Choose Palm-Oil Free, Vegan Candy This Halloween
I have a major bone to pick with the ethical candy lists that come out each Halloween.
When I find a vegan list, it seems that sugar refined with bone char is never taken into consideration. These "accidentally vegan" lists don’t address palm-oil either. Though palm-oil free lists exist, they’re not vegan-friendly and tend to contain a lot of milk, gelatin, and the like. If you at all care about the ramifications of conflict palm-oil, you have to consider the environmental impact of animal agriculture, too.
For many years now, I've avoided the ritual of handing out candy because I lived in apartments. This year I find myself in a residential home, in a neighborhood with young kids, and I have a dilemma. What am I going to pass out?
Sure, there’s plenty of vegan and palm-oil free candy out there with fair trade, organic ingredients or direct trade chocolate. The problem is making that purchase cost-effective for 20, 40, sometimes 100 trick-or-treaters. With the following choices I'll discuss cost, availability, and answer a few questions you’re likely to have at the end:
Yum Earth Organics
What’s good? The Organic Pops are probably your best bet on this list as they are vegan, palm-oil free, and widely available at brick and mortar locations. They're also gluten-free, peanut-free, soy-free, and dyed with vegetables like organic black carrots. Bags are high-yielding with 40+ pops per bag.
Where can I find it? Health food stores. Most Whole Foods.
Great for: Medium to large crowds
What’s good? The Organic Dark Chocolate Minis are both cost-effective and ethical, but unfortunately a little tough to find this year. Each box contains 150 bars - all of which are vegan, soy-free, organic, and fair trade. The company recently confirmed that they are palm-oil free, as well.
Where can I find it? Select Whole Foods. Online: Equal Exchange*
Great for: Medium to large crowds
* EE is based in Massachusetts so you might get these by Halloween if you’re ordering them from the East Coast.
What’s good? The Trick or Treat Pack. These vegan fruit bears are gluten-free, soy-free, and made with organic fruit juice. Parents may dig these because they are free of the 10 most common allergens, and corn syrup. They come in packages of 20.
Where can I find it? Health food stores, select Whole Foods. Online: Amazon Prime
Great for: Small to medium crowds
What’s good? The 1-lb bag of Original Cocomels, which do look different from the boxes above. The ingredient list for these creamy candies is simplistic, organic, vegan, and palm-oil free. Each bag contains roughly 50 candies. You should also know that a pound of “Imperfect Cocomels” is $9.99! But, the company seems hesitant to suggest these are good for gifting.
Where can I find it? You’ll likely only find the 1-lb bags online.
Great for: Small crowds
And now, on to what you're probably (rightfully) thinking:
This list is too small.
Of course, it’s too small! I absolutely agree with you. And that should anger you, really. Candy is a luxury item, something fun and frivolous, and it should never contain ingredients that cause environmental degradation or animal cruelty—two things I would deem neither fun nor frivolous.
This is over my budget.
These costs could seem high to you because the market for holiday candy is rife with low-cost offerings in bulk. My housemates claim that they get about 40 kids each year so we'll probably just buy 2 packages of Yum Earth Organics for $11. If we were expecting more kiddos, I might have ordered Equal Exchange Minis in advance and just nom'd on the leftovers.
How can I make this list bigger?
Lobby your favorite conflict-free candy company and ask them to make Halloween packs next year. Start a friendly petition. Increase demand for these products!
Halloween certainly isn't mandatory and many families choose not to trick-or-treat. For those who do participate, it's good to know that you don't have to suspend your beliefs for a night just to accommodate some (really adorable) youngsters. Making responsible consumer choices, in part, ensures the future in which they'll grow up so, really, it's all good ▲