sweet tarts on white background

Are Sweet Tarts Halal?

Sweet Tarts are a popular American candy known for their brightly colored, sweet and tart flavor. But are Sweet Tarts halal? This is an important question for Muslim consumers who follow certain dietary restrictions.

What Does “Halal” Mean?

Halal is an Arabic word that means “permissible” or “lawful” under Islamic law. When it comes to food and drink, halal refers to products that adhere to Islamic dietary guidelines as dictated in the Quran. Here are some key requirements for halal foods:

  • Cannot contain pork, pork byproducts or pork-derived gelatin
  • Cannot contain alcohol
  • Must come from halal slaughtered animals if containing meat or poultry
  • Cannot contain blood or blood byproducts

Are Gelatin and Confectioner’s Glaze Halal?

Two ingredients commonly found in candies that impact their halal status are:

  • Gelatin: A gelling agent made by boiling animal bones, skins and tissues. If derived from pork, it is not halal.
  • Confectioner’s glaze: A resin coating derived from insects. Debated if halal.

So are gelatin and confectioner’s glaze used in Sweet Tarts?

Sweet Tarts Ingredients

Here is the published ingredient list for Sweet Tarts candies:

Ingredient Details
Sugar Permissible
Corn syrup Permissible
Fruit juice from concentrate Permissible
Citric acid Permissible
Artificial flavors Requires investigation*
Artificial colors (Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Blue 1) Permissible

Based on the ingredient statement, Sweet Tarts do NOT contain gelatin or confectioner’s glaze. They use artificial colors and flavors instead.

^Some Muslim authorities permit all artificial flavors regardless of origin while others require investigating source

Are Artificial Flavors in Sweet Tarts Halal?

Since Sweet Tarts contain artificial flavors, further investigation is required to confirm halal compliance.

According to Spangler Candy Company, the manufacturer of Sweet Tarts:

“None of our products contain pork or pork derived products. Artificial flavors that we use are soybean, corn and wheat based.”

Are Sweet Tarts Halal Certified?

Spangler Candy Company also informed that while Sweet Tarts do not contain any pork ingredients, they are NOT officially halal certified by an approved halal certification body.

Several halal consumer agencies have stated that Sweet Tarts most likely adhere to halal guidelines based on the statement from the manufacturer. However, observant Muslims should check with their religious authorities to see if certification is required or if the manufacturer’s statement is adequate.

A Brief History of Sweet Tarts

Sweet Tarts have been a popular American candy since the 1960s. They were created in 1962 by Sunline Inc, the inventors of Smarties candies. The small disc-shaped sweets were marketed under the name “Sweetarts” as a hybrid between sweets and tarts, giving them their signature sweet-and-sour taste profile.

The candy concept was inspired by sweet and sour candies introduced at the 1962 World’s Fair in Seattle. Each Sweet Tart originally contained fewer than 5 calories, allowing them to be marketed as a “low-calorie” candy.

Early Sweet Tarts came in five fruit flavors – cherry, lemon, lime, grape and orange. Over the years several specialty flavors were introduced like Very Cherry and Sour Apple. Seasonal mixes with candy corn and candy canes have also been available for Halloween and Christmas.

In 1988, Sunline Inc. was acquired by Leaf, Inc which later became part of The Hershey Company in 1996. In 2006, the Sweet Tarts brand was sold to the Spangler Candy Company, an Ohio-based confectionery manufacturer known for candies like Dum Dum lollipops.

Spangler continues to market Sweet Tarts today with their signature tart flavor profile and colorful appearance that appeals both to nostalgic adults and children.

Composition of Sweet Tarts

pile of sweet tartsee

Let’s take a closer look at what gives Sweet Tarts their sweet tart taste, chewy texture and iconic disc shape:


Sweet Tarts owe their signature sweet yet tart flavor to a careful balance of key ingredients:

  • Sugar: Provides sweetness needed to offset tartness
  • Fruit juice concentrate: Natural flavors like cherry, orange and lemon provide tartness
  • Citric acid: Sharp, tart acid naturally found in citrus fruits
  • Artificial flavors: Enhances and modifies tart fruit flavors

Without enough sugar, the citric acid and fruit juices would make Sweet Tarts too tart. But together, they provide the perfect sweet-tart balance.


