Are Jolly Ranchers Vegan? 2023 Newest Update

Are Jolly Rancher Vegan?

Jolly Rancher has time and again proven to be our favorite American candy brand. Owned by Hershey’s, Jolly Rancher produces hard candy, lollipops, jelly beans, bites, chews, and gummies.

But are Jolly Rancher products vegan? 

The parent company Hershey’s specifically states that Jolly Rancher candies are not vegan.

However, it’s worth mentioning that some vegans who aren’t super strict are okay with the questionable ingredients.

Although some varieties of Jolly Ranchers could be considered vegan (at least by non-strict vegans), some others are definitely not.

In our updated article we will guide you through different Jolly Roger varieties, as well as ingredients, so that you can make an informed choice for yourself.

photo of lollipops

Do Jolly Ranchers have gelatin?

It is important to note that NOT all Jolly Rancher bites, chews, and gummies are vegan.

Some Jolly Rancher soft candies contain gelatin. Here is the list:

  • Jolly Rancher Crunch ‘n Chew
  • Jolly Rancher Original soft candy
  • Jolly Rancher Filled Gummies Bites 

Gelatin, derived from boiling animal skin, bones, ligaments, and cartilage, is commonly used to add a chewy texture to fruit-based candies, including Jolly Rancher. Unlike some other producers who have switched to plant-based pectin, Jolly Rancher continues to use gelatin, sourced from cows, pigs, and fish, raising concerns among certain consumers.

See also: Is Jello Vegan? What About Gelatin?

Jolly Rancher Hard Candy

Is Jolly Rancher Hard Candy vegan?

Jolly Ranchers hard candy INGREDIENTