4 Sustainable Candy Companies to Feed Your Sweet Tooth
Since everyone is stuck in lockdown, it seems there’s been a surge in sweet sales – particularly those sweets that appear to be bulk bought Haribos stuffed into a plastic cone and sold for double the original price. As a vegetarian, sweets have always been my forbidden fruit, as most of those well-known candy companies use animal gelatine in their products – but now, thanks to a number of sweet and chocolate companies, my sugar craving can finally be satisfied, without having to suffer the guilt. So, here are four of my favourite sweet treat suppliers that promise not to harm the planet (though they will harm your health if discretion is not applied).
Launched in 2012 by Made In Chelsea cast member, Jamie Laing, Candy Kittens specialise in vegan and vegetarian sweets that are equal parts ethical and delicious. The five vegan varieties are Tropical Mango, Wild Strawberry, Blueberry Bliss, Sour Watermelon, and Peach Fizz – while Eton Mess doesn’t use animal gelatine, it is currently coated in beeswax meaning it cannot be classified as fully vegan, though the company is working to find a bee-free alternative.
As well as being free of animal products, Candy Kittens does not use carnauba wax, which is often used to give sweets their shine, or palm oil, which provides products with a longer shelf-life, in their sweet recipes. A 2017 documentary found that a number of carnauba plantations supplying Haribo in north-eastern Brazil (where the plant is native to) were engaging in modern slavery, exploiting workers in the poorest region of the country. Following this revelation, a Brazilian Labour Ministry official spoke out saying, “the workers are treated as objects, worse than animals.” The dangers of palm oil are more widely known, as its production has exacerbated deforestation, endangerment of species like the Sumatran Orangutan and the Sumatran Tiger, and air pollution, as haze is a harmful by-product of palm oil manufacture that can lead to respiratory problems. Palm oil production also releases CO2, accounting for 6% of all global emissions, with Indonesia (where the oil is farmed) being responsible for 45% of that.
As well as making their ingredients sustainable, Candy Kittens have been actively responding to the coronavirus pandemic. Currently, all profits from the Blueberry Bliss charity jar and 10p of all purchases are going to the HEROES charity, which supports health workers. The company is also set to launch ‘CK Clubhouse’, a virtual platform designed to spread positivity during the current crisis.
You can buy Candy Kittens through their website, but they are also available in a number of shops.
My personal favourites: Wild Strawberry, Tropical Mango, Sour Watermelon.
Retro sweet retailer, the Conscious Candy Company, specialises in sweet nostalgia, taking you back to childhood days of fruit winders and cola bottles but with an ethical twist. All their sweets are vegan, with no gelatine, honey, cochineal, milk, animal-derived E numbers or colours, egg, and beeswax – you also have the option to make your purchase palm-oil free sweets.
They take pride in being environmentally conscious, as their name suggests; their 1kg pouches are compostable and biodegrade within 23 days – while some of their sweets are supplied in individually wrapped plastic, they are looking to remove plastic completely. They also use sustainable soy ink for printing, which is more eco-friendly than traditional petroleum-based ink. Along with this, they partake in schemes that plant trees across the world.
You can also buy from other sustainable sweet brands, like Moo Free, Peakz, Raw Halo and more, on their website.
My personal favourite: 1kg palm-oil free pick & mix
Based in Devon, Moo Free was originally created to give vegan and allergy-suffering children an alternative to traditional chocolate, substituting rice milk instead of dairy. As well as being dairy free, their products also don’t contain soya, gluten, and wheat, so they can truly be enjoyed by everyone.
Their commitment to ethics and sustainability is staggering, with an extensive ethical policy. They work to ensure that no waste goes to landfill, recycling everything where possible and using non-recyclable goods as part of their zero-carbon emission scheme. All of their packaging is also recyclable and biodegradable. Moo Free are proud to be a non-discriminatory employer, with over half their workforce being female, and 20% consisting of people with autism.
Having been founded in the small town of Holsworthy in Devon, Moo Free also give back to their community, sponsoring local football teams, helping to fund St Peter’s Fair which takes place in summer, and providing free Wifi for the local town square.
You can find Moo Free products in Asda, Holland and Barrett, M&S, Morrisons, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, WH Smith.
My personal favourite: Sea Salt and Caramel Chocolate bar
With a similar message to Moo Free, NOMO believes that no one should miss out on the great taste of chocolate – that’s why all of their products are gluten, dairy, egg, and nut free!
Their ethos has also let them to become a member of the Anaphylaxis Campaign, a UK wide charity dedicated to supporting people suffering the severe allergies, and working with the food industry, schools, colleges, and health professionals to ensure ingredients lists and food labelling is always up to scratch. Incorrect food labels can be fatal to those with allergies – in 2017, a person died after eating a “super-veg rainbow flatbread” from Pret a Manger which was mis-sold as dairy free; the chain had experienced a similar case a year earlier when 15-year-old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who had a severe sesame seed allergy, died after eating a baguette that contained sesame, despite being labelled as nut-free.
Along with their commitment to ingredient transparency, NOMO only uses Rainforest Alliance certified cocoa, which pledges to ‘work together with companies, farmers, foresters, communities, and consumers to amplify the voices of farmers and forest communities, improve livelihoods, protect biodiversity, and help people mitigate and adapt to climate change in bold and effective ways’.
You can find NOMO’s products at Tesco, Holland and Barrett, Waitrose, and Asda.
My personal favourite: Sea Salt and Caramel Chocolate bar (yes – another one!)
Image by: Joanna Kosinska