When Morinaga had to rebuild his company following the devastating effects of World War II, Chewlets became Hi-Chews. They are still sold by Morinaga’s company- Morinaga and Company- today. 

Hi-Chews are individually wrapped candies that have a white outer coating with a flavored, colorful inside.

There are a few flavors that have different colors on the outside but most maintain that standard white color. 

Are Hi-Chews Vegan?

Hi-Chews are not vegan-friendly, as they feature a few ingredients that contain products derived from animals. 

Let’s take a closer look at the exact ingredients to be found within Hi-Chews, starting with the vegan-friendly ones. 

Hi-Chew Ingredients 

Glucose Syrup

This is the main ingredient to be found in Hi-Chews and whilst it is a vegan-friendly kind of sweetener, it is by no means healthy!

Glucose syrup is highly refined, processed, and derived from either potatoes or corn. 

Citric Acid

With a sour flavor, citric acid is a vegan additive that makes Hi-Chews more acidic and therefore harder for bacteria to be able to survive within it. 

Malic Acid

An acid derived from natural, tart fruits, malic acid is included in Hi-Chews in order to compliment the flavors of the fruit as well as make the sweets taste closer to their real, fruit equivalents. 

Fruit Juice Concentrate

The concentrated fruit juices to be found in the candy include apple juice and grape juice, and they are included to create a more natural fruit flavor.  

Natural Plant Based Coloring

Whilst Hi-Chews aren’t vegan, it is still admirable that they only use natural, plant based coloring rather than artificial ones. 

The coloring that they use come from vegetable and fruit juice, as well as spirulina.

Sucrose Fatty Esters

This ingredient is a kind of fat, but it is derived from sugars rather than animals. The ingredient holds the candy together, and it is vegan. 

Whilst those were the vegan friendly ingredients, let’s now look at the more questionable ingredients to be found in Hi-Chews. 

Palm Kernel Oil

Palm oil and palm fat are controversial ingredients within the vegan community as the way in which the ingredient is harvested is known for being destructive to the natural rainforests across the world as well as to the various animal species dwelling within the areas facing deforestation. 

Therefore, whilst not actually containing any actual products derived from animals, the method from which it is made has led many vegans to condemn the ingredient.


Refined white sugar is problematic for a vegan diet, as it is filtered through the bone char of animals. 

A fair amount of the sugar used in candy is refined using this process, though it can be difficult to know for sure, leading to many vegans being wary of sugar found in candy such as Hi-Chews. 

Sorbitan Triserate

This is another questionable ingredient, similar to the aforementioned sucrose fatty esters in that they help the ingredients of the Hi Chews stay together. 

However, it can be plant or animal based, and it is pretty much impossible to know for sure which ones the candy uses. 

Artificial And Natural Flavors

Both natural and artificial additives used in candy tend to be plant-based, but there are some exceptions wherein they are derived from animal products. 

This is uncommon though and for the most part, they are vegan-friendly. 


This is the ingredient that makes Hi-Chews entirely non-vegan, as gelatin is an emulsifier that is extracted directly from a fatty broth made up of boiled animal bones. 

Final Thoughts

Hi-Chews cannot be considered a vegan product thanks to the use of gelatin. 

It does have several ingredients that are vegan, but it also has some questionable ones that could go one way or the other. 

The other ingredients don’t make much of a difference, though, as the inclusion of gelatin is enough to make Hi-Chews highly unsuitable for a vegan diet. 

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