Are Mike and Ikes Vegan and Cruelty-Free?

August 25, 2023

Identifying whether or not Mike and Ikes are vegan can be a challenging task. 

This difficulty arises because manufacturers often obscure the nature and source of their ingredients. 

This article aims to unveil the truth and support you, our young and passionate reader, in your commendable vegan lifestyle.

Are Mike and Ikes Vegan?

Mike and Ike candy is not vegan. It has a number of non-vegan ingredients.

The primary reason is the presence of gelatin in the ingredients list, which is derived from animal collagen. Gelatin is a non-vegan ingredient used as a gelling agent in many candies, including Mike and Ike candies.

Furthermore, Mike and Ikes contain sugar, which is often processed using bone char. While bone char is slowly being phased out around the world, it’s still common in the US, and manufacturers rarely disclose whether they use sugar processed with bone char. In the case of Mike and Ikes, it’s entirely possible the sugar is not vegan.

Mike and Ikes also contain confectioner’s glaze, also known as shellac. Shellac is not vegan because it’s made from lac bug secretions. Yeah, bug secretions, I said that. 

Are Mike and Ikes Cruelty-Free?

Mike and Ikes are not cruelty-free. Mike and Ike candies contain food coloring, which is notorious for being tested on animals. Animal testing is a ghastly practice that forces untold horrors on defenseless animals. It is not conducive to a vegan lifestyle.

What Are Mike and Ikes Made Of?

Mike and Ikes, a popular chewy candy with fruity flavors, have a range of ingredients that contribute to their unique taste and chewy texture. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Gelatin
  • Sugar
  • Corn syrup
  • Modified food starch
  • Fruit juice from concentrate
  • Citric acid
  • Natural and artificial flavors
  • Confectioner’s glaze
  • Carnauba wax
  • White mineral oil
  • Magnesium hydroxide
  • Red 40
  • Yellow 5 (tartrazine)
  • Yellow 6
  • Blue 1


Derived from animal collagen, gelatin acts as a gelling agent in candies. It is not vegan as it comes from animal sources.


Often refined using bone char, sugar provides sweetness to the candy. Its vegan status can be questionable depending on the refining process.

Corn Syrup

A sweet syrup made from cornstarch, it is vegan friendly.

Modified Food Starch

Derived from various plants, it’s used to change the texture of foods. It’s vegan.

Fruit Juice from Concentrate

Extracted from fruits, it adds natural flavors to the candy. It’s vegan.

Citric Acid

A natural acid found in citrus fruits, it’s used for flavor and preservation. It’s vegan.

Natural and Artificial Flavors

These can be derived from both plant and animal sources. Without specific details, it’s hard to determine their vegan status.

Confectioner’s Glaze

Often derived from insects, it gives candies a shiny appearance. It’s not vegan.

Carnauba Wax

Extracted from the leaves of the carnauba palm, it’s used for shine and is vegan.

White Mineral Oil

A by-product of petroleum, it’s vegan. Some would argue this ingredient further disqualifies Mike and Ike candy from being cruelty-free, considering the environmental crimes of the petroleum industry as a whole.

Magnesium Hydroxide

A mineral-based compound, it’s vegan.

Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Blue 1

These are artificial food dyes. While they are chemically synthesized and not derived from animals, their testing often involves animals, making their cruelty-free status unquestionably negative.

Vegan Alternatives to Mike and Ikes

If you’re looking for vegan candies that can satisfy your sweet tooth without compromising your values, there are plenty of options out there. You have to be careful about sugar though. To be on the safe side, we’ve listed brands that we know don’t use sugar processed with bone char: 


Mike and Ikes, while delicious, are not suitable for those following a strict vegan diet or seeking cruelty-free products due to the presence of gelatin, shellac, and potentially non-vegan sugar. 

However, the world of candy offers numerous vegan alternatives that are just as tasty. As consumers, it’s crucial to be informed and make choices that align with our values. 

Your commitment to a vegan lifestyle is commendable, and with a bit of research, you can enjoy sweet treats without any guilt.