Are Chick-O-Sticks Vegan and Cruelty-Free?

September 19, 2023

Deciphering whether a product is vegan or not can often be a perplexing task.

This difficulty stems primarily from manufacturers cleverly obscuring the nature and origins of their ingredients.

With this article, our aim is to shed light on the truth and support you, our valued reader, on your commendable vegan journey.

Are Chick-O-Sticks Vegan?

Here’s the deal: Chick-O-Sticks are probably vegan. Chick-O-Stick parent company, Atkinson Candy Company, claims this product is completely vegan friendly. There are two ingredients that could use further clarification but could in all likelihood be vegan.

The first is natural vanilla flavor. Seems simple enough, but the source of natural vanilla flavor can sometimes be from animals, specifically from a gland located near a beaver’s tail. However, it’s unlikely that this is the kind of vanilla in Chick-O-Sticks, one, because the Atkinson Candy Company’s website claims this product is vegan, and two, because it’s not common in food.

The other ingredient that gives us pause is cane sugar. Cane sugar is sometimes processed with animal bone char. However, the use of this method is waning in favor of vegan filters, such as activated charcoal. It’s entirely possible that the sugar in this product is not processed with bone char.

Still, we can’t say for sure.

Is Chick-O-Stick Candy Cruelty-Free?

No, Chick-O-Stick candy is not cruelty-free. It contains several ingredients that come from genetically modified organisms, or GMO. GMOs are tested on animals to ensure they are safe for humans to eat, so nothing that includes GMO ingredients is cruelty-free, sadly.

Furthermore, Chick-O-Sticks contain palm kernel oil, a controversial ingredient among environmentalists and vegans. The production and harvesting of palm oil wreaks havoc on wildlife habitats and native populations in Southeast Asia, as well as exploiting migrant workers.

What Is Chick-O-Stick Candy Made Of?

Chick-O-Stick is a popular candy that has been a staple of the Atkinson Candy Company for decades. Below is a comprehensive list of all the ingredients in this candy:

  • Corn syrup
  • Sugar
  • Peanut butter
  • Toasted coconut
  • Natural vanilla flavor
  • Salt
  • Vegetable juice color
  • Vitamin E
  • Palm kernel oil

Corn Syrup

Corn syrup is a sweetener made from cornstarch. It’s plant based and thus considered vegan, but it’s also GMO, which means it’s tested on animals.


Sugar is a sweetening agent derived from sugarcane or sugar beet. While it is plant based, it’s worth noting that some sugar is processed using bone char from animal bones, which is not vegan. The source of the sugar used in Chick-O-Stick is not clarified, but it is, in all likelihood, GMO.

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is a spread made from ground, dry-roasted peanuts. It’s completely plant based and vegan friendly.

Toasted Coconut

Toasted coconut is simply coconut flesh that’s been roasted until it’s brown and crispy. It’s plant based and vegan.

Natural Vanilla Flavor

As stated earlier, the source of natural vanilla flavor can sometimes be animal derived. Without clarity from the manufacturer, it’s a potential concern for vegans. The non-vegan version is mostly used for cosmetics, though, not food.


Salt is a mineral and thus vegan friendly.

Vegetable Juice Color

Vegetable juice color is a natural food colorant derived from vegetables. It’s plant based and vegan friendly.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E in food can be derived from various sources, both plant and animal. Without specific information, we can’t confirm if the one used in Chick-O-Stick is vegan friendly, but the company claims this product is vegan, so the vitamin E probably is not from animals.

Palm Kernel Oil

Palm kernel oil is a plant-based oil derived from the kernels of palm fruit. It’s vegan but poses ethical concerns due to the environmental impact of palm oil farming.

Vegan Alternatives to Chick-O-Stick

Despite Chick-O-Stick candy being only probably vegan and certainly not cruelty-free, there are numerous vegan alternative brands available. Explore the world of vegan candies:

These treats provide similar flavors and are 100% vegan friendly, non-GMO, and gluten-free.


So, the Atkinson Candy Company’s Chick-O-Stick is probably vegan, but it’s definitely not cruelty-free.

Nonetheless, there are various fully vegan and cruelty-free alternatives available to satisfy your sweet tooth while remaining true to your vegan food principles.

Stay vigilant and always check the ingredients label of anything you eat. You’re making a difference!