Wondering if junior mints are vegan? Let’s find out the truth behind this popular movie theater candy…
Are Junior Mints Vegan?
After examining the ingredients of Junior Mints, it turns out that they are NOT vegan (sort of). While there is no eggs or dairy, this candy contains confectioners glaze which is made of insect secretions.
But it’s actually not that simple.
Let’s dive a little bit deeper into the ingredient statement to learn more…
- Semi-Sweet Chocolate
- Chocolate Processed with Alkali
- Cocoa Butter
- Soy Lecithin-An Emulsifier
- Vanillin-An Artificial Flavor
- Corn Syrup
- Confectioner’s Glaze – This is the culprit ingredient!
- Food Starch-Modified
- Peppermint Oil
It’s a real shame because these products otherwise contain no other animal products. There is actually a petition to remove this stuff from the candy, but some people (as you can see by the comments) have concerns and feel that it’s a waste of time.
Are There Actually Ethical Concerns?
When you read about how shellac for confectioner’s glaze is made, it’s not clear whether or not there’s an ethical concern with it.
You see, the resin that it’s made from is secreted by the bug onto trees in places like Thailand and India. The production process says nothing about the bugs actually being exploited, tortured or even killed in any way.
Personally, I wouldn’t consider someone not vegan if they ate this stuff. To me, the production and harvesting of it seems like a normal part of plant agriculture and doesn’t really involve animal exploitation in any way.
But feel free to do your own research and decide for yourself.
This is a bit different than a candy like nerds. We wrote a separate article on whether or not nerds were vegan here, but long story short is that nerds also contain insects in their coloring.
In that instance, the insects are actually killed and crushed to produce the coloring. This isn’t the same with the shellac in Junior Mints.
So yeah, this one is definitely a grey area.
Read Next: Are Tootsie Rolls Vegan?
Being vegan is about reducing animal exploitation and suffering as much as practicable. We treat this to mean that we should be avoiding all products and goods with labeled animal products on them. After all, that’s the action that will yield 99.9% of the results.
So when it comes to junior mints – I’m leaving this one up in the air. Yes, they technically contain animal products in some form, but whether it was gotten in an exploitative or unethical way is up for debate.
If you’re craving an alternative, consider getting a vegan dark chocolate bar that’s infused with mint. You’ll get the same taste profile as a junior mint and won’t have to worry about all this. Just make sure there’s no milk on the label.