Smarties are a popular candy made by a family run company. They are a Halloween favorite and the company spends most of the year preparing for the spooky season.
However, candies are enjoyed all year round in the United States. They are colorful, sweet and a little bit addictive. But are they suitable for vegans? What are smarties actually made of? Keep reading to find out more.
What Are Smarties?
Smarties are colored discs of sugary candy. There are 15 per packet, and they are wrapped in plastic cellophane with bright red colors at either end.
They were first made in 1949 by the Dee family, and the same family still runs the company today. It is now run by three cousins.
When the Dee family first set up the company, they purchased a pellet machine that had been used in the war. They re-purposed the machine used to make candy tablets which is why they have a recognizable biconcave disc shape.
As the company grew, purpose-built machines were made to cope with the increasing demand for the product. The main ingredients in Smarties are dextrose, citric acid, calcium stearate, flavorings, and artificial colors. But how do these ingredients get turned into candy?
- Pressing Machine – The pressing machine mixes the ingredients together and presses them into a tablet at a rate of 1000 tablets per minute. There is a different machine for each flavor.
- Quality Control – The tablets are then checked to make sure that they are all the right size to ensure that they will fit into the wrappers. This is done with a special mold.
- Mixing – The flavors are then mixed together in containers that can hold up to 1000 pounds of candy. This is to ensure that the flavor combination of each packet is random. The most popular flavors are cherry, orange, pineapple, grape, and strawberry. They also offer special edition flavors like sour smarties and tropical smarties.
- Wrapping – The container of tablets is emptied out onto a conveyor belt which takes the tablets into the wrapping room. The tablets are fed into the wrapping machine which is fitted with sensors. The machine aligns the tablets and then wraps them in plastic cellophane.
- Bagging – The wrapped candies are then transported to the bagging room where they are bagged up into multi-packs. From there they can be packed into boxes and shipped out to suppliers.
Are Smarties Vegan?
Smarties are vegan in the sense that they contain no animal products. This means they are suitable for people on a vegan diet.
They do not contain any gelatin, and they have no dairy products in them. However, they do contain artificial colors. This causes a problem for many vegans.
Why Are Artificial Colors Problematic For Vegans?
Artificial colors are often tested on animals. Red 40 in particular is a big concern as it is made from petroleum which is tested on animals.
Red 40 can be found in lots of other food products and has also been linked to hyperactivity, especially in children.
Are Natural Flavors Suitable For Vegans?
Some natural flavorings are not suitable for vegans because some of them contain animal products. The FDA has quite a broad spectrum of things they will allow into natural flavorings, whilst still allowing companies to advertise their products as vegan.
Thankfully, the company that produces smarties has confirmed that the natural flavorings they use do not contain any animal products. The flavors are derived entirely from plant extracts.
What About UK Smarties?
In the US, smarties are colored candy discs that are suitable for vegans. In the UK, smarties are colored chocolate candies. They are very delicious, but they contain dairy products and are not suitable for vegans.
If you want to try a vegan alternative to UK smarties, you could get Carana Colorful Chocolate Beans instead. They have a similar flavor but with no animal products.
Are Smarties Healthy?
Candy is never really considered to be healthy. However, as far as candy goes, Smarties are not too bad. There are only 25 calories per roll of smarties (which is 15 sweets).
As well as being vegan, these candies are also gluten-free and peanut free. This makes them suitable for people with dietary requirements.
Smarties are delicious candies that are suitable for vegans in that they don’t contain any animal products. However, the presence of artificial colors could cause some issues as they may have been tested on animals.