Just because you’re vegan, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a treat once in a while.
Meat eaters often think that vegans have chosen a restricted diet because they’re willing to suffer, whereas usually, it’s just for the opposite reason.
There are tons of reasons why people go vegan from health reasons to weight loss or to reduce their carbon footprint, but by far, the biggest reason people switch to a vegan diet and lifestyle is to prevent themselves from being the source of suffering for any conscious being.
So, naturally, we don’t think vegans should have to go without their sweet treats just because they don’t want animals to suffer.
With this in mind, we’re getting to the bottom of a frequently asked question: Are Sour Patch Kids Vegan?
Answer: Well, it depends on why you are a vegan. If it were a straightforward answer then this article would be a very dull read indeed.
Do Sour Patch Kids Contain Gelatin?
This is the biggest question people ask when choosing chewy sweets. If you’re a vegetarian or a vegan then eating gelatin is a big no-no. This is because it’s made from mammals like cows or pigs.
The method of making gelatin is not for the faint-hearted either. Even chicken nugget-loving kids would think twice about gelatin sweets if they knew how it was made and what goes into the mix.
PETA explains that gelatin “is a protein obtained by boiling skin, tendons, ligaments, and/or bones with water. It is usually obtained from cows or pigs.”
Gross, right? Well unlike the majority of chewy candies, Maynard’s Sour Patch Kids do not contain gelatin, but does that make them vegan? Not necessarily.
What Are The Ingredients In Sour Patch Kids?
The ingredients in the popular sour candies are:
- Invert sugar
- Corn syrup
- Modified corn starch
- Less than 2% tartaric acid
- Citric acid
- Natural and artificial flavors
- Yellow 6, Red 40, Yellow 5, and blue 1 food dyes
On the face of it, these would make great vegan candies, because they don’t contain gelatin but use corn starch and corn syrup as a substitute.
In fact, they don’t contain any animal-derived ingredients, so why might they not be vegan?
It depends on why you became a vegan in the first place. If you wanted to create a more sustainable life by not eating animal-derived products then you can probably enjoy some sour patch kids without a lot of guilt.
Then again, if making dietary and lifestyle decisions that reduce harm and exploitation to animals is the reason you’re a vegan, then you might want to keep reading.
Why Aren’t Sour Patch Kids Vegan?
For some people, veganism is about adopting a lifestyle and diet that focus on reducing harm to animals, not just abstaining from eating them personally.
In recent years cosmetic companies and skincare manufacturers have cottoned on to the fact that they can adjust their formulas so as to be labeled vegan with little inconvenience to them and at no cost to the effectiveness of their products. So why didn’t they always do this?
One: because a truly vegan lifestyle is a relatively new thing.
Now that it is a mainstream, legitimate way of life, restaurants, stores, and manufacturers are forced to admit that vegans exist in their millions and that they must cater for them if they don’t wish to lose sales.
Two: Because it’s not just about the ingredients themselves. Palm oil isn’t derived from animals but the farming of it still winds up hurting animals.
If you don’t eat cheese because you don’t want to contribute to the exploitation of cows, then you won’t use products that contain palm oil because the method of producing it hurts animals by destroying their habitat.
That’s what veganism is truly about for many people. Therefore, it’s not enough for us that Sour Patch Kids aren’t made from actual animal products if some of their ingredients exploit and harm animals.
Here is our metaphorical beef with this particular sour candy:
Cane sugar production is a tricky area for vegans. Some cane sugar is processed using bone char.
This means that one step of the process is that crushed, burned cattle bones are mixed with the sugar to help give it a bright white hue.
That’s kind of gross for a vegan to consider. The bones have to come from somewhere so they are often byproducts from the dairy and meat farming industries which veganism does not support.
The company that owns and produces Sour Patch Kids uses cane sugar in their candies, but some companies do not use the bone char method to process their sugar. So does the company use vegan cane sugar or not?
Annoyingly, we don’t know. Some of the sugar companies that supply Sour Patch Kids do use bone char and some don’t.
That means that it’s perfectly possible for some batches to contain only vegan cane sugar, but there’s no way of knowing which.
Natural flavors are additives for foods that come from natural sources, but most people wrongly assume that this means they come from plant sources.
Animals are natural too and if they were flavorless, we wouldn’t have a problem with convincing more people not to eat them.
The company that produces Sour Patch Kids cannot say whether they use vegan-approved flavorings in their candies.
They say that their “products change frequently” and therefore they cannot know if the flavorings they currently use have any animal-derived ingredients. Thanks for nothing, you Sour Patch rascals.
The food dyes we listed in the ingredients above do not contain ingredients with any animal origin that we know of, but they are periodically tested on animals to check their safety for use in foods.
Sour Patch Kids, like many candy products, use food dyes to make them look vibrant in color and attractive to kids, although we know adults love them too.
While this might not be enough to put off a semi-devout vegetarian, vegans are adamantly against the exploitation of animals through animal testing.
If you look for cruelty-free beauty products over the big brands that test on animals, then you should look into the testing of animals in the food colorings used in the things you eat.
While the candies do not use gelatine in their ingredients to make them chewy, Sour Patch Kids are far from ‘Vegan Approved’.
One day, we feel confident that more manufacturers of candies and other foods will adapt their recipes to align with the needs of the consumers.
But Sour Patch Kids has not quite caught up with the gravity of the global vegan movement.
We’re always happy to see old products relaunch with new formulas that respect animal rights and vegan choices. Perhaps Sour Patch Kids will be next.
The irritating thing is that the company that makes Sour Patch Kids could so easily make them vegan approved with only minor adjustments to their suppliers and their additives.
How many people would really mind if their candy is a little less red in color if the dye wasn’t tested on conscious beings? Not that many, surely.
If you’re ever confused by the ingredients on the packet, just look for the big green “vegan approved” logo. If it’s not there, you can be sure there will be a good reason.
With more people choosing to become vegan every day, what manufacturer wouldn’t want to register their product as vegan if they could, to open up the market to more consumers?
We don’t think companies just forget to get their products approved as vegan. If they aren’t approved, there will be a reason.