Are Jelly Belly Jelly Beans Vegan and Cruelty-Free?

July 25, 2023

Identifying whether a product like Jelly Bellies is vegan can be challenging. 

This is largely due to manufacturers often hiding the nature and source of their ingredients, leaving consumers to decipher their composition. 

This article will uncover the truth about Jelly Belly jelly beans, guiding you on your journey towards maintaining a vegan lifestyle.

Are Jelly Bellies Vegan?

No, Jelly Belly beans are not considered vegan. This is due to several ingredients in the product. Key among these are confectioner’s glaze, natural and artificial flavors, and refined cane sugar.

Confectioner’s glaze, often used in gummy candies, is derived from the secretions of the female lac bug. 

Natural and artificial flavors, found in many jelly beans, can be of animal origin. 

Refined cane sugar, used in many sweets including the Jelly Belly candy company’s products, may have been processed using bone char, a non-vegan ingredient.

Are Jelly Belly Beans Cruelty-Free?

Unfortunately, Jelly Belly beans are not cruelty-free either. The confectioner’s glaze, as previously stated, is derived from insects, which leads to their exploitation and harm. They also contain food coloring, which is often tested on animals.

What Are Jelly Bellies Made Of?

Jelly Belly, a well-known brand famous for its myriad flavors of jelly beans, is made of several ingredients that come together to create these iconic sweet treats. The candy’s delightful flavor and chewy texture are a result of a blend of simple and complex ingredients. 

However, the exact composition may vary between different flavors of Jelly Belly. Here’s a general list of the main ingredients in Jelly Belly:

  • Sugar
  • Corn syrup
  • Modified food starch
  • Fruit juice concentrate
  • Natural and artificial flavorings
  • Colorings (including red 40, yellow 5 and 6, and blue 1)
  • Confectioner’s glaze
  • Beeswax
  • Carnauba wax

Let’s delve into a bit more detail about each of these ingredients.


Sugar is the primary sweetening ingredient in Jelly Bellies. It usually comes from two sources: sugarcane and sugar beets. Sugar provides the sweetness that we all associate with candies. 

Although sugar itself is vegan as it is derived from plant sources, some sugars are processed using bone char from animals, making them non-vegan. It’s often unclear whether the sugar used in candies like Jelly Bellies has undergone this process unless explicitly stated by the manufacturer.

Corn syrup

Corn syrup is another sweetener used in Jelly Belly jelly beans. It is derived from cornstarch and is fully vegan. It’s used to provide additional sweetness and help give the jelly beans their soft, chewy texture.

Modified food starch

Modified food starch is used as a thickening agent in Jelly Bellies. This ingredient is typically derived from corn, wheat, potato, or tapioca. Its role is to give the jelly beans their distinctive firm yet chewable texture. Modified food starch is vegan.

Fruit juice concentrate

Fruit juice concentrate is used in Jelly Belly jelly beans to provide natural flavors. This ingredient is derived from various fruits, depending on the flavor of the jelly bean. This ingredient is vegan because it comes directly from plant sources.

Natural and artificial flavorings

Natural and artificial flavorings give Jelly Belly beans its wide array of distinctive flavors. Natural flavors are derived from plant or animal sources, while artificial flavors are synthesized in a lab. 

Because natural flavors can come from animal sources, some may not be vegan, and it can be difficult to determine their origin unless specified by the manufacturer.


Colorings are what give Jelly Belly beans their vibrant hues. They may include Red 40, Yellow 5 and 6, and Blue 1. These are synthetic colorings and are generally considered vegan because they are not derived from animal sources. 

However, some individuals may choose to avoid them due to potential health concerns. They’re also frequently tested on animals.

Confectioner’s glaze

Confectioner’s glaze, also known as shellac, gives Jelly Belly beans their shiny appearance. This ingredient is derived from the secretions of the female lac bug and is therefore not considered vegan.


Beeswax is used to add shine to Jelly Belly beans. Because it is produced by bees, beeswax is not vegan.

Carnauba wax

Carnauba wax is another ingredient used for shining Jelly Belly beans. It is derived from the leaves of the carnauba palm and is therefore vegan.

Vegan Alternatives to Jelly Belly Beans

If you’re searching for vegan jelly beans and other vegan-friendly candies that mimic the taste and texture of Jelly Belly beans, you’re in luck. There are a variety of delicious, animal-friendly alternatives on the market. For example:

Each of these products are confirmed to be vegan and provide a similar texture and variety of flavors to Jelly Belly beans.


While Jelly Belly beans tantalize with their exotic flavors, they unfortunately do not align with a vegan or cruelty-free lifestyle due to the use of ingredients such as confectioner’s glaze and potentially bone-char processed sugar. 

Thankfully, there are a variety of alternatives that are vegan friendly, allowing you to enjoy a sweet treat without compromising your dietary principles. 

Always remember to stay informed and consume consciously — our choices matter not just for our health, but for the health of our planet and all its inhabitants.