Vegan Guides

Are Airheads Vegan: The Answers

Most of us are at least vaguely familiar with the taffy-styled, tangy, chewy candies known as Airheads. These tangy treats were created back in 1985 by a gentleman known as Steve Bruner, and are now made by a Dutch-Italian company. 

They are available across the United States, and in some other countries too, but what is even better is how you can get them in over 16 flavors. 

However, we now need to ask ourselves if any of these candies and their tasty flavors are actually vegan! We deserve tasty treats too, and we can only hope that Airheads are vegan, however, like most candies we tend to assume they are not. 

But, I know you deserve a sugary treat, and so I decided to look into how vegan these actually are, so if you want to indulge you can know for sure if Airheads are on the menu! 

Are Airheads Vegan

Vegan Controversial Ingredients

Before I tell you if you can indulge in airheads or not, I want to talk about controversial ingredients often found in candies. There are quite a few, sugar always being the biggest problem. 

While many of us consider these ingredients to be vegan, they can still often be problematic, and there are a fair share of vegans who tend to stray away from these ingredients because they can both be vegan and not, but it is often hard to know if they are TOTALLY vegan or not. 

Let’s take a look at these problem ingredients. 

#1. Sugar! 

Sugar is always a problem child, and it is always found in candies. It is a very controversial product among vegans, simply because refined cane sugar is processed with bone char from cattle to get that bright pure white color. 

Of course, the sugar does not actually have any bone char particles in it, but thanks to processing it are not vegan. 

However, this is only the case with this one type of sugar, but the pain is that the type of sugar used is rarely ever stated, so there is no way to actually know if the sugar used in products is vegan or not. 

So, if you want to avoid any non-vegan sugar, then pretty much every product I tell you about today should be avoided, as you cannot be 100% certain they have not used refined cane sugar, and it is better to be cautious. 

#2. Artificial & Natural Flavorings

Natural flavors could be sourced from any plant or animal sources, however, luckily when it comes to candies, the natural flavors are usually from plants. Natural flavors that have an animal origin are usually highlighted if this is known.

#3. Palm Fat & Palm Oils

Palm oil is always controversial as a vegan food ingredient. This is not due to it being an animal product, but instead because the cultivation of this has absolutely devastating impacts on the environment and has harmed so many animals, with many having lost homes. 

#4. Colors! 

There are some food colorings that are very controversial in the vegan community (and some which should be controversial full stop). There are some food colorings that are tested on animals, and some that actually contain animal parts, such as carmine, which comes from insects. 

(Gross!)

 

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Airhead Bars

Let’s start off our look into Airheads, with Airhead bars, one of the most popular types of this candy! 

What Is In Them?

Ingredients: Sugar, Corn Syrup, Maltodextrin, Dextrose, Modified Food Starch (Corn), Palm Oil, Citric Acid, Water, Artificial Flavor, Artificial Colors (Red 40, Blue 1, Yellow 6, Yellow 5)

Are They Vegan?

Peta has an overwhelming 3 articles that state Airheads are a vegan-friendly snack, and based on the ingredients, it is. The only ingredients listed in normal Airhead bars which could be of concern to some are the controversial ones. 

This means airhead bars are indeed vegan! 

AirHead Bites

Okay, so, if Airhead Bars are vegan, Airhead bites must be as well, right? Think again! 

What Is In Them?

Ingredients: Sugar, Glucose Syrup, Maltodextrin, Dextrose, Hydrogenated Coconut Oil, Citric Acid, Modified Corn Starch, Sorbitol, Artificial Flavors, Glycerine, Rice Starch, Carnauba Wax, Beeswax, Shellac, Gellan Gum, Sucrose Esters Of Fatty Acids, Artificial Colors [Red 40, Blue 1, Yellow 6, Yellow 5].

Are They Vegan?

Hell no! Airhead bites are not vegan, as well as the controversial ingredients, these also contain Shellac and Beeswax which are both very un-vegan! Shellac is a totally gross ingredient if you are not familiar with it, it comes from female lac bug secretions. It is an insect-based ingredient and is, therefore, not vegan-friendly. 

Airheads: Soft-Filled Bites

Can Airheads Soft-Filled Bites restore our faith in these tasty treats? Sadly, no. 

What Is In Them?

Ingredients: Sugar, Glucose Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Starch, Food Starch – Modified [Corn], Food Starch – Modified [Potato], Malic Acid, Dextrose, Citric Acid, Coconut Oil, Lactic Acid, Gelatin, Artificial Flavors, Hydrogenated Palm Oil, Sorbitol Syrup, Glycerin, Salt, Fumaric Acid, Trisodium Citrate, Artificial Colors [Red 40, Blue 1, Yellow 6, Yellow 5].

Are They Vegan?

The soft bites let us down as they have gelatin in them. Gelatin is a protein that comes from the boiling of animal skin (I think I am going to vomit….) as well as ligaments, tendons, bones, or cartilage in water. Often coming from cows, fish, or pigs. It is animal-derived and is, therefore, totally not vegan!

Airheads: Gummies

 

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Will Airhead’s Gummies restore my faith in yummy candies for vegans? Apparently not! 

What Is In Them?

