What Is Hi-Chew?

I have a candy-related confession to make: I’ve never been a big fan of fruity, gummy candies. For me, it’s all about chocolate. I would happily trade my gummy bears and gummy worms for even the most basic chocolate treat. So I’ll admit, I have never sampled the subject of today’s article, Hi-Chew. However, I have heard from gummy-loving friends that these candies are delicious, flavorful, chewy treats. It’s time for my ignorance to come to an end, and perhaps yours as well. What is Hi-Chew? Where does it come from? Is it gum, or something else? Let’s chew on some answers.

What is Hi-Chew?

Let’s go directly to the source, the Hi-Chew website, for an answer. They say that Hi-Chew is a “uniquely soft candy with a long-lasting, chewy texture. Combine that with smooth, real fruit flavors and—just like that—you’ve got Hi-Chew.” Or, to put it slightly more simply, Hi-Chew is a fruit candy that’s sort of like a mix between gum and a Starburst. 

Is Hi-Chew gum?

Hi-Chew is not gum, but the similarities to gum are not unintentional. It was originally conceived of in 1931 by Japanese candy magnate Taichiro Morinaga. At the time, it was considered rude in Japanese culture to remove foodstuff from your mouth (which makes sense), and this included gum. Moringa hoped to create a gum-alternative that could be chewed and swallowed. Thus, Chewlets—the predecessor to Hi-Chew—was born. 

Can you swallow Hi-Chew?

Yes! While Hi-Chew might look somewhat like gum with a similar consistency, part of the appeal is that you can just eat the whole dang thing. 

Where are Hi-Chews from? 

Hi-Chews are a Japanese candy product that was first launched in 1975. Today, though, Hi-Chews are a bona fide hit in the United States with sponsorship deals with MLB teams and candy on most major retailers’ shelves. 

Does Hi-Chew have gelatin?

Yes, if you take a glance at the ingredients list for Hi-Chew, you will notice that gelatin makes an appearance. Admittedly it’s less than 2%, so it’s not a ton, but there’s no doubt that gelatin is included.

Are Hi-Chews vegan?

This is one of those classic candy conundrums. It seems like Hi-Chews should be free of animal products, doesn’t it? It’s fruit-flavored candy, after all, so you wouldn’t expect to find dairy or bacon mixed in. But, as you might expect, the culprit is gelatin. Gelatin is made from animal products—in this case, pork-derived—and is an ingredient in Hi-Chews, rendering them not vegan-friendly. 

Are Hi Chews gluten free?

The answer to this question is easy: Yes! Hi-Chews have always been gluten free, but starting in 2012 they were officially labeled as such (prior to this point they had been processed in a factory that also processed gluten). For the gluten averse among us, Hi-Chews are a totally safe choice. Happy chewing! 

About the Author

Matt Crowley

Matt Crowley is a comedy writer living in Los Angeles. He likes maple-flavored snacks, loves every kind of cheese, and is slowly learning to accept mushrooms.

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