Is Hi-Chew Candy From Morinaga HALAL or HARAM? (2023)
Muslim consumers globally are very particular about the dietary guidelines mandated by our faith. The halal diet is an essential component, governing not just the consumption of meat but also other food categories like seafood.
One popular treat that has garnered the attention of many is the Hi-Chew candy by a company called Morinaga. As a fan of Hi-Chew candies myself, I embarked on a journey to ascertain the halal status of this delicious Japanese fruit candy.
Who is Taichiro Morinaga?
Taichiro Morinaga was a Japanese businessman born in 1865 in Kyushu. At the age of 23 he moved to the United States and was given a piece of candy by an American citizen.
He worked for a candy factory and studied the craft of candymaking, initially creating marshmallows and then a form of edible chewing gum using chewy caramel, called Chewlets in 1931. Chewlets were re-introduced after World War II as Hi-Chews in 1975.
Morinaga & Company in 2023 operates several manufacturing plants, with a significant presence in Japan and expanding to the United States. A favorite among high school students and adults alike, Hi-Chew's appeal is undeniable.
From its original mix of flavors to special varieties like the Superfruit mix flavors and Chew Sours, Hi-Chew has cemented its place as the most popular chewy candy globally. Fans can even find the candy at Walt Disney World's Epcot and various import stores.
Notably, its popularity in places like Hong Kong and the western audience has exploded, as evident from the Chew's Instagram account and other social media platforms.
What is Hi-Chew candy?
Hi-Chew candies are wrapped individually in logo-stamped foil, stamped with the Morinaga and Hi-Chew logo or plain wax paper depending on the country.
Morinaga's creation today has a blend of chewy texture and mouth-watering taste. Over the years, Hi-Chew has evolved, producing a variety of flavors and special editions, ranging from the traditional Strawberry Juice-infused Chews to exotic flavors like Dragon Fruit and Blue Hawaii.
The main ingredients in Hi-Chew products (Strawberry, Grape, Green Apple, Watermelon, Original and Exotic flavours) are:
- Glucose Syrup
- Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil
- Gelatine (Pork)
- Natural and Artificial Flavours
- Malic Acid
- Citric Acid
- Juice Concentrate
- Emulsifiers (Sucrose Esters of Fatty Acids)
- Sorbitan Monostearate
There is some conjecture that Hi-Chew Candies contain Vitamin C but this is not true as has been confirmed by multiple researchers.
Pork gelatin is of particular concern for Muslims looking to follow a strict halal diet. Pork gelatin is derived from pig bones, rendering many gummies and chewy candies haram.
While there is a Japanese cultural taboo against consuming gelatin from dead animals, Hi-Chew's website states that pork gelatin is a key ingredient (even though halal gelatin does exist in the market).
Another ingredient worth noting is citric acid which is used to impart the sour taste in some Hi-Chew flavors. Citric acid is derived from citrus fruits like green apple, so there's little concern there. DL-malic acid (included in some Hi-Chew candies), on the other hand, can be derived from both natural and synthetic sources. Thankfully, Morinaga specifies its use of the edible kind of DL-malic acid in its products.
Lastly, the outer white coating on each individual candy piece is not a rubber-like material but a plain white wax paper, making it non-edible but harmless.
For those with gluten sensitivities, it's comforting to know that Hi-Chew is a gluten-free product. However, while the candy does not contain gluten ingredients and is gluten free, always check the expiration date and packaging for any changes in ingredients or potential cross-contamination.
In recent years, the brand has been proactive about its carbon footprint and food safety. There was an isolated incident where a piece of a worker's glove was found in the candy. However, Morinaga was quick to recall affected products and enhance its safety protocols at the Hyogo Morinaga factory.
Moreover, the company offers free delivery for bulk candy orders in certain regions, and user-submitted votes on new candy flavors or food flavors for the Japanese line of flavors have been instrumental in introducing exciting varieties like strawberry cheesecake and cotton candy. Such initiatives not only delight our taste buds but also allow the community to be a part of the brand's journey.
So, is Hi-Chew halal?
Unfortunately due to the presence of pork gelatin, Hi-Chew Candy products are not halal certified and are not permissible as part of a halal diet.
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