The chewy, crunchable texture of Sweet Tarts comes from:

  • Corn syrup: Thick syrup provides chewiness to candies as well as preservation
  • Sugar: Dissolves from solid grain texture to bind other ingredients together
  • Citric acid: Adds crystalline structure that generates hardness when concentrated

Heating and cooling sugar and corn syrup enables candy matrix to form that delivers the iconic chewy texture.


Sweet Tarts distinctive small disc shape is the result of how they’re made:

  • Hot liquid candy is poured onto cooled drum machines
  • Discs are stamped out as rope of candy hardens
  • Small bite-size rounds punched out at intervals

The flatter surface of the discs compared to spheres enables more sour flavor crystals to form and become exposed, delighting tart candy fans.

Sweet Tarts Nutrition Facts

Here is the nutrition information for Sweet Tarts candies according to the USDA:

Nutrient Per Sweet Tart (4g) % Daily Value
Calories 17 kcal 1%
Carbohydrates 4 g 1%
Sugar 3 g
Protein 0 g 0%
Fat 0 g 0%
Sodium 0 mg 0%

As you can see, a single Sweet Tart is low calorie at just 17 calories and contains no protein or fat. The main nutrient is carbohydrates from sugar, supplying quick energy.

However, Sweet Tarts still qualify as an unhealthy candy or “junk food” due to minimal nutritional value beyond sugar and high potential to damage teeth if good oral hygiene isn’t practiced.

Are There Any Health Benefits to Sweet Tarts?



pile of sweet tarts

However, for active individuals, Sweet Tarts can provide an immediate source of energy from their high sugar content. The sugar is broken down quickly into glucose and absorbed rapidly for a burst of carbohydrate fuel when active. So enjoying Sweet Tarts responsibly before a workout, run or sports game can provide energy to fuel physical activity as part of a balanced, active lifestyle.

Best Practices When Consuming Sweet Tarts

When enjoyed in moderation by health-conscious individuals, Sweet Tarts can be part of a balanced diet. Here are some best practices for consuming them:

  • Practice portion control – 1-2 Sweet Tarts delivers flavor without excess calories
  • Consume with meals – Helps prevent blood sugar spikes from candy alone
  • Chew thoroughly – Minimizes tooth exposure to sugar and acid
  • Drink water – Helps neutralize acid, rinses sugar from teeth
  • Brush afterward – Removes particles that cause cavities and decay

The bottom line is even candy can be enjoyed guilt-free if eaten in moderation as part of an overall balanced and active lifestyle!

Where to Buy Sweet Tarts

Sweet Tarts can be found at most grocery stores, big box retailers like Walmart and Target, convenience stores, movie theaters and online e-commerce sites.

Popular places to buy Sweet Tarts candies include:

Grocery Stores

  • Kroger
  • Publix
  • Safeway
  • Winn Dixie

Mass Merchants

  • Walmart
  • Target
  • Kmart
  • Dollar General

Convenience Stores

  • 7-Eleven
  • Circle K
  • Wawa
  • QuikTrip


  • Amazon
  • Candy Club
  • Candy Warehouse
  • Sugarfina

Be sure to check labels and manufacturer statements on gelatin usage before purchasing Sweet Tarts. Observant Muslims may wish to verify halal status with their local mosque or Islamic center.

In Conclusion

While not officially certified halal, Spangler Candy Company has stated that Sweet Tarts do not contain pork or pork-derived ingredients, which suggests potential compliance with Islamic dietary guidelines.

However, observant Muslims should use discretion based on their personal level of halal standards, especially given the usage of artificial colors and flavors from undisclosed sources. Checking with local religious authorities is the best way for Muslim consumers to determine if enjoying Sweet Tarts is permissible based on their individual halal compliance needs.

So based on both manufacturer statements and the ingredients label, Sweet Tarts most likely meet halal standards for the majority of Muslim consumers. Those wanting 100% certainty would need to seek out halal certified products instead. But with proper investigation, these sweet-tart candies can likely be an enjoyable treat for halal observers craving a unique sugar rush.

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