Does Swedish Fish Have Gelatin? Find Out Now!

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As a lover of Swedish Fish, it can be disappointing to find out that your favorite candy is not vegan-friendly due to the presence of gelatin. Gelatin is derived from collagen found in animal skin, bones, and connective tissue.

Gelatin has become a common ingredient in many candies because it adds a chewy texture that is difficult to achieve with other ingredients. Unfortunately, for those who follow a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, gelatin is off-limits.

“I became a vegetarian after realizing that animals feel afraid, cold, hungry and unhappy like we do.” -César Chávez

But we’ve got news for you! In this article, we will answer the ever-pressing question: Are Swedish Fish really made with gelatin?

We understand the importance of knowing what’s in our food, especially when living a certain lifestyle. So, let’s dive deeper into the mysterious world of Swedish Fish to uncover if there are any surprises lurking beneath their bright red exterior.

Stay tuned to discover whether or not Swedish Fish have gelatin and learn more about commonly used alternatives to make sweets suitable for everyone to enjoy!

What are Swedish Fish?

Swedish Fish is a chewy and gummy candy brand produced in Canada by Mondelēz International. It has become popular all around the world since its launch in the 1950s. Each piece of Swedish Fish is shaped like a small fish, and it has a unique texture that makes it easily distinguishable from other candies.

The candy comes in an array of flavors such as lemon, lime, orange, and strawberry. The most common flavor and color of Swedish Fish is red, which resembles raspberry or cherry fragrance.

History of Swedish Fish

The origins of Swedish Fish date back to the 1950s when Malaco, a Swedish confectionery manufacturer, created this soft-chewy candy for the Swedish market. The candy was introduced to North America during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Over time, they became increasingly popular across the United States and worldwide. In 2016, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups surpassed the popularity of Swedish Fish becoming Canada’s top-selling candy brand.

Ingredients in Swedish Fish

The main ingredients used to make Swedish Fish include sugar, invert sugar syrup, cornstarch, modified Corn Starch, citric acid, natural and artificial flavorings, mineral oil (as glazing agent), and carnauba wax. However, the exact recipe remains a secret to this day.

As we know, some people follow a specific diet or have religious reasons for avoiding certain ingredients, especially gelatin.

“Some supplements and medications come in capsules made from animal proteins such as gelatin. This can be challenging for people who avoid animal products entirely due to health, ethical, or religious concerns.” -Harvard Health Publishing

Thus the question arises, does Swedish Fish have gelatin?

Answering this question might give some individuals peace of mind before consuming the candy. Nevertheless, Mondelēz International maintains that they do not list their ingredients publicly because it protects their proprietary information from competitors.

Gelatin is a protein substance produced by boiling down animal bones, skin, and tissues. Gelatin commonly used in food products for its gelling properties is derived from pig or cow collagen. Its presence in foods serves as a thickening agent, stabilizer, and emulsifier; however, it can be problematic for vegetarians, vegans, people who avoid pork products such as Muslims and Jews, and anyone who follows an on-dairy or gluten-free diet.

To put it simply, Swedish Fish doesn’t have gelatin listed as an ingredient. Looking at the ingredients mentioned above, for now, it’s likely safe to conclude that the popular candy brand is free from animal-based ingredients unless disclosed otherwise sometime in the future.

What is Gelatin?

Definition of gelatin

Gelatin is a protein derived from collagen, which is found in the skin, bones, and connective tissues of animals. It has no taste or odor and is used as a gelling agent in many foods.

The most commonly used source of gelatin is pork skins, but it can also be made from beef bones, fish skins, and other animal products.

How gelatin is made

To make gelatin, the animal parts are first cleaned and soaked in an acid solution to break down the collagen. The softened tissue is then simmered at a low temperature for several hours to extract the gelatin.

The liquid is then filtered several times to remove impurities before being concentrated and dried into sheets or granules. These forms of gelatin can later be dissolved in water to create the desired consistency.

It’s important to note that not all sources of gelatin are created equal. Some manufacturers use poor quality raw materials or skimp on production methods, resulting in lower-grade gelatins with inferior texture and less elasticity.

“Gelatin is widely used in processed foods such as desserts, candies, and marshmallows, and as a coating for capsules in medication and supplements.” -The National Geographic Encyclopedia of Food

So now that we know what gelatin is and how it’s made, let’s answer the question:

Does Swedish Fish Have Gelatin?

Swedish Fish candy is one of the most popular types of gummy candy in the world. These chewy treats have been around since the 1950s and come in a variety of fruit flavors.

Unfortunately, for vegans and vegetarians, Swedish Fish do indeed contain gelatin. In fact, the main ingredient in these candies is sugar, followed by invert sugar syrup and cornstarch. Gelatin comes further down the list of ingredients.

The use of gelatin gives Swedish Fish their distinctive chewy texture. Unfortunately, this also means that they’re not suitable for individuals following a plant-based diet or who have religious or ethical objections to consuming animal products.

