Are you a vegan or someone who avoids pork gelatin in their diet?
If so, you may be wondering if Wagon Wheels, those classic chocolate-coated sandwich cookies filled with marshmallow and jam, are suitable for you.
Unfortunately, the answer is no. The store-bought version of Wagon Wheels contains gelatin derived from pork, which helps the marshmallow become firm. Additionally, the chocolate coating includes milk.
But fear not! In this article, we’ll explore more about Wagon Wheels and their ingredients, as well as provide some alternative options for those who can’t enjoy the classic treat.
So let’s dive in and find out more about these beloved cookies!
Do Wagon Wheels Have Pork Gelatin?
As mentioned earlier, Wagon Wheels do contain gelatin derived from pork. Gelatin is a common ingredient in marshmallows, and it helps to give them their signature texture. Unfortunately, this means that Wagon Wheels are not suitable for vegans or those who avoid pork gelatin in their diet.
In addition to the gelatin, the chocolate coating on Wagon Wheels also includes milk, making them unsuitable for those with lactose intolerance or a dairy-free diet.
It’s important to note that the ingredients in Wagon Wheels may vary depending on the manufacturer and country of origin. Always check the label of the product for accurate and up-to-date information on allergens and ingredients.
The History Of Wagon Wheels
Wagon Wheels have been a beloved treat for over 70 years. They were first introduced in the UK in 1948 by the biscuit company Burton’s. The original Wagon Wheel consisted of two soft biscuit layers with a marshmallow filling, all coated in chocolate. The name and packaging were inspired by the Wild West theme, with a picture of a pioneer’s wagon on the wrapper.
Over the years, Wagon Wheels have undergone several changes and variations. In Canada and the UK, there was a caramel-flavored version that was discontinued in 1998. However, a caramel-flavored one was reintroduced in the UK in 2012, with the caramel flavor infused into the marshmallow filling.
In Australia, there have been different flavors of Wagon Wheels, including strawberry and white chocolate, but they were not popular and were eventually discontinued. There is also a version sold in Australia that includes apple and plum jam alongside the marshmallow filling.
The size and shape of Wagon Wheels have also changed over time. In the UK, they were reduced in width in the 1980s after being moved to Wales, and lost their crimped edge. However, Australian Wagon Wheels still retain their crimped edge.
Despite these changes, Wagon Wheels remain a popular treat in Australia, Canada, and the UK. They are sold both individually and in multi-packs, and are often enjoyed as an afternoon snack or as part of a packed lunch.
The Ingredients In Wagon Wheels
Wagon Wheels are made with a combination of wheat flour, compound chocolate, marshmallow, sugar, jam, vegetable oil, golden syrup, raising agent, salt, emulsifier, nutmeg, and flavorings. The compound chocolate used in Wagon Wheels contains sugar, vegetable oil, cocoa powder, milk solids, emulsifiers (E322 from soy and E492), flavor, and salt.
The marshmallow layer is made with sugar, glucose (from wheat), water, gelatin derived from pork, acidity regulators (E334 and E500), flavoring, and coloring (E150a). The jam filling is made with sugar, apple pulp, plum pulp, color (E122), food acid (E334), gelling agent (E440), and glucose (from wheat).
It’s important to note that the ingredients in Wagon Wheels may change from time to time depending on the manufacturer and country of origin. Always check the label of the product for accurate and up-to-date information on allergens and ingredients.
Why Pork Gelatin Is Used In Wagon Wheels
Pork gelatin is commonly used in Wagon Wheels and other marshmallow-based products because it is an effective gelling agent. Gelatin is a protein that is derived from collagen, which is found in the connective tissues of animals. Pork is a common source of gelatin because it has a high collagen content and is readily available.
While gelatin can be derived from other sources such as beef, fish, or plant-based ingredients, pork gelatin is often preferred because it has a neutral flavor and odor. This makes it ideal for use in food products where it won’t affect the taste or aroma.
It’s worth noting that not all gelatin used in food products comes from animals. Some companies are now using alternative sources such as agar-agar, carrageenan, or pectin to create vegetarian-friendly gelling agents. However, these alternatives may not always have the same properties as traditional gelatin and may require different processing methods.
Are There Any Vegan Or Pork Gelatin-Free Alternatives To Wagon Wheels?
Yes, there are vegan and pork gelatin-free alternatives to Wagon Wheels that are available in the market. Ananda’s, an artisan confectionery producer based in Derbyshire, has created a vegan version of Wagon Wheels that is free from pork gelatin and other animal-derived ingredients.
Ananda’s Wagon Wheels are made with two soft cookie-style chocolate biscuits, filled with marshmallow and jam, and covered in chocolate. The edges are fully dipped, while the top and bottom are ‘drizzled’ with chocolate. They have all the elements of a commercial wagon wheel, and go a good way to bringing back memories of the childhood treats.
The chocolate used in Ananda’s Wagon Wheels is dark and rich, with the edge chocolate being so thick it crunches. The cookies are nice and soft-baked, and the marshmallow and jam center is fantastic. Ananda’s does a huge range of vegan marshmallows and they also have an online shop that sells externally sourced vegan goodies, including vegan condensed milk.
It’s important to note that there may be other brands or homemade recipes for vegan Wagon Wheels that are free from pork gelatin or other animal-derived ingredients. Always check the ingredients list before purchasing or consuming any product to ensure it aligns with your dietary requirements.
Conclusion: Can You Enjoy Wagon Wheels If You Avoid Pork Gelatin?
If you avoid pork gelatin in your diet, unfortunately, you won’t be able to enjoy store-bought Wagon Wheels. However, there are alternative recipes available that do not contain gelatin, making them suitable for vegetarians and those who don’t consume pork products. With a little bit of research and experimentation, you can create your own version of this classic sandwich biscuit at home, using ingredients that align with your dietary restrictions. Remember to always check the ingredients list before consuming any product to ensure it aligns with your dietary needs.