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Is starburst vegetarian?

vegetable salad served on white bowl

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 plant-based ingredient and is generally considered vegetarian.
  • Corn Syrup: Corn syrup is derived from corn, making it vegetarian-friendly.
  • 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 manufacturer has confirmed that the palm kernel oil used is sourced from sustainable plantations, making it suitable for vegetarians.
  • Fruit Juice from Concentrate: Starburst contains fruit juice from concentrate, which is derived from fruits and is vegetarian-friendly.
  • Citric Acid: Citric acid is a naturally occurring compound found in citrus fruits and is considered vegetarian.
  • Tapioca Dextrin: Tapioca dextrin is a starch extracted from the cassava plant, making it a vegetarian ingredient.
  • Gelatin: This is where the debate arises. Gelatin is a common ingredient in many candies, including gummy candies. It is derived from animal collagen, typically sourced from the skin, bones, and connective tissues of animals. However, Starburst does not contain gelatin, making it suitable for vegetarians.
  • Natural and Artificial Flavors: The specific ingredients used to create the natural and artificial flavors in Starburst are not disclosed. While some flavors may be derived from plant sources, others may be derived from animal sources. Without further information, it is difficult to determine the vegetarian status of these flavors.
  • 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.


Based on the analysis of Starburst’s ingredients, it can be concluded that Starburst is generally vegetarian-friendly. However, it is important to note that the natural and artificial flavors used in Starburst may vary, and some flavors may not align with a vegetarian diet. To be certain, it is recommended to check the specific ingredients and contact the manufacturer for further clarification.