Why is Confectioners Glaze Not Vegan?


shiny candy

Confectioners’ glaze, also known as pharmaceutical glaze (not quite as appetizing, is it?), is used in a variety of candy with a shiny outer coating.

Mike and Ike’s are the common example that is brought up.

There have been many claims that Mike and Ike’s are vegan, but that’s because most wouldn’t think that confectioners’ glaze has animal products.

But it does (in almost all cases).

Almost all confectioners glaze contains shellac. There are a few other organic compounds that evaporate off later, but those would all be considered vegan.

You can certainly make a vegan version of glaze, but it’s not that common to find in a product or in stores.

Why is Shellac Not Vegan?

colors of shellac

While it’s a bit of a grey area, shellac is not vegan.

I’ll give you a quick summary of shellac and veganism:

  • Shellac is derived from beetle excretions on bark.
  • In the modern shellac industry, bugs are regularly killed to obtain it.
  • Besides being gross, bugs are still animals, and shellac is not vegan.

Ultimately it’s still up to you.

Some vegans think it’s fine to eat honey, and shellac is pretty comparable to honey. People also consume shellac on fruit often without even knowing it.

So for the majority of vegans, confectioners’ glaze is not vegan friendly, but you will have to make your own decision, it’s not like there’s a vegan handbook that has firm rules.

Vegan Confectioners Glaze May Come in the Future

There are companies like FloZein, who have created an alternative to shellac that’s arguably superior, that comes from corn (and is vegan).

Granted, it’s hard to convince large candy companies to switch to an alternative, but if you see “confectioners glaze” in a product that says it’s vegan, it probably uses an alternative to shellac like this.

So while it may not happen overnight, hopefully all glaze will be vegan one day.

About the author

Dale Cudmore

Your friendly neighborhood vegan from Toronto. Chemical engineer turned semi-professional soccer player and freelance nutrition writer. I've been vegan for years and try to make life easier for others by sharing what I've learned.

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