Most commercial bags of sweets are wrapped in plastic and full of refined sugar and gelatine (animal bones – even those free from it usually have beeswax, so not suitable for vegans). Of course you don’t have to eat sweets, but if you like them (or your children do), here are some better brands.
Keep sweets away from young children and pets, due to choking hazards (never buy ones sweetened with xylitol – this is lethal to pets if a sweet or tic-tac dropped on the ground). Sweet wrappers are a common form of litter, so take empty bags to supermarket bag recycling bins.
Fed up with litter, one village shopkeeper wrote the children’s names on the sweet packets, then temporarily banning those who dropped them on the pavement. Sounds harsh, but it worked, reducing litter almost by half. One child said ‘I have to put my litter in the bin now, because it has my name on it’. If only everything in life were this simple to solve!
Sweets are treats, so obviously are still high in sugar. But some brands contain maltitol (which ferments in the gut to cause tummy rumbles) and the big brands get around huge sugar servings by saying to eat just one sixth of a pack as a ‘serving’ (how many children do you know that will ‘put the rest of the pack away for another day?) The ‘low sugar’ version of Haribo sweets is 22g per serving, way more than NHS daily recommendations.
- JOM (Sweden) makes sweets with cornstarch over gelatine or beeswax. Sweetened with natural sugar, they are sold in various flavours (fruity and retro cola). The initials stand for ‘just one more!’
- Just Wholefoods (The Cotswolds) makes organic vegan versions of popular sweets including vegebears, frooty fruits and vegehogs!
- Candy Kittens sells fruit and sour sweets by a company launched from Made in Chelsea star Jamie Laing, whose parents banned him from eating sweets during childhood, for fear of him ‘bouncing off the walls’. Also a volunteer police officer, he’s delightfully barmy, beating the world record for ‘amount of jelly beans thrown in the mouth per 30 seconds! The great-great-great grandson of the man who invented the digestive biscuit, his skills have not followed through – he baked the worst-ever cake on British Bake-Off history!
Jealous Sweets are made with real fruits, created by two former corporate friends known as ‘Lord-Sugar Free’ and ‘Candy Magician. Taz and Imrang sweeten them with stevia and sorbitol. The range includes berry, zingy and sour foams, happy bears, fizzy friends and tangy worms!
If you like polo mints, swap to organic mints in a tin
make your own vegan sweets
Strawberry Heart Beet Gummies (Blissful Basil) are made with real beetroot, lemon and strawberries, whiskup with agar (a vegan gelatine) to set into shaped moulds. Keep gummy sweets especially awayfrom pets, due to choking hazards. Also try Homemade Vegan Gummy Bears (made with fresh strawberries and fruit juice, organic cane sugar and agar to set).