Are Sour Patch Kids Vegan? A Guide for Vegans

Sour Patch Kids are very popular among both kids and adults. These delicious and tangy treats come in a variety of flavors and are a favorite among many. However, if you’re vegan, you may be wondering if Sour Patch Kids are vegan friendly.

Are Sour Patch Kids Vegan?

The short answer is, no. Sour Patch Kids aren’t certifiably vegan by most standards. The main ingredient in Sour Patch Kids is sugar, and most sugar is processed using animal bone char.

Bone char is made from the bones of cattle and other animals and is used to filter and process sugar to give it a white color. This means that even though Sour Patch Kids don’t contain any actual animal flesh, they are not vegan.

Do Sour Patch Kids Have Gelatin?

It’s notable that Sour Patch Kids don’t have gelatin listed as an ingredient. Gelatin is often used in gummy candies and other sweets as a binding agent. It’s made from animal collagen and is definitely not vegan.

The fact that Sour Patch Kids don’t have gelatin makes them unique among gummy candy. However, this makes some members of the vegan community skeptical because Sour Patch Kids didn’t include any binding agent in their list of ingredients at all. 

Sour Patch Kids Ingredients

Here’s the list of ingredients in Sour Patch Kids:

  • Sugar
  • Invert sugar
  • Corn syrup
  • Modified corn starch
  • Tartaric acid
  • Citric acid
  • Natural and artificial flavor
  • Colors: Yellow #6, Red #40, Yellow #5, Blue #1

As you can see, no animal products are on the list of ingredients. However, sugar remains a controversial ingredient among vegans.

While Sour Patch Kids don’t technically have any animal products in them, the use of sugar processed with bone char means that they are not vegan-friendly. For strict vegans, this is a deal breaker.

Let’s break down each ingredient to see if it’s definitely vegan.

Sugar

Sugar is a tricky one because some sugar isn’t processed using bone char. However, according to Mondelez International, the company that makes Sour Patch Kids, the sugar in them comes from many different suppliers and some of them may use bone char in the processing.

Invert sugar

Invert sugar is simply a type of sugar that has been processed to change its structure. It’s made by adding enzymes to sucrose (table sugar), which breaks it down into glucose and fructose.

Depending on the source and type of the enzymes, it may not be safe for vegan consumption. 

Corn syrup

Corn syrup is a type of sugar made from corn, obviously. It’s made by processing cornstarch with enzymes to break it down into glucose. It is 100% vegan.

Modified corn starch

Modified corn starch is simply cornstarch that has been processed to change its structure. It’s usually made by adding chemicals or enzymes to give it better emulsifying and thickening properties.

Modified corn starch does not contain any animal-based byproducts so it’s safe for vegan consumption.

Tartaric acid

Tartaric acid is a type of fruit acid found in grapes, bananas, and tamarinds. It is used as a flavoring agent and can also be used to add tartness or sourness to foods. Tartaric acid doesn’t come from animals and is therefore safe for vegan consumption.

Citric acid

Citric acid is a type of fruit acid that is found in citrus fruits like lemons and oranges. It is used as a flavoring agent and can be used to add sourness to foods. Citric acid doesn’t exploit or come from animals and is therefore safe for vegan consumption.

Natural and artificial flavor

It’s difficult to say whether natural and artificial flavors are vegan because the term is so vague. The term is an umbrella term that can refer to any number of flavorings, some of which may be vegan and some of which may not.

The best way to determine whether or not natural and artificial flavors are vegan is to contact the company and ask them directly. However, the consensus among vegans is that natural and artificial flavors are usually not vegan.

Colors: Yellow #6, Red #40, Yellow #5, Blue #1

Food coloring is another controversial ingredient among vegans. Most food coloring is made from plants, except cochineal extract, which is made from insects.

The colors Yellow #6 and Red #40 are all vegan according to PETA. However, the problem is that these are tested on animals. So, while the colors themselves are vegan, the way they are produced is not cruelty free. For strict vegans, this is another deal breaker.

What Kind of Gelatin Do Sour Patch Kids Have?

Gelatin is a protein made from the skin, bones, and connective tissue of animals. It is used to give foods a Jell-O-like texture. It’s not included in the list of ingredients for Sour Patch Kids. However, the fact no gelling agent is listed on the package makes vegans suspect that gelatin may be present.

Why Do Sour Patch Kids Not Count As Vegan?

Sour Patch Kids have a number of non-vegan ingredients, most notably sugar. And while not all sugar is processed with bone char, the fact that it’s not clear whether the sugar in Sour Patch Kids has been processed with bone char means they are not vegan-friendly.

Mondelez International, the makers of Sour Patch Kids, has stated that they have multiple sources of sugar and that some of them may use bone char in the processing.

In addition to sugar, Sour Patch Kids also contain natural and artificial flavors, which are usually not vegan. These flavorings can be from any number of sources, some of which may be vegan and some of which may not.

Finally, the food coloring used in Sour Patch Kids is also usually not vegan. Most artificial colors are made from synthetic ingredients, but they are tested on animals, which most vegans consider to be a deal breaker.

Is Sour Patch Watermelon Vegan?

No. Sour Patch Watermelon uses refined sugar that may be processed with bone char. In addition, it contains natural and artificial flavors that are typically not vegan. The food coloring used in Sour Patch Watermelon is also usually not cruelty free.

Are Sour Punch Straws Vegan?

No. Sour Punch Straws use refined sugar that may be processed with bone char. Furthermore, they contain natural and artificial flavors that are typically not vegan. The food coloring used in Sour Punch Straws is also usually not cruelty free.

Are Sour Patch Kids Xploderz Vegan?

No. Sour Patch Kids Xploderz has lactic acid that can be derived from milk. And, like the original Sour Patch Kids, it has refined sugar, as well as natural and artificial flavors, which are typically not vegan. The food coloring used in Sour Patch Kids Xploderz is also not cruelty free.

Alternatives to Sour Patch Kids for Vegans

There are many vegan-friendly alternatives to Sour Patch Kids. Here are a few popular options:

As you can see, there are plenty of vegan-friendly options when it comes to sour-sweet snacks. These tasty treats don’t use gelatin and only use organic cane sugar. So next time you’re at the store, be sure to check out these alternatives to Sour Patch Kids.

Final Word

With a few ingredients that are decidedly not vegan, Sour Patch Kids are not the best choice for vegans. All variants use sugar that may be processed with bone char and they all use natural and artificial flavors. Additionally, the artificial colors are also usually not cruelty free. So if you’re looking for a sour-sweet treat not manufactured by exploiting animals, you might want to check out one of the vegan alternatives. 

The only way that you can truly be sure a food item is vegan is to look for a vegan certification on the label.