When it comes to talking about my diet, I tend to tell people I’m 90% Vegan. What I mean by that is I recognise the harm done to animals by factory farming, in an ideal world I wouldn’t contribute to that industry and its poor treatment of animals, and when I am at home I cook and eat entirely vegan meals. However, I’m not fully there yet, largely because of food texture sensitivity issues.
I’m a person on the autism spectrum, and one of the greatest areas of sensory struggle I personally have is with food textures, often meaning that when I am out and about, my dietary options are limited. I will still eat non vegan meals sometimes when out and about out of convenience or necessity, but I am aware of the cost to animals, and I try to limit those food choices where I can. I have zero judgement on anyone else’s meal choices, but I am personally trying to minimise my animal product consumption when I have choices available to me.
The reason I bring this up, is because one of the toughest types of food for me personally to give up has been chewy sweets. So many chewy sweets are made using Gelatin, a byproduct made of animal collagen, to give them their distinctive satisfying chew. Most vegan or vegetarian branded chewy sweets you’ll find just don’t chew right, and as someone with very specific texture needs I find most just don’t work for me. Jelly Tots are basically the only vegan friendly sweet I have found with the right kind of chew to them, so I am always on the look out for other veggie or vegan sweets to add into my rotation.
A while back, Marks & Spencer changed the recipe of their Percy Pig chewy sweets range to be entirely vegetarian friendly by removing their gelatin. They’re not vegan, but by removing the gelatin I felt a little less bad about choosing to consume them. I’m not a big Marks & Spencer shopper, a bit expensive for my budget and tastes, but i have been known to enjoy Percy Pigs from time to time. Their texture was really satisfying, so I decided to give the new veggie recipe ones a shot.
In terms of their texture, I’ll be honest, they are less enjoyable to eat than they previously were. The new texture of them becomes a lot more like a sticky liquid than a firm chew, and I found them a lot more mental work to eat than they had been before. They’re far from the worst texture I have had in a vegan or veggie sweet, but they’re undeniably worse than they were. Still enjoyable, but more work, and a less enjoyable end product.
And you know what? I’m super okay with that. If you are not vegetarian or vegan, you’ve got a whole host of supermarket ready chewy sweet options you can switch to that feature the same taste and texture profile of old Percy Pigs. For me, as someone who tries to eat vegetarian or vegan where I can, I’ll happily take a slight dip in my enjoyment of these sweets in order to cause a little less animal suffering in the world. If you’re someone strictly vegetarian without exceptions, it might not be as satisfying as say Jelly Tots, but you have a new chewy sweet option on the market that’s better than the majority of offerings out there.
Chewy sweets are a luxury purchase, not a strict need. Nobody out there needs original recipe Percy Pigs to survive. If you loved them before and can’t stand them now, I empathise with the loss of something you loved, but you have a bunch of other options out there, and I honestly don’t think one brand taking a slight quality dip in order to reduce animal hard is going to be the end of the world. I’d happily have a small quality dip in my food across the board if it meant I was causing less cruelty with my time on earth.