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People sometimes equate “vegan” with “healthy,” and while a diet rich in vegetables, legumes, and grains is proven to decrease the likelihood you’ll develop some of the top leading causes of death in the United States, there’s plenty of vegan junk for folks who want to avoid animal products and live fast and hard.
Note that sweet vegan delicacies don’t need to be boujee products off the Whole Foods shelves. It doesn’t matter what dietary choices you make; nobody really wants to spend $4 on two peanut butter cups. Here are our favorite accidentally vegan candies.
Sour Patch Kids—or as I call them, “my children”—are the best vegan candy, full stop. Unlike many other gummies, these don’t contain gelatin, an agent usually made from boiling the skin, cartilage, and bones of pigs and cows.
The Watermelons, truthfully, edge out any one of the Kids in terms of flavor, but the variety in a pack of Kids makes them more enjoyable overall.
Bottle Caps are like Necco Wafers … if Necco Wafers actually tasted good. They’re old school—the type of candy your uncle may have kept in his jacket pocket—and the flavors are still novel. Root beer and cola are the best, but one can still marvel at how Nestle managed to make a candy not taste like orange, but like orange soda.
No trick-or-treating haul is complete without a cache of Smarties. But please please please don’t do anything but eat them.
The serving size for Nerds is whatever you can fit into your palm without any spilling down the creases. They’re just pellets of sugar and are, thus, vegan. Nerds Rope, tragically, are not.
Dum Dums are excellent if you want a bit of sweetness and a sudden, pellucid memory of when you got your booster shots.
Remember Cry Baby!? You probably bought these from an ice cream truck as a kid. Or maybe you picked them up like gold coins at the sudden beheading of a piñata. Either way, if you haven’t tried these as an adult, you should.
All the notes re: Cry Baby apply here.
These are great because they’re similar to Pixy Stix but with just enough work involved to make you feel like you really earned it. Do not, however, eat the Fun Dip stick after the powder is gone. You’re an adult now; there are better things to eat.
Despite being objectively bad, Mary Janes are pretty good. They’re also totally vegan. But don’t eat these if you have any issues with any of your teeth. Actually, they’re great for people who hate teeth.
Jolly Ranchers are also just pure sugar. Go ahead, make your tongue blue.
Here’s another classic gummy that avoids gelatin. Swedish Fish are a great snack at the movies and on long bus rides—provided that Sour Patch Kids are unavailable.
If you can, get the Skittles in the purple package, which contain the melon berry and raspberry flavors. Sour Skittles are also good. My boyfriend once told me that as a kid, he and his friends combined the tart sugar from half a dozen bags of Sour Skittles, ate the mixture, and ended up with mild chemical burns.
Twizzlers, like Limburger cheese, have a taste you appreciate more as you get older. Unlike Limburger cheese, however, it doesn’t contain products that come from the teats of an animal.
These popular candies are also vegan, but because I don’t like personally, I’m downgrading them to “honorable mention”: