Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles are to become vegan-friendly with a new recipe, owners Nestlé have announced.
The new gelatine-free formula will be used across the full range of Fruit Pastilles sweets, starting with sharing bags from October.
The confectionery giant said its technicians trialled more than 30 different recipes before nailing the perfect combination.
Their mission was to make the treats 100 per cent plant-based while ensuring the sweets retained the “fruity flavour and iconic chew they are famous for”.
Rowntree’s Brand Manager Meg Miller said: “We’ve had many requests from consumers over the years asking if we can make Fruit Pastilles vegetarian or vegan.
“We want the brand to be enjoyed by as many consumers as possible and so we are delighted to be able to introduce our new vegan friendly recipe across the full range of sweets.
She continued: “Through this recipe change, we’ve made the sweets slightly softer, which we know has been a market trend for a number of years.
“However, our priority was to preserve the fabulously fruity chew that has made Fruit Pastilles a classic for almost a century and a half.
“We hope all Fruit Pastilles fans will agree that we have succeeded in developing a recipe which is as deliciously chewy as it has ever been, whilst at the same time being suitable for those following vegetarian, vegan and religious diets.”
Fruit Pastilles – a mix of blackcurrant, lemon, strawberry, lime and orange sweets – were invented by brothers Henry and Joseph Rowntree, working with French confectioner August Claude Gaget, in 1881.
They are now consumed by 15 million people every year with 49 million sharing bags sold.
Not all recipe alterations go down well with customers, however.
In May last year, British shoppers complained that Marks & Spencer’s new vegetarian Percy Pigs recipe made them taste like “washing-up liquid”.
“After a lot of hard work (and tasting) we’ve finally perfected a 100 per cent vegetarian Percy – something our customers have been asking us for, for a while!” an M&S spokesman said at the time.
But customers were divided over the new taste, with Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan among those expressing outrage over the move.
“Leave our pig sweets alone you people,” he said.
The number of vegans in Great Britain quadrupled between 2014 and 2019, according to an Ipsos Mori survey, commissioned by The Vegan Society
In 2019 there were 600,000 vegans, compared with 150,000 in 2014.