Why Are Marshmallows Not Vegan?

By Olivia

Marshmallows may seem innocent, fluffy, and innocent, but unfortunately, they are not suitable for those following a vegan lifestyle. Despite their seemingly simple ingredients, marshmallows often contain animal-derived ingredients such as gelatin, making them unsuitable for vegans. Let’s explore the reasons behind why marshmallows are not considered vegan-friendly.

1. Gelatin:

One of the primary reasons why marshmallows are not vegan is the presence of gelatin. Gelatin is a protein derived from the collagen found in animal tissues such as skin, bones, and ligaments. It undergoes a process of boiling these animal parts, which results in a sticky substance that is commonly used as a thickening agent in various food products, including marshmallows.

The use of gelatin in marshmallows is crucial to achieving their signature texture. It provides the springy and chewy characteristic that we associate with marshmallows. Unfortunately for vegans, gelatin is derived from animals, making its presence in marshmallows a non-vegan ingredient.

2. Animal-Based Ingredients:

Aside from gelatin, marshmallows may contain other animal-derived ingredients that further contribute to their non-vegan status. Some common non-vegan components found in marshmallows include:

  • Albumen: Derived from egg whites, albumen is used as a binding agent in marshmallow production.
  • Beef or Pork-based Ingredients: Some brands may use beef or pork-derived ingredients in different forms like gelatin, fat, or flavorings.
  • Carmine: Also known as cochineal or carmine acid, this red color additive is made from crushed cochineal insects. It is used to give certain marshmallows a vibrant pink or red hue.

These animal-based ingredients disqualify marshmallows from being vegan-friendly, as they contribute to animal exploitation and harm.

3. The Production Process:

The production process of marshmallows often involves non-vegan practices or ingredients that make them unsuitable for vegans. For instance:

  • Whipping Process: The traditional method of making marshmallows involves whipping gelatin with sugar syrup and other ingredients. As gelatin is of animal origin, this manufacturing process makes marshmallows non-vegan.
  • Hydrolyzed Collagen: Some manufacturers may use hydrolyzed collagen, a form of gelatin, even though it may not be explicitly listed as such on the ingredients list.
  • Beewax: Some marshmallows may contain beeswax as a coating, which is derived from bees and is not suitable for vegans.

These production practices and ingredients contradict vegan principles by utilizing animal-derived components.

4. Alternative Vegan Marshmallows:

Good news for marshmallow lovers following a vegan lifestyle – there are alternative vegan marshmallows available in the market! These options are typically made without gelatin or any animal-based ingredients. Instead, they rely on plant-based alternatives to achieve the desired texture and taste. Agar-agar, a substance derived from seaweed, is one such popular gelatin substitute used in vegan marshmallows. There are also marshmallows made with other plant-based thickeners like carrageenan or vegetable gums.

When purchasing marshmallows, look for those specifically labeled as vegan or plant-based to ensure they align with your dietary choices.

5. Vegan Marshmallow Recipes:

If you enjoy cooking or want to try your hand at making marshmallows from scratch, there are numerous vegan marshmallow recipes available online. These recipes often use plant-based ingredients like agar-agar, aquafaba (chickpea brine), or vegetable gums as substitutes for gelatin. With a little practice, you can create your own vegan marshmallows to enjoy in your favorite recipes or for toasting over a campfire.

In conclusion, marshmallows are not vegan due to the presence of gelatin and other animal-based ingredients, as well as non-vegan production processes. However, the increasing demand for vegan alternatives has led to the availability of plant-based marshmallows on the market and in various homemade recipes. Whether purchasing ready-made vegan marshmallows or exploring homemade options, now you can enjoy marshmallows without compromising your vegan lifestyle.