Are Swedish Fish Vegan? Examining The Ingredients

Swedish Fish are a classic chewy candy that have been around for decades. But if you follow a vegan diet, can you enjoy these nostalgic treats guilt-free? With mysterious labeling like ‘natural flavors’, it can be tricky to tell.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Most Swedish Fish are not vegan due to containing animal-derived ingredients like gelatin and beeswax.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll investigate Swedish Fish ingredients, look at vegan alternatives, and outline some homemade Swedish Fish recipes to satisfy your candy craving the plant-based way.

Analyzing Standard Swedish Fish Ingredients


One of the main ingredients in Swedish Fish is gelatin. Gelatin is a protein derived from animal sources, typically from the collagen found in the skin, bones, and connective tissues of animals. It is commonly used as a gelling agent in various food products, including candies like Swedish Fish.

Gelatin gives the candy its chewy texture, but it is important to note that it is derived from animals, making it unsuitable for vegans.

Gelatin is a common ingredient in many types of gummy candies, marshmallows, and other confectioneries. However, there are vegan alternatives available in the market that use plant-based gelling agents like agar-agar or pectin.

So, if you’re looking for vegan-friendly gummy candies, it’s a good idea to check the ingredient list and look for alternatives to gelatin.


Another ingredient found in Swedish Fish is beeswax. Beeswax is a natural wax produced by honeybees and is commonly used in various products, including cosmetics, candles, and even some candies. In Swedish Fish, beeswax is used as a glazing agent to give the candies a shiny appearance.

For vegans, the use of beeswax in Swedish Fish is a concern as it is an animal-derived product. Vegans avoid using any animal by-products, including beeswax, as it is obtained from bees. However, it’s important to note that not all gummy candies contain beeswax, and there are vegan alternatives available in the market that use plant-based glazing agents.

Natural Flavors

The term “natural flavors” is a commonly used ingredient in various food products, including Swedish Fish. While the exact composition of these natural flavors is often undisclosed, they are typically derived from natural sources such as fruits, vegetables, or spices.

Although the term “natural” may sound vegan-friendly, it’s important to note that natural flavors can sometimes be derived from animal sources as well. To determine the vegan status of Swedish Fish or any other product, it’s recommended to reach out to the manufacturer or check for vegan certifications on the packaging.

It’s worth mentioning that some Swedish Fish alternatives, such as Surf Sweets Organic Fruity Bears, are explicitly labeled as vegan and do not contain gelatin, beeswax, or any other animal-derived ingredients.

So, if you’re looking for a vegan-friendly alternative to Swedish Fish, these options are worth exploring.

Specialty Vegan Swedish Fish Options

For those who follow a vegan lifestyle, finding delicious and satisfying treats can sometimes be a challenge. However, when it comes to Swedish Fish, there are a few specialty options available that are completely vegan-friendly.

These alternatives provide all the fruity flavor and chewy texture that Swedish Fish are known for, without any animal-derived ingredients.

Vegan Robber’s Swedish Fish

Vegan Robber’s Swedish Fish is a popular choice among vegans looking for a cruelty-free alternative to the classic candy. These tasty treats are made with plant-based ingredients, such as agar-agar, a vegan-friendly substitute for gelatin.

Agar-agar is derived from seaweed and is used as a gelling agent in many vegan desserts and candies. Vegan Robber’s Swedish Fish are also free from artificial colors and flavors, making them a healthier option for those with dietary restrictions.

Annie’s Vegan Swedish Fish

Annie’s, a well-known brand for its organic and natural food products, offers a vegan version of Swedish Fish that is loved by many. These fruity candies are made with organic fruit juice concentrates and do not contain any animal-derived ingredients.

Annie’s Vegan Swedish Fish are also free from artificial colors and flavors, making them a guilt-free choice for vegans and those with dietary sensitivities.

Trader Joe’s Scandinavian Swimmers

If you’re a fan of Swedish Fish and enjoy shopping at Trader Joe’s, you’re in luck! Trader Joe’s offers their own vegan-friendly take on the classic candy with their Scandinavian Swimmers. These fish-shaped gummies are made with natural fruit flavors and colors, and they are free from gelatin and other animal-derived ingredients.

They come in a variety of flavors, including cherry, lemon, and orange, providing a burst of fruity goodness in every bite.

When it comes to vegan Swedish Fish, it’s important to read the labels carefully to ensure that the ingredients meet your dietary needs. While these specialty options mentioned above are vegan-friendly, other brands or variations of Swedish Fish may contain gelatin or other animal-derived ingredients.

Always double-check the packaging or reach out to the manufacturer if you’re unsure about a specific product.

So, if you’re a vegan craving a nostalgic and chewy candy experience, give these specialty vegan Swedish Fish options a try. They offer a delightful and guilt-free treat that you can enjoy without compromising your dietary choices. Happy snacking!

Make Your Own Vegan Swedish Fish

Swedish Fish are a popular candy known for their chewy texture and fruity flavor. However, if you follow a vegan lifestyle, you may be wondering if these sweet treats are suitable for you. The good news is that it is possible to make your own vegan Swedish Fish at home using alternative ingredients.

In this article, we will explore three different recipes that use plant-based alternatives to create delicious and cruelty-free Swedish Fish.

