Skip to content

Is starburst vegetarian?

assorted posters and vandals on wall

Starburst is a popular candy known for its vibrant colors and fruity flavors. However, for those following a vegetarian diet, the question arises: is Starburst vegetarian? In this article, we will delve into the ingredients of Starburst and explore whether or not it aligns with a vegetarian lifestyle.

Understanding Vegetarianism

Before we dive into the specifics of Starburst, let’s first understand what it means to be vegetarian. Vegetarianism is a dietary choice that excludes the consumption of meat, poultry, and seafood. However, there are different variations within vegetarianism:

  • Lacto-vegetarian: Excludes meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs but includes dairy products.
  • Ovo-vegetarian: Excludes meat, poultry, seafood, and dairy products but includes eggs.
  • Lacto-ovo vegetarian: Excludes meat, poultry, and seafood but includes dairy products and eggs.
  • Vegan: Excludes all animal products, including meat, poultry, seafood, dairy products, eggs, and even honey.

Examining the Ingredients

To determine whether Starburst is vegetarian-friendly, we need to analyze its ingredients. The primary ingredients of Starburst include:

  • Sugar: Sugar is a common ingredient in candies and is typically vegetarian-friendly.
  • Corn Syrup: Corn syrup is derived from corn and is generally considered vegetarian.
  • Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil: This ingredient raises concerns for vegetarians as it may be derived from animal sources. However, in the case of Starburst, the hydrogenated palm kernel oil used is plant-based, making it suitable for vegetarians.
  • Apple Juice from Concentrate: This ingredient is derived from apples and is vegetarian-friendly.
  • Citric Acid: Citric acid is a natural acid found in citrus fruits and is vegetarian-friendly.
  • Gelatin: Gelatin is a common ingredient in gummy candies and is derived from animal collagen. Unfortunately, Starburst contains gelatin, making it unsuitable for vegetarians.
  • Artificial Flavors: The artificial flavors used in Starburst are typically derived from synthetic sources and are vegetarian-friendly.
  • Artificial Colors: Starburst contains various artificial colors, such as Red 40, Yellow 5, and Blue 1. These colors are synthetically produced and do not pose any concerns for vegetarians.

Vegetarian Alternatives

For vegetarians who enjoy fruity candies, there are several alternatives to Starburst available in the market. Some popular vegetarian-friendly candy brands include:

  • Skittles: Skittles are similar to Starburst in terms of flavors and texture but do not contain gelatin.
  • Twizzlers: Twizzlers are a licorice candy that is vegetarian-friendly and comes in various flavors.
  • Mike and Ike: Mike and Ike candies are chewy fruit-flavored candies that do not contain gelatin.
  • Smarties: Smarties are small, colorful candies that are vegetarian-friendly and have been enjoyed for generations.


While Starburst may be a beloved candy for many, it is not suitable for vegetarians due to the inclusion of gelatin. However, there are numerous vegetarian-friendly alternatives available that offer similar fruity flavors and textures. It is essential for vegetarians to carefully read ingredient labels to ensure that the products they consume align with their dietary choices. By making informed decisions, vegetarians can enjoy a wide variety of candies without compromising their lifestyle.