The Big Change PETA Is Calling On Peeps To Make

Peeps has not had an easy few months. The coronavirus caused production to temporarily shut down in March, according to Axios. This in turn caused massive delays, which means no themed holiday marshmallow treats will be released this year for Halloween, Christmas, or even Valentine's Day. If this wasn't bad enough for the company, it's now also being called upon to rethink the way they make their product. PETA and actor James Cromwell sent an open letter to COO David Yale of the company that makes Peeps, Just Born, asking them to change their recipe.

Cromwell begins his letter by addressing that he understands the world is in turmoil and that he doesn't want little things that give us joy to disappear. "People around the world enjoy Peeps, so I hope that production of this iconic treat will continue — with one important caveat: that it be made without gelatin," he explained. 

VICE reported that Cromwell has been a vegetarian for over 20 years, ever since starring in the film Babe. In the movie, he plays a farmer who discovers his smart pig can herd sheep and ultimately helps him to escape slaughter. "The intelligence and inquisitive personality of these highly social animals were a constant delight," Cromwell wrote in his open letter. "They possess a remarkable capacity for love, joy, and sorrow."

What are the actual ingredients in Peeps?

Peeps are mostly made of sugar, corn syrup and gelatin, according to the company's website. The gelatin that it uses is made from the skin, connective tissue, and bones of animals — like pigs and cows. Its website states it has to use pork-derived gelatin to achieve "a light, soft, texture." And that the use of it "allows us to incorporate small finely divided bubbles allowing you to bite through the marshmallow cleanly with a creamy mouth feel."

However, Cromwell argues that this type of gelatin is not imperative to making the marshmallow candy. "Demand for vegan food is at an all-time high, and it would be easy to replace gelatin in Peeps with a vegan ingredient such as Geltor's vegan gelatin when full production resumes," he wrote. "Making this switch would broaden your product's appeal, opening up a whole new market while losing none of its taste."

Fox reported that Peeps has not yet responded to a request for comment.