Are Reese's Pieces Vegan?
Reese's Pieces are a fairly popular candy, a spin-off of the classic Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. They're quite tasty, and their hard outer coating means they won't melt all over your hands like the Peanut Butter Cups can. However, those of us who care about animal welfare and ethicality in food production, and express this passion by following a vegan diet, must not give in to a tempting food just because it tastes good—we must always check if the food is truly vegan before eating.
Are Reese's Pieces vegan? Absolutely not. This follows a common trend of candies and confections containing animal products you might not suspect, like we've seen with the ingredients in caramel candy. If you have a craving for some sweet and peanut-buttery, try Pasokin Original Peanut Snack instead. This traditional Brazilian treat contains absolutely no animal by-products, and comes in small bite-sized pieces. Plus, each piece contains just 75 calories, with 2 grams of protein and 1 gram of dietary fiber, making it a considerably healthier choice than most candies. (Though, of course, you should still eat it in moderation!)
Reeses Pieces Vegan and Non-Vegan Ingredients
What makes Reese's Pieces non-vegan? There are a couple of ingredients to be aware of. As with many processed foods, the exact ingredients list of Reese's Pieces can vary by when it is bought, as companies change up their recipes some time, as well as by where you purchase it, as the same product can have different recipes in different countries. So, what you see on your own pack of Reese's Pieces could vary slightly from the list below. But, the general outline of Reese's Pieces ingredients is as follows:
- Partially defatted peanuts
- Partially hydrogenated vegetable oil
- Corn syrup
- Artificial colors
- Resinous glaze
- Soy lecithin
- Corn starch
- Carnauba wax
- Artificial flavor
Most of the ingredients in this confection are vegan-friendly, but with two exceptions: Resinous glaze and milk. The presence of these two things means that vegans should not eat Reese's Pieces. Now, let's take a look at why exactly these ingredients are not vegan-friendly.
Vegans Should Not Eat This Candy!
For those who do not know, milk is not considered vegan even though it is vegetarian. This is because vegans do not eat or use any product that has been made through the exploitation of animals. Though milk is not meat, it is still taken from mother cows in an exploitative manner, making it overall unethical to produce and consume. Reese's Pieces contain milk, and this is one of two reasons why the candy is unsuitable for people who follow the vegan diet.
Resinous glaze is an animal-exploiting ingredient that might not seem like it just from the name. The phrase "resinous glaze" purposefully hides the way this ingredient is really made. The Kerria lacca species of insect, native to Asia, is farmed for its bodily secretions. These secretions are collected, then filtered and refined into a glaze. Since insects are, in fact, animals, consuming products derived from them is considered non-vegan by most practitioners of the lifestyle. However, some vegans do find it acceptable to consume insect-derived products, citing the fact that such animals are not conscious on the same level as larger animals. Nevertheless, even vegans who still consume insect products cannot eat Reese's Pieces due to the inclusion of milk, an unarguably non-vegan food.
In a world where animals are increasingly exploited and mistreated, making a difference by following a vegan diet is crucial, not only to prevent animals' suffering but also to protect the planet. This T-shirt says it perfectly: "Be kind to every kind"! If you're someone who follows a vegan diet, you definitely should not eat Reese's Pieces. But, this doesn't mean you can't enjoy other peanut butter flavored candies that are guaranteed vegan. Remember to always check product labels, even if you wouldn't have suspected any animal products. You never know what is hidden in your food unless you educate yourself.
*Image of Reese's Pieces out of the bag taken from Frozu.