Identifying whether a brand or company like Hershey’s is vegan can be quite challenging.
This difficulty often stems from manufacturers cleverly obscuring the nature and source of their ingredients.
In this article, we’re going to unravel the truth and provide you with the information you need to support your compassionate, vegan lifestyle.
Are Hershey’s Kisses Vegan?
Unfortunately, the vast majority of Hershey’s chocolate candy products, including the much-loved Hershey’s Kisses, are not vegan. While they offer a variety of sweets, from milk chocolate to dark chocolate and even white chocolate, most of these contain milk components or milk solids, which are not suitable for a vegan diet.
Are Hershey’s Kisses Cruelty-Free?
The Hershey Company claims to prioritize ethical sourcing and has initiated projects for sustainable cocoa farming. Furthermore, according to the Hershey website, the brand does not “conduct, fund, or contribute to animal testing.”
It’s safe to say that Hershey’s Kisses are cruelty-free.
What Are Hershey’s Kisses Made Of?
Hershey’s Kisses are a popular bite-sized confectionery product produced by the Hershey Company. Known for their distinctive shape, similar to that of a teardrop, they are a favorite among children and adults alike. But what exactly goes into this sweet treat?
Here are the key ingredients in Hershey’s Kisses:
- Milk chocolate
- Cocoa butter
- Soy lecithin
- Natural flavor
Milk Chocolate is a sweet, smooth chocolate that is rich in both flavor and texture. It originates from cocoa beans, which are harvested from the cacao tree. The cocoa beans are fermented, dried, roasted, and then ground into a paste called chocolate liquor. This liquor is then combined with milk and sugar to create milk chocolate. Because it contains milk, it is not vegan.
Sugar, a sweetener used in a multitude of foods and beverages, is derived from two main sources: sugarcane and sugar beet. It contributes to the sweetness of the Hershey’s Kisses.
While sugar itself is a plant-based product and can technically be considered vegan, some sugar (especially in the US) is processed using bone char (from animals), making it non-vegan.
However, Hershey has confirmed that it sources vegan sugar for its products.
Milk is a dairy product that comes from cows. It provides a creamy texture and adds to the rich flavor of the milk chocolate. Due to its animal origin, milk is not vegan.
Cocoa butter is a type of fat that comes from cocoa beans. It is responsible for giving chocolate its creamy texture and melt-in-your-mouth feel. Cocoa butter is a plant-based ingredient and is therefore considered vegan.
In the context of Hershey’s ingredients, “chocolate” refers to the combination of cocoa solids and cocoa butter. This ingredient adds a deep, robust flavor to the product. While chocolate itself is vegan, Hershey’s Kisses are not.
Soy lecithin is a by-product of the soybean oil production process. It acts as an emulsifier, helping to prevent the chocolate from separating and ensuring a smooth, consistent texture. Soy lecithin is plant based and is therefore vegan friendly.
The term natural flavor refers to flavoring agents that are derived from natural sources such as plants, animals, or yeast. Hershey’s has not specified what exactly their natural flavors consist of.
If they are plant-derived, they would be considered vegan. If derived from animal sources, they would not be vegan. For a definitive answer, it would be necessary to contact Hershey’s directly.
Vegan Alternatives to Hershey’s Kisses?
Thankfully, there are many vegan chocolate kisses out there that maintain that smooth and creamy texture we all love. These vegan chocolates use plant-based milk like oat milk or almond milk, and ingredients such as coconut oil and cocoa butter instead of milk fat, creating a delightful vegan treat. Some alternatives include:
- Endangered Species Dark Chocolate: Vegan, dairy-free, and uses ethically sourced cocoa.
- Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips: These could serve as mini Hershey’s Kisses alternatives. They are vegan, dairy-free, and melt smoothly for dessert cuisine or candy making.
- PASCHA Organic Dark Chocolate: Vegan and dairy-free, these chocolates offer a rich, smooth texture, perfect for a lighter chocolate experience.
- Vegan white chocolate alternatives: There are also numerous brands offering vegan white chocolate free from dairy, such as King David Vegan White Chocolate.
To keep your vegan chocolates fresh, store them in an airtight container.
In conclusion, while Hershey’s Kisses brand may have a smooth and creamy texture, they are not suitable for vegans. The inclusion of milk products and milk solids in their recipes prohibits their classification as vegan foods.
Despite this, there is a growing selection of vegan alternatives in the marketplace that deliver on taste, texture, and ethical sourcing. The world of vegan chocolates is wide and delicious; your next favorite treat could be just around the corner.
Stay committed to your values, explore, and enjoy!