Are Sour Patch Kids Vegan?

If you’ve never had a Sour Patch Kid, you’re in for a treat. It’s a sugar-coated gummy bear. They have a tart and sweet flavor. Since the 1980s, the multicolored “kids” have been around. While many believe that Sour Patch Kids are vegan, some argue that you need delve a bit deeper. These little candies include a variety of various components. They do include sugars derived from plants. Additionally, they include modified corn starch, blue 1, yellow 5, red 40, tartaric acid, and citric acid, as well as various artificial flavors. While the label seems to be vegan-friendly, it might be deceiving.

 Are Sour Patch Kids Vegan

Numerous confection and candy industries employ both beet and cane sugar, making it difficult to trace the sugars in their products back to their source. Mondelez International, the company that owns Sour Patch Kids, does say that bone char is used by its suppliers. There is no simple way to determine if the particular bag of Sour Patch Kids you buy is vegan. It all depends on your level of devout veganism, which is not the same as being “plant based.” Veganism has a lot to do with not harming / consuming animals. So if you object to any of the methods for making these delicious delicacies described below, you would consider them non-vegan friendly.

The Sugar in Sour Patch Kids May Not Be Vegan.

Sugar is produced from either sugar beets or sugarcane. Both of these methods are obtained organically. Even if the flavor and texture are identical, the refining procedure varies. Beet sugar is extracted from the beets using a diffuser. To crystallize the sugar, additives are added to this fluid. Bone char is used to treat, cleanse, and filter cane sugar. Although it is not directly derived from animals, vegans consider it to be such. Many people believe that beet sugar may be used in place of cane sugar. When utilized in the kitchen, the two forms of sugar are somewhat different. Unless you do study, determining which sugar is optimal for which sweet delicacy is not straightforward.

What is Bone Char Exactly?

Essentially, bone char is what imparts the beautiful white hue to sugar. Numerous times, it is also referred to as carbon. Bone char is created from cow bones. It is often manufactured abroad and then sold to merchants. It is produced by rapidly heating animal bones and then reducing them to carbon. Generally, the bone char particles do not find their way into your sugar.

For vegans, bone char might be even more perplexing. While bone char is used to filter and whiten cane sugar, it is not utilized to refine all cane sugar. Numerous firms filter their cane sugar using granular carbon. Carbon granules are not derived from animal products. The problem is that you will not find a description of how the cane sugar was filtered on the side of your candy.

Vegan Ingredients in Controversy

Before we begin our vegan analysis, we’d want to point out some of the more contentious substances that we’ve assumed are vegan in our study. While we believe these substances to be vegan, we will flag them if they appear in any public ingredient lists. These contentious elements include the following:


Sugar may seem to be a simple vegan ingredient, as it is one of the first few components in practically all confectionery creations. However, refined sugar is a divisive topic in the vegan world due to the fact that refined cane sugar is treated with bone char to acquire its pure white hue. Although the sugar does not include any bone char particles, owing to the manufacturing processes employed, it is not vegan (though there are some sugar manufacturers that do not use bone char in their processing.)  Due to the fact that the kind of sugar is often not specified, this study assumes it is vegan. If you wish to avoid non-vegan sugars, you should avoid all of the goods in this analysis. A detailed explanation of whether sugar is vegan may be found in a future article we are currently working on,  “Is Your Sugar Vegan?” 

Flavorings, Natural and Artificial

Natural flavors may be derived from either animal or plant sources, but are commonly derived from plant sources in candy. If known, natural tastes derived from animals will be emphasized.


Certain food colors are a source of contention among the vegan community. This is because food colors are often subjected to animal testing. Unless the color itself is derived from an animal or an insect, we will presume that all food colors are vegan in this article (e.g. Carmine).


Gelatin is the primary component that vegans check for while reading the ingredients list on their confections. It is a flavoring agent in a variety of lollipops, jellies, marshmallows, and puddings. This is what gives the gooey delights their stickiness and firmness. The issue is that gelatin is produced by boiling animal parts. The product is made by boiling the skin, bones, tendons, and ligaments of cows and pigs.