Agar Agar Swedish Fish

One option for making vegan Swedish Fish is to use agar agar as a gelling agent. Agar agar is derived from seaweed and is often used as a vegan substitute for gelatin. To make agar agar Swedish Fish, you will need agar agar powder, fruit juice of your choice, sugar, and a few other ingredients.

Simply mix the agar agar powder with fruit juice and sugar, heat the mixture until it thickens, and then pour it into fish-shaped molds. Allow the mixture to set in the refrigerator, and voila! You have your own homemade vegan Swedish Fish.

Pectin Swedish Fish

Another option for making vegan Swedish Fish is to use pectin as a gelling agent. Pectin is a naturally occurring substance found in fruits and is commonly used in the production of jams and jellies. To make pectin Swedish Fish, you will need pectin powder, fruit juice, sugar, and other flavorings of your choice.

Heat the fruit juice and sugar together until the sugar dissolves, then add the pectin and any additional flavorings. Pour the mixture into fish-shaped molds and allow it to set in the refrigerator. Soon enough, you’ll have a batch of vegan Swedish Fish ready to enjoy.

Carrageenan Swedish Fish

Carrageenan is another plant-based alternative that can be used to make vegan Swedish Fish. Carrageenan is derived from seaweed and is often used as a thickening agent in food products. To make carrageenan Swedish Fish, you will need carrageenan powder, fruit juice, sugar, and other flavorings.

Mix the carrageenan powder with fruit juice and sugar, heat the mixture until it thickens, and then pour it into fish-shaped molds. Once the mixture sets in the refrigerator, you’ll have a batch of vegan Swedish Fish that are both delicious and animal-friendly.

By making your own vegan Swedish Fish, you can indulge in this popular candy without compromising your dietary choices. Whether you choose to use agar agar, pectin, or carrageenan as your gelling agent, the end result will be a chewy and flavorful treat that is suitable for vegans.

So why not give one of these recipes a try and satisfy your sweet tooth in a compassionate way?

Swedish Fish Nutrition Facts

When it comes to determining whether Swedish Fish are vegan or not, it is important to examine their nutrition facts. Let’s take a closer look at some key aspects of their ingredients.

Sugar Content

One of the main ingredients in Swedish Fish is sugar. These chewy candies have a sweet taste that many people enjoy. However, it is important to note that the sugar used in Swedish Fish is not derived from animal sources.

The sugar used in these candies is typically made from beets or cane sugar, which makes them suitable for vegans.

Artificial Colors

Another aspect to consider when determining the vegan status of Swedish Fish is the presence of artificial colors. These candies are known for their vibrant red color. The red color in Swedish Fish is typically achieved using artificial food coloring, such as Red 40.

While artificial colors are generally considered safe for consumption, some vegans may choose to avoid them due to personal preferences or concerns about their manufacturing process.


Swedish Fish do not contain common allergens such as milk, eggs, or nuts. This makes them a suitable choice for individuals with food allergies or dietary restrictions. However, it is important to always check the packaging for any potential allergen warnings or changes in ingredients, as manufacturers may modify their recipes over time.

It is worth noting that while Swedish Fish are generally considered vegan-friendly, individual dietary choices may vary. Some vegans may choose to avoid certain ingredients, such as artificial colors, for personal or ethical reasons.

If you have specific dietary concerns or preferences, it is always best to consult the ingredient list and make an informed decision based on your individual needs.

Swedish Fish History and Origin

The history of Swedish Fish dates back to the 1950s when they were first invented in Sweden. The exact origins of the candy are not well-documented, but it is believed that they were created by a Swedish candy manufacturer who was experimenting with different gummy candy recipes.

These red-colored fish-shaped candies quickly became popular in Sweden and gained a loyal following.

Invention in Sweden

Swedish Fish were originally invented as a fruity-flavored candy that was enjoyed by both children and adults. The candy’s unique texture, combined with its sweet and tangy flavor, made it a hit among candy lovers in Sweden.

The original recipe for Swedish Fish remains a closely guarded secret, but it is known to contain ingredients like sugar, glucose syrup, and natural flavors.

Imported by Malaco

In the 1960s, Swedish Fish made their way to the United States when they were imported by the Swedish candy company Malaco. Malaco recognized the potential of Swedish Fish in the American market and began distributing them to candy stores and supermarkets across the country.

The popularity of the candy quickly grew, and it became a staple treat for many Americans.

Pop Culture Appearances

Over the years, Swedish Fish have made numerous appearances in popular culture. They have been featured in movies, television shows, and even video games. Swedish Fish are often associated with nostalgia and are seen as a classic candy that brings back fond memories of childhood.

Their iconic red color and distinctive fish shape have made them recognizable to people of all ages.

Today, Swedish Fish continue to be enjoyed by people around the world. Their unique taste and playful shape have made them a beloved candy for generations. Whether you’re a fan of fruity gummy candies or you simply enjoy a sweet treat now and then, Swedish Fish are sure to satisfy your cravings.


While classic Swedish Fish aren’t vegan due to animal-derived ingredients like gelatin, specialty brands are making fish-shaped candy that even plant-based eaters can enjoy. With a few easy substitutions, you can also DIY Swedish Fish at home.

So if you’re feeling nostalgic for a chewy fish-shaped treat, there are now plenty of ways to satisfy your sweet tooth while sticking to your vegan diet. Just be sure to double check the ingredients list and look for a trustworthy vegan brand.

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