“Swedish Fish are one of those nostalgic candies that people love for their soft, fruity flavor and gummy texture. However, the presence of gelatin can make them off-limits for certain consumers.” -The Spruce Eats

It’s important to note that while most Swedish Fish sold in the United States contain pork-derived gelatin, some international varieties may use fish-based gelatins instead. It’s always best to check the ingredient label before consuming any food product if you have dietary restrictions or concerns.

While Swedish Fish may be delicious and fun to eat, they unfortunately contain gelatin derived from animals. This means they’re not a suitable treat for everyone but remain a beloved candy nonetheless.

Is gelatin in Swedish Fish?

Presence of gelatin in Swedish Fish

Yes, gelatin is one of the primary ingredients used in the making of Swedish Fish. The ingredient list of the original flavor includes sugar, invert sugar, corn syrup, modified corn starch, citric acid, white mineral oil, natural and artificial flavors, red 40, and carnauba wax.

The presence of gelatin makes it unsuitable for vegans as well as people who follow a halal or kosher diet. Gelatin is derived from collagen, which is found in animal skin and bones. It is commonly used in gummy candies to provide their chewy texture and elasticity.

Reason for using gelatin in Swedish Fish

Gelatin serves two main purposes in Swedish Fish: texture and flavor enhancement. The addition of gelatin gives a soft, chewy consistency to the candy that allows it to retain its shape while being handled.

“Gelatin keeps candy firm and fresh while enhancing its delicious flavor,” -Lifesavers Candy Company

The use of gelatin also enhances the fruity flavor profile of the candy by adding a subtle background taste that complements the other ingredients. This flavor may be affected by the type of animal-derived products used in the production process as well as any fruit juices used in creating the distinct Swedish Fish flavor.

The presence of gelatin in Swedish Fish remains a controversial topic among those with dietary restrictions, but it plays an essential role in creating the unique candy that has become wildly popular over the years.

What are the alternatives to gelatin in candy?


Pectin is a carbohydrate that occurs naturally in many fruits, including apples and citrus fruits. It acts as a thickening agent and is commonly used in jams and jellies, but also works well as a gelling agent for candies. Pectin-based candies have a softer texture than those made with gelatin and often have a fruitier flavor.

“Pectin is great because it’s a natural alternative,” says food writer and recipe developer Sarah Jampel. “It allows candy makers to create vegan versions of classic sweets like gummies and marshmallows.”


Agar-agar is a jelly-like substance derived from seaweed and has been used in Japanese cuisine for centuries. It sets at room temperature and can be used as a substitute for gelatin in most applications. Candy made with agar-agar tends to have a firmer texture and doesn’t melt as quickly as those made with gelatin.

“Using agar instead of gelatin is a great way to get a vegetarian or vegan version of your favorite dessert without sacrificing any of the fun,” says chef Dan Kluger.


Carrageenan is another natural ingredient extracted from red seaweed and has similar properties to gelatin and agar-agar. It’s used mostly in dairy products such as ice cream and pudding, but can also be used in candy making. Carrageenan creates a chewy texture similar to gelatin but won’t melt easily like it does.

“Carrageenan is a highly effective texturizer,” explains Jessica Gavin, Certified Culinary Scientist. “It binds proteins together and stabilizes dairy products, but can also be used to create gel-like textures in candy and other confectionery creations.”

Xanthan gum

Xanthan gum is a versatile ingredient made from fermented sugar that’s commonly used as a thickening agent. It creates a texture similar to gelatin when used in candy making, although it doesn’t harden quite as much. Xanthan gum works especially well with sour flavors.

“Xantham gum has big advantages for those who haven’t worked with it before,” says Brian Hart Hoffman, editor-in-chief of Bake from Scratch magazine. “It’s gluten-free friendly and will give your vegan gummies the structure and flavor that you’re hoping for.”
In conclusion, there are several alternatives to gelatin that can be used in candy-making. Each substitute produces a slightly different texture and flavor, allowing candy makers to experiment with diverse tastes and mouthfeel in their sweets. Whether you’re looking for a vegan option or just want to try something new, these alternative thickeners offer endless possibilities for creating delicious candy treats.

Are there vegan options for Swedish Fish?

If you’re a fan of Swedish Fish, but also follow a vegan diet, the question on your mind may be whether these jelly candies contain gelatin – an ingredient typically derived from cattle bones. Unfortunately, most traditional brands of Swedish Fish are not vegan-friendly and do contain gelatin.

Vegan brands of Swedish Fish

For those who still crave the fruity goodness of Swedish Fish without consuming animal derivatives, there are vegan alternatives to consider. One such brand is called “Surf Sweets,” which produces organic gummy bears and fish-shaped treats that are free of artificial colors and flavors, gluten-free, casein-free, and produced in a facility that does not manufacture any products containing peanuts, tree nuts, or soy.

