02 October 2020

Halal-friendly jellies - Sainsbury's

Friday, October 02, 2020 0 Comments
When I first started this blog, the idea was to share my own journey of learning about halal food and life as a new Muslim. And maybe throw some parenting bits to the mix, as I was about to have my first baby. I wanted to help others in my position, share what I've learned - mainly about the halal food, as I was exploring it wasn't just about giving up pork and alcohol - I've realised for example how many products have gelatine in them, and what other ingredients aren't halal.

That turned me into a serial label checker - whenever I'm buying something new that I haven't tried before, I always read the label first. In the UK it's a bit easier, as I normally just need to look for the "suitable for vegetarians/vegans" bit, or the green "V" sign on the packet. I find, however, that some products might miss that little note even though the ingredients indicate that they are suitable for vegetarians, so if something doesn't obviously contain animal-derived ingredients (as in if it's not clearly a meat product), I always double-check.

Now, the trickiest thing to buy over the years, especially since having kids, have been sweets - jellies in particular. Yes, there are some halal ones available - always a bit of choice in local halal shops and even most supermarkets will have some in the World Foods aisle. It's mostly imported Haribo though, and I find them slightly overpriced - and contrary to some people's belief, stuff doesn't have to have a "halal" logo slapped on to be halal - if it doesn't contain haram ingredients, you're good to go.

So I decided to resume the "Halal Food Guide" thing I was doing some time ago, and this time I'll be focusing on jellies. I've had this idea that I'd go through supermarkets' own sweets and check out the choices - I normally just go for tried and tested, or check as I go, but thought it would be good to actually know how much stuff is available there that we can safely buy.

First up - Sainsbury's own sweets range. I picked up everything that was vegetarian/vegan friendly - I only chose the gummies and soft sweets that you could potentially expect to find gelatine in, rather than boiled sweets that won't normally have any unsuitable ingredients. 

1. Fizzy straws and belts - these can be found in probably all major supermarkets, and so far I think I've always found them to be vegetarian. Similarly, strawberry and cola laces (for some reason I don't have photos of those here).

2. Fizzy Rainbow Pencils - pencils one of my favourites, with the soft centre and the jelly coating. I usually buy strawberry pencils in other places, but to my surprise the Sainsbury's ones have beef gelatine in them. They are pretty much the same thing, except the rainbow ones are thicker and well, rainbow - I'd expect both varieties to be vegetarian really.


3. Mini Jelly Beans - this is a popular choice with the kids. Many varieties use shellac as coating, which is derived from insects - I have found conflicting opinions on whether shellac is halal or not (if anyone has a reliable source to confirm either way, feel free to share!), so always best to just stick to the veggie ones.


4. Fizzy Fangs - it was great to find these, just a little more variety than the usual choice of the fizzy straws and rainbow belts (typing this has just made me realise that we didn't pick any up!)


5. Fruit Jellies - these were a hit with us grown-ups! Shaped like fruit segments, they're delightfully soft and fruity. We've found similar ones in Poundland a while ago and regretted not buying more - they also remind me of jellies I used to eat back home, shaped like orange or lemon slices 


6. Flying saucers - not jellies, but as I picked them up I thought I might as well include them here. They are sherbet-filled wafers, not just vegetarian but vegan too.


If I missed anything else, feel free to let me know! This is the selection I managed to pick up on my recent visit to Sainsbury's, in case of any doubts conduct your own checks x