Ingredients: Corn Syrup, Sugar, Gelatin, Sorbitol, Citric Acid, Pectin, Artificial Flavors, Coconut Oil, Sodium Citrate, Beeswax, Carnauba Wax, Artificial Colors [Red 40, Blue 1, Yellow 6, Yellow 5].

Are They Vegan?

With 12 ingredients, there are 3 which are controversial and 2 which are definitely not vegan! Thanks to beeswax and gelatin, Airheads gummies are off the menu! 

Airheads: Gum

Airheads Gum is one thing I definitely don’t expect to be vegan, but let’s look anyway, maybe it will surprise us both…

What Is In Them?

Ingredients: Xylitol, Sorbitol, Chewing Gum Base, Glycerol, Maltitol Syrup, Malic Acid, Artificial Flavors, Citric Acid, Tartaric Acid, Aspartame, Carrageenan, Coconut Fat, Sucralose, Lecithin [Soy], Acesulfame K, Sucrose Fatty Acid Esters, BHT to Maintain Freshness, Blue 1 Lake, Color [Carmines].

Are They Vegan?

…Or not. Chewing gum is always a weird product to look at because no one is actually made to say what the chewing gum base is made from. However, this time Carmines is where the main issue is. Carmines is a red food coloring.

This food coloring comes from a species of insects, once again, in a rather gross way, so Airheads Gum is most definitely not vegan! 

Airheads: Xtremes

Let’s consider Airheads Xtremes, you know, those sweet but sour treats that make your mouth water. Maybe they will be okay for us to eat! 

What Is In Them?

Ingredients: Sugar, Corn Syrup, Wheat Flour, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Food Starch – Modified [Corn], Food Starch, Modified [Potato], Malic Acid, Citric Acid, Artificial Flavors, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Potassium Citrate, Salt, Artificial Colors [Red 40, Blue 1, Yellow 6, Yellow 5].

Are They Vegan?

Finally! Okay, they do still contain controversial ingredients, but if these do not bother you, eat away. They are vegan! 

Airheads: Xtremes Bites

What about Xtremes Bites? Will these be good to us, or let us down?

What Is In Them?

Ingredients: Sugar, Corn Syrup, Corn Starch, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Food Starch – Modified [Corn], Food Starch, Modified (Potato), Wheat Starch, Malic Acid, Palm Oil, Citric Acid, Artificial Flavors, Salt, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Potassium Citrate, Colors Added [Carmine, Blue 1].

Are They Vegan?

So close, if not for Carmine at the end then there would be vegan. However, the added colors let them down and mean that Xtremes bites are not okay for vegans. (I wish they’d stop putting insect parts in food, not only is it amoral but also disgusting!)

Airheads: Extremes Sourfuls 

Our final bid for a tasty treat with Airheads, are the Sourfuls here to save the day?

What Is In Them?

Ingredients: Sugar, Corn Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Starch, Food Starch – Modified [Corn], Malic Acid, Food Starch – Modified [Potato], Dextrose, Wheat Starch, Citric Acid, Coconut Oil, Lactic Acid, Gelatin, Artificial Flavors, Sodium Malates, Hydrogenated Palm Oil, Salt, Glycerol, Fumaric Acid, Sorbitol Syrup, Trisodium Citrate, Artificial Colors [Red 40, Blue 1, Yellow 6, Yellow 5].

Are They Vegan?

Apparently not… Once again Gelatin is here to ruin the day. Airheads Sourfuls contain gelatin, so are off the menu for me and you! 

 

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FAQs:

Are Airheads Bites Gluten Free?

Airheads and Airhead Bars are gluten-free, however, they are made in a facility that does process wheat products. So, this means there is a risk of cross-contamination.

Are Airheads Gluten Free?

Airheads and Airhead Bars are considered gluten-free, however, there is a risk of cross-contamination due to the manufacturing.

Are Xtremes Gluten Free?

Airheads’ Xtremes do contain gluten, so are not gluten-free.

Are Airheads Halal? 

Airheads Airhead Bars, and Airheads Xtremes are all Halal. 

Are Airheads Kosher?

Airheads Xtremes, especially in Rainbow Berry flavor is Kosher! Airheads are considered to be Kosher.

Are Airheads Peanut Free?

Airheads are free of peanuts but they are not certified to be peanut-free due to their factory processing and cross-contamination risks.

Are Airheads Dairy Free?

Airheads do not contain dairy, however, since they are processed in a facility that contains dairy they are not 100% dairy free. They also do not perform any specific test to ensure they are dairy free.

Are Airheads A Taffy Candy?

Airheads is a brand of Taffy Candy which is owned by Perfetti Van Melle. 

Do Airheads Have Gelatin In It? 

Not all Airheads contain Gelatin, but some do. Since the facility works with gelatin in some products, there is always a risk of cross-contamination in others.

Overview

Not all Airheads are vegan, but some of them are. However, even with the Airheads which are vegan, there are controversial ingredients such as sugar, palm oil, and natural flavorings and colors. 

Since the facility in which they are processed is not super hardcore on cross-contamination prevention, I cannot say – hand over heart – that Airheads are 100% vegan. 

However, it is up to you if you wish to indulge in Airheads bars and Airheads Xtremes.

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