Are Sour Patch Kids Vegan?

You have probably come across Sour Patch Kids at one time or another during your regular grocery shopping trips. Essentially, they are a popular type of candy that is covered in sugar.

They come in many different flavors, such as tropical, watermelon, berries, and mango, and, as their name suggests, they are lip-puckeringly sour.

Are Sour Patch Kids Vegan?

However, are Sour Patch Kids suitable for vegans? The short answer is no, these candies are not suitable for vegans (Also check out Are Skittles Vegan?). 

With this in mind, this article will be exploring deeper into why Sour Patch Kids aren’t suitable for vegans, taking a closer look into the ingredients list. 

What Is In Sour Patch Kids?

Below, you will find the main ingredients found in Sour Patch Kids:

  • Corn Syrup 
  • Wheat Flour
  • Tartaric & Malic Acid
  • Citric Acid 
  • Glycerin
  • Glyceryl Monostearate 
  • Artificial Flavors:
  • Red 40
  • Yellow 5 (Tartrazine)
  • Blue 1

What Ingredients Are Not Suitable For Vegans?

  • Gelatin

Sour Patch Kids are chiefly composed of gelatin (Find out Is Jello Vegan?), an ingredient not suitable for vegans. 

This is because gelatin is a protein that is harvested from the bones, connective tissue, and skin of animals. 

It is typically used in food as a gelling and thickening agent and can be found in many foods including yogurt, jelly beans, marshmallows (Find out Are Marshmallows Vegan?), and ice cream.

Why Is Sugar Sometimes Not Vegan?

Sometimes, sugar isn’t considered vegan since it can be processed with bone char which is used to achieve the white coloring. 

Can Vegans Eat Natural And Artificial Flavorings?

This is not as straightforward an answer as it may seem. Essentially, vegans are able to eat natural flavorings if they are derived from plant sources. 

However, things get tricky when it comes to artificial flavorings. This is because these chemicals may have been tested on animals before being approved for human consumption. 

What Is Bone Char?

Bone is a material used to remove impurities and filter sugar. This is composed of animal bones, typically cattle bones, and can be found in a range of sugar products.

To make bone char, the bones are heated until charred and then ground into a fine powder. 

This was traditionally utilized by the sugar industry to remove impurities from sugar syrup, but it has also been used for many different uses including pigment for paints, artistic pastels, and inks. 

What Is Lactic Acid?

Categorized as a naturally occurring organic compound, lactic acid is found in various drinks and foods, including sourdough bread (Find out Is Bread Vegan?), milk, and yogurt. 

In food products, it is used as an additive as a result of its flavor-enhancing properties. In addition to this, it can also help improve the shelf life of some food products due to their preservative properties. 

What Is Palm Oil?

Extracted from the fruits of the African palm tree, palm oil is vegetable oil. This ingredient has been around for centuries in cooking and is a key ingredient in many packaged foods. 

It can be found in foods such as chocolate, cookies (Find out Are Oreos Vegan?), margarine, and ice cream.

However, the farming of palm oil has disastrous results on the environment, which makes many vegans avoid the product entirely. 

What Flavors Of Sour Patch Kids Are Vegan?

What Flavors Of Sour Patch Kids Are Vegan?
  • Sour Patch Kids Mango
  • Sour Patch Kids Watermelon
  • Sour Patch Kids Berries
  • Sour Patch Kids Tropical 
  • Original Sour Patch Kids

Are Sour Patch Straws Vegan?

Unfortunately no, Sour Punch Straws are not vegan.

While these candies don’t contain any specific ingredient that is solely derived from any animal, some of the ingredients aren’t considered 100% vegan due to their manufacturing processes. 

The main problem with these Sour Patch Straws is the sugars they are composed of. While most sugars are absolutely fine for vegans to eat and are made with natural plant ingredients. 

Sugar can also be derived from other sources. For instance, bone char which, as mentioned previously, is compromised from the bones of cattle. 

When the sugar is composed using sugar cane then bone char will typically be introduced during the process.

On the other hand, if the sugar is made from beets, then activated charcoal is introduced to the manufacturing process. 

Therefore, the ways in which different companies decide to ultimately process their sugar, by using bone char or not, is dependent on whether or not vegans can eat it. 

Since some candy (Check out Are Starburst Vegan?) manufacturers purchase their sugar from different suppliers, the process of creating that sugar is typically unknown.

This is the case for Sour Patch Kids and their Sour Patch Straws where the information regarding the sugar possessed is not made clear or is otherwise unknown. 

Therefore, while Sour Patch Straws may not contain any animal products in their ingredients list, many vegans may choose not to purchase them as a result of the issues mentioned above. 

Is Sour Patch Watermelon Vegan?

No, Sour Patch Watermelon wouldn’t be considered 100% vegan within the vegan community.

While the ingredients list doesn’t contain any gelatin, there are some other ingredients including artificial flavors and sugars that aren’t always considered to be vegan friendly. 

If you’re not a strict vegan, you could get away with eating these candies.

However, you should keep in mind that the sugar could be bone charring and the artificial flavoring could potentially have been tested on animals prior to human consumption. 

Vegan Alternatives To Sour Patch Kids

While finding vegan alternatives that don’t contain animal-based ingredients is relatively easy, finding candies that don’t contain artificial flavors, colorings, or sugars is much more difficult. 

However, below, you will find some vegan-friendly alternatives:

  • Sour Viking by Candy People
  • YumEarth: Organic Sour Beans
  • Smart Sweets Sweet Fish

Final Thoughts

On the outside, Sour Patch Kids look like a perfectly acceptable vegan candy; however, it’s not until you look closer at the ingredients list, and the ethics of the manufacturers, do you realize that these are in fact not vegan-friendly.

Hopefully, this guide has informed you on whether or not Sour Patch Kids are vegan.

Clara Howie
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