Can you still eat Junior Mints after going vegan?
It depends on how strict of a vegan you want to be, and what risks you’re willing to take.
Let me quickly explain why Tootsie’s chocolate-covered candy probably isn’t vegan, but there’s a chance that it is.
Ingredients in Junior Mints
There are 2 potential issues from the ingredients list:
Sugar, Semi-Sweet Chocolate (Sugar, Chocolate Processed with Alkali, Cocoa Butter, Soy Lecithin, Vanillin), Corn Syrup, Confectioner’s Glaze, Food Starch-Modified, Peppermint Oil, Invertase (An Enzyme).
Confectioner’s glaze is the most obvious problem, since confectioner’s glaze usually isn’t vegan. It typically contains shellac, a product of beetles.
But there’s a chance that it is, and some vegans don’t consider insects to be animals.
So if you are okay with that, the other issue is the sugar.
Like most American candy, it has white sugar in it (when you just see “sugar,” that’s what it is).
The Problem With Sugar in America for Vegans
White and brown sugar in the U.S. often isn’t vegan. It’s processed with bone char to make it as white as possible (brown sugar is then made from white sugar).
Most sugar brands are bone char free these days, but there are a few BIG manufacturers who still use it.
When it comes to candy companies like Tootsie who need a lot of sugar, they typically source their sugar from the largest, cheapest companies. Unfortunately, that increases the chance that the sugar in Junior Mints is not vegan.
Verdict: Junior Mints Are Likely Not Vegan-Friendly
If I had to put a number on it, I’d say it’s over 50% based on the sugar and confectioner’s glaze.
Personally, I don’t like taking the risk, especially when it comes to candy (do I really need to eat more junk?).
However, you have to make your own call, because this is a grey area. Ultimately, you only answer to yourself, so make the decision that makes you happiest.