While gelatin is not mentioned as an ingredient in Sour Patch Kids, others believe it must be present in tiny amounts. This is because the ingredients list does not include a gelling agent. The majority of alternatives include pectin or agar agar. According to certain producers, Sour Patch Kids may contain a trace amount of gelatin. Though the ingredients list does not include a gel agent, these sweets may get their gooey texture from corn syrup and corn starch. Instead than utilizing gelatin to bind the materials together, manufacturers utilize different bonding agents.

Another point to consider with regards to these components is that various firms in different countries may manufacture Sour Patch Kids in a somewhat different manner. Gelatin is a component in the United Kingdom’s Sour Patch candy. The nation in which your candy is manufactured makes a significant impact.

Testing on Animals

Another concern with Sour Patch Kids is that some of its components are animal tested. These are artificial food dyes used to color the candy.

Red 40, Yellow 6, Yellow 5, and Blue 1 are among these dyes. Although none of these colours include animal ingredients, they are tested on animals on a regular basis.

Additionally, these colors are not particularly healthy for you (although they are often consumed in such little amounts that they are regarded “safe”). Numerous synthetic food colors are derived from petroleum and have been connected to a number of possible health problems.

Vegans abstain from animal testing, which is why we seek for cruelty-free cosmetics, home cleaners, and other items.

Thus, eating should be no exception. If a food component has been tested on animals, it is not vegan.

If you’re comfortable eating Sour Patch Kids just because they don’t include animal products, you’re a plant-based person. Being vegan is still fantastic and saves a lot of animals, so there is no judgment here!

Why Do Certain Vegans Consume Sour Patch Kids?

As indicated before, the components of Sour Patch Kids seem to be plant-based (although the source of the natural flavors is uncertain). As a result, some vegans tolerate their consumption.

Many new vegans, in instance, use Sour Patch Kids (or other plant-based but not entirely vegan delicacies) to ease their transition.

Additionally, people may be unaware that animal experimentation is involved or that cow bones are utilized in the sugar producing process. However, when you spend more time as a vegan, you learn so much, and it’s perfectly OK if you don’t know everything right away!

Additionally, bear in mind that being completely vegan is difficult, since nearly nothing is 100 percent vegan when considering the potential damage to animals. It’s about doing all possible to avoid causing damage to animals.

Vegan Substitutes For Sour Patch Kids

It’s tough to obtain non-sugar sour candies that can be prepared with bone char. That is perhaps the most challenging element for vegans who are worried, since so many apparently vegan goods include sugar that is either vegan or not.

Sour Vikings by Candy People

Sour Vikings by Candy People are manufactured with organic components such as grape concentrate and glucose syrup. Their color is derived from paprika and turmeric extracts.


Sour Blast Buddies by SmartSweet is produced with organic soluble corn fiber. Additionally, they include natural berry taste. The colors are made from vegetable and fruit juices. Stevia is used to sweeten.


YumEarth are prepared with organic cane sugar. Additionally, they are made entirely of organic components, such as organic brown rice syrup and organic tapioca starch. The hues are concentrated carrot, apple, and blueberry juices.


Although Haribo’s Sour Rainbow Strips include some dubious substances such as sodium hydrogen and copper complexes, they are vegan. Even though they are unique, these components are not sourced from animals.

Summary: Sour Patch Kids Are Not Technically Vegan

As we discovered in this lengthy blog article, Sour Patch Kids are not vegan since the sugar in the product (at least a portion of it) has been filtered using a non-vegan decolorizing chemical called bone char.

Additionally, we may conclude that some of the more contentious substances, such as artificial flavors and fake odors, are results of rigorous testing on animal species such as mice, rats, and, in the rarest of instances, dogs.

More significantly, artificial colors (specifically, the color Red #40) are examined on a regular basis to guarantee that no possible health problems arise, as seen by the links to papers I included in the topic’s particular section.


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