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Is starburst vegan?

vegetables, food, ingredients

Is Starburst vegan? This is a question that many people who follow a vegan lifestyle may ask themselves. Starburst is a popular candy that is known for its fruity flavors and chewy texture. However, when it comes to determining whether or not Starburst is vegan, the answer is not as straightforward as one might think. In this article, we will explore the ingredients in Starburst, the manufacturing process, and the potential animal-derived ingredients that may be present in the candy.

Ingredients in Starburst

Starburst candies are made up of several ingredients, including:

  • Sugar
  • Corn syrup
  • Hydrogenated palm kernel oil
  • Fruit juice from concentrate
  • Citric acid
  • Tapioca dextrin
  • Gelatin
  • Natural and artificial flavors
  • Artificial colors

Potential Non-Vegan Ingredients

While most of the ingredients in Starburst are plant-based, there are a few potential non-vegan ingredients to be aware of:

  • Gelatin: Gelatin is a common ingredient in many candies and is derived from animal collagen. It is used as a gelling agent and gives candies their chewy texture. Unfortunately, Starburst contains gelatin, which makes it unsuitable for vegans.
  • Artificial colors: Some artificial colors used in Starburst may be derived from animal sources. For example, the red color in Starburst is often made from carmine, which is derived from crushed cochineal insects. However, it is important to note that the use of carmine in food products has decreased in recent years, and many companies have switched to plant-based alternatives.

Manufacturing Process

The manufacturing process of Starburst involves mixing the ingredients together, heating the mixture, and then shaping it into the familiar square-shaped candies. While the process itself does not inherently make Starburst non-vegan, it is important to consider the potential for cross-contamination with animal-derived ingredients during the manufacturing process.

Alternatives to Starburst

If you are following a vegan lifestyle and are looking for alternatives to Starburst, there are several options available:

  • Surf Sweets Organic Fruity Bears: These gummy bears are made with organic fruit juice and do not contain any animal-derived ingredients.
  • YumEarth Organic Fruit Snacks: These fruit snacks are made with organic fruit juice and do not contain gelatin or any other animal-derived ingredients.
  • SmartSweets: SmartSweets offers a variety of vegan gummy candies that are low in sugar and free from artificial colors and flavors.


While Starburst candies may be tempting, they are not suitable for vegans due to the presence of gelatin and potential animal-derived artificial colors. However, there are plenty of vegan-friendly alternatives available that offer similar fruity flavors and chewy textures. By being aware of the ingredients in the candies we consume, we can make informed choices that align with our dietary preferences and values.