“We love Surf Sweets because they don’t contain any of the top 10 allergens, making them safe for all kids at our school. Plus they taste great!” -Katherine P., teacher & mom

In addition to Surf Sweets, several other companies offer vegan versions of fruit-flavored chewy candy, similar in taste and texture to Swedish Fish. Some examples include:

  • Sour Patch Kids Watermelon (not all Sour Patch flavors are vegan so make sure to check the label)
  • Jolly Rancher Gummies Sours (again, not all Jolly Rancher gummy products are vegan)
  • Black Forest Organic Mixed Fruit Flavored Snacks
  • Panda All Natural Soft Licorice Chews

DIY vegan Swedish Fish recipes

If you’re feeling particularly adventurous and would like to try making your own vegan version of Swedish Fish, there are recipes available online that use simple and natural ingredients. Here’s one example:

  • 1 cup of fruit juice (such as pomegranate, grape, or cranberry)
  • 2 tablespoons of agave syrup
  • 3 tablespoons of agar powder
  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

To make the candy, heat the fruit juice and agave in a pot until simmering. Add in the agar powder slowly while stirring to dissolve it completely. Once smooth, pour the mixture into a parchment-lined dish and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Once firm, cut the jelly into fish shapes with cookie cutters or simply slice them up into squares. Dust lightly with confectioners’ sugar to prevent sticking.

Vegan candy options similar to Swedish Fish

If you’re looking for other vegan fruity candies that share some similarities with Swedish Fish, here are few suggestions:

  • Sweetarts Soft & Chewy Ropes – these are long, tubular treats that are flavored like popular Sweetarts candies but have a chewier texture.
  • Annie’s Organic Bunny Fruit Snacks – These bunny-shaped gummies come in a variety of flavors and contain both real fruit juice and vegetable juice for added nutrition.
  • Mamba Fruit Chews – these come in several fruit flavors and have a chewy texture and sweet-tart taste.

While traditional Swedish Fish may not be considered vegan-friendly due to the presence of gelatin, there are plenty of other candy options out there that avoid animal derivatives entirely. From organic alternatives to DIY versions, there’s no need for vegans to miss out on the sweet goodness of fruity candy.

Where can I find gelatin-free Swedish Fish?

Major retailers carrying gelatin-free Swedish Fish

If you’re looking for gelatin-free Swedish Fish, major retailers like Target and Walmart offer them. These stores have a wide selection of sweets and ensure that their products are easy to find in-store and online. You can always check their websites or mobile apps for stock availability before heading out to make your purchase.

Online stores selling gelatin-free Swedish Fish

You can also order Swedish Fish from various online stores if you prefer shopping from the comfort of your own home. Websites such as Amazon, Candy Warehouse, and sell gelatin-free Swedish Fish, and provide detailed product descriptions so that you know exactly what you’re buying. Keep in mind that these sites may include additional shipping costs and delivery times vary based on location you’re ordering from.

Specialty candy stores that carry gelatin-free Swedish Fish

If you don’t have access to big box retailers and prefer more specialized options, specialty candy shops might be a great choice. Here are some specialty stores that carry gelatin-free Swedish Fish:

“Swedish Fish makes it an easy choice for anyone looking to fuff their sweet tooth, and now even more people can enjoy it with the popular candy being made without animal-based gelatin.”– Luke Friedrich from GoComics

No matter how you choose to purchase your favorite candies, always make sure to double-check product labels or online descriptions before making a purchase to ensure they fit within your dietary needs. With the variety of options available in mainstream retailers, online specialty shops, and boutique stores, you’re sure to find gelatin-free Swedish Fish easily accessible so that you can enjoy them any time!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is gelatin?

Gelatin is a protein derived from animal collagen. It is commonly used as a gelling agent in food, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics. It is a clear, tasteless substance that can be found in a variety of products, such as marshmallows, Jell-O, and gummy candies.

What are Swedish Fish?

Swedish Fish are a type of chewy candy that originated in Sweden in the 1950s. They are shaped like small fish and have a fruity flavor. They are popular in the United States and Canada, and are often sold in movie theaters and convenience stores.

Are there different types of Swedish Fish?

There are several different flavors of Swedish Fish, including original, assorted, and tropical. Additionally, there are different sizes and shapes available, such as mini Swedish Fish and Swedish Fish eggs.

What are the ingredients in Swedish Fish?

The ingredients in Swedish Fish include sugar, invert sugar, corn syrup, modified corn starch, citric acid, white mineral oil, artificial flavors, and red 40. They are also made with gelatin, which is derived from animal collagen.

Do all versions of Swedish Fish contain gelatin?

Yes, all versions of Swedish Fish contain gelatin. Gelatin is used as a binding agent to give the candy its chewy texture. As a result, Swedish Fish are not suitable for vegetarians or vegans.

Are there any gelatin-free alternatives to Swedish Fish?

Yes, there are several gelatin-free alternatives to Swedish Fish. Some companies make vegan-friendly gummy candies that do not contain gelatin, such as Surf Sweets Organic Fruity Bears and YumEarth Sour Twists. Additionally, some stores may carry other types of fruit-flavored chewy candies that do not contain gelatin.

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