Is Welch's Fruit Snacks HALAL? All You Need To Know In 2023
2023 has ushered in a globalised era where food products from every corner of the world are now just a supermarket aisle away. From Starburst to Pop Tarts, we have sweet treats now just a button tap away as delivery apps become the norm.
The United States, with its melting pot of cultures, has become an epicenter of this global food industry, and with this vast variety, our Muslim community grapples with frequently asked questions regarding dietary compliance.
A common question for Muslim consumers obsessed with sweets and candies though: "Is Welch’s fruit snacks halal?" and "Which ingredients in Welch's align or conflict with Islamic dietary laws?" Let's find out.
Who is Welch's?
Welch's is a $750 million revenue American business headquartered in Massachusetts, United States. It's a subsidiary of the National Grape Cooperative Association, a co-op of grape growers and is known for everything to do with grapes (from juices to jams).
Welch's also manufactures a bunch of other fruit products including snacks, frozen concentrates and dried fruit.
What are Welch's Fruit Snacks?
Welch's Fruit Snacks are coined as 'America's Favorite Fruit Snack'. Welch's Fruit Snacks are essentially flavored gummies that look like real fruit. These Fruit Snacks come in different flavours including Mixed, Berries 'n Cherries, Tropical Fruits and Superfruit Mix.
Welch's Fruit Snacks are commonly sold in supermarkets, drug stores and convenience stores predominantly in the US. They can also be found in the UK in Costco stores.
What ingredients does Welch's Fruit Snacks contain?
Corn syrup and corn starch are common components in Welch's Fruit Snacks, but it's the cane sugar that warrants a deeper look. The use of bone char, particularly from animal bones, in refining sugars like cane sugar poses questions on its permissibility.
Vitamins also come under the lens; ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and alpha tocopherol acetate (vitamin E), present in many juicy fruit snacks, usually have synthetic origins, putting them in a safer zone away from questionable animal sources.
Both artificial and natural varieties are used by Welch's in the manufacturing process. Artificial colors and artificial flavors, derived from various sources, need a thorough check to determine their halal status. Equally, natural flavors, like lactic acid and citric acid, can have dual origins - synthetic or natural.
Another point of contention can be the use of alcoholic beverages in extracting some flavors. However, there's a silver lining as many food manufacturers, keeping in line with halal principles, have transitioned to halal-certified methods to produce halal snacks.
Does Welch's Fruit Snacks contain animal gelatin?
Welch’s fruit snacks, a gummy popular fruit snack choice among both children and adults, have their spotlight due to the presence of gelatin, a common ingredient in many gummy snacks. As many already know, gelatin is derived from animal products. The use of gelatin from impermissible animals, especially pork products, is a significant concern under Islamic law.
The good news is that the journey through Welch’s products reveals a mixed bag; while some have the undesired pork gelatin, others boast the more acceptable beef gelatin in their ingredients list. However, while there is a visible shift towards gelatin-free options, both of these forms of animal gelatin would be considered haram and not acceptable halal products if the animal used has not been slaughtered according to Islamic dietary laws.
It's worth noting that some popular fruit gummies like Haribo do have halal variants, with halal food certification like those Haribo gummy bears sold in Turkey.
So, is Welch's Fruit Snacks halal?
Unfortunately Welch's has confirmed that they do use both pork and beef gelatin in their Fruit Snacks, and as they use both consistently in pouches, due to the presence of pork which is haram, Fruit Snacks are considered impermissible by Islamic scholars and they do not have halal certification.
This means that due to gelatin in the ingredient list, they are not suitable for Muslims with a sweet tooth following a strict, Islamic principles based halal diet. Due to animal products used, Welch's Fruit Snacks are also not suitable for those following a vegan diet.
It's important for Muslim customers to note that there are a lot of halal alternatives on the market, like Starburst which is considered halal in the UK as it does not have any haram ingredients like animal-sourced gelatin. These gelatin-free alternatives can still be delicious snacks for those with halal dietary choices.
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