Why You Should Avoid Foods With Confectioner's Glaze If You're Vegan

Many people believe that veganism means that a person practicing the lifestyle simply does not eat meat or dairy. In actuality, a vegan's dietary requirements are much more complex than that. According to Eating Well, there are many ingredients added to seemingly plant-based foods that actually make them off-limits for vegans. It may be worthwhile for vegans to familiarize themselves with common food additives, as many of them are derived from non vegan sources.

Unfortunately, food labeling does not make it easy for someone to determine whether or not a food is suitable for their dietary needs. Many of these animal products are disguised and labeled as other things.

According to I Love Vegan, looking for the Certified Vegan logo is a sure-fire way to ensure that your food comes from all-vegan sources. Unfortunately, manufacturers do not always understand the difference between vegan and cruelty-free and their labels often do not tell the whole story.

A common ingredient is made from insects

When it comes to truly vegan products, even everyday staples need to be vetted and sourced. It can be important for you to ask your grocer if their supplier of apples uses beeswax to preserve them, or if your wine vendor knows which producers use isinglass to clarify their wine, explains Healthier Steps. One ingredient that continually makes the list of ingredients added to food with suspicious origins is confectioner's glaze.

As Healthier Steps notes, confectioner's glaze is sometimes labeled as shellac or pure food glaze, but what's in a name really? Regardless of what it's listed as it's an additive that is derived from an animal source. Confectioner's glaze is actually made by pulverizing and processing branches covered in the secretions of the Kerria lacca insect, per Scientific American. The insect feeds off the sap of host trees and then secretes a substance that is purified into what we know as confectioner's glaze.

There's a lot to unpack here, but let's just stick to the fact that this product is not suitable for a vegan diet.

Vegans now have many alternatives

In addition to confectioner's glaze being used in foods like jelly beans and ice cream cones, it's also used in a variety of other industries as well. According to McGill University, the resin produced by the insects used to make confectioner's glaze, also provides the main ingredient in some floor finishes and its color can be extracted and used to make dye.

The food industry has been using confectioner's glaze as a means of making food shiny and moisture resistant for years, but if you are looking for an alternative, worry not because they do exist. According to Live Kindly, a corn-based substitute has been invented that provides the same cross-sector application that the traditional insect-derived ingredient does. The vegan alternative can be used in everything from candy to vegan makeup.

Many alternatives to traditional products exist for vegans now. Those who choose to practice a vegan lifestyle are able to choose from a wider variety of options. Alternatives can be found in just about every form, from vegan skincare to vegan clothing.