Going vegan is a learning curve for everyone, and many people have no idea that a number of popular sweets like Jelly Babies may not plant-based or vegetarian.
The question of whether Jelly Babies are vegan skyrocketed into public consciousness in November 2022. During an episode of popular ITV show I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!, contestant Boy George was shown apparently eating the sweets in the camp.
It had previously been claimed that he’d be following a vegan diet on the show, leading many to question his decision to eat them.
“Well Jelly Babies are not vegetarian or vegan friendly. Why is boy George eating them?”, one person wrote. “Is Boy George vegan? If so why is he eating Jelly Babies?”, added another.
Here’s everything you need to know about Jelly Babies on a plant-based diet.
Are Jelly Babies vegan?
Original Jelly Babies, the candy made by Maynards Bassets in the UK, are not vegan or vegetarian.
This is because they contain gelatin, which is generally made from the hides and bones of animals like pigs or cows.
Jelly Babies were originally launched in 1918 as “Peace Babies” to mark the end of the First World War. After disappearing during Second World War rationing, they re-emerged in the 1950s. Due to the fact that they’re such an iconic sweet, many people may be disappointed that they aren’t vegan-friendly.
Luckily, though, there are a vegan-friendly brands that have made their own versions of Jelly Babies.
Can you get vegan Jelly Babies?
There are plenty of similar vegan candy options available. Shoppers in the UK can get a sweet called “Blue Babies,” which are vegan and look like Jelly Babies. These also come with a fizzy coating.
Holland and Barrett also sell peach-flavored “Tasty Mates,” which are free from animal products.
Some major jelly sweet brands are now entirely vegan due to consumer demand for animal-free products. Jamie Laing’s Candy Kittens line is a notable example.
What other sweets aren’t vegan?
A number of other popular sweets also contain gelatin, marking them as unsuitable for vegans and vegetarians.
These include most Haribo products, many Marshmallows, and Fruitella.
Some sweets may also contain other non-vegan ingredients like beeswax (derived from bees), lactose, or casein (both of which are from cow’s milk).
You should always check the label or contact the manufacturer if you’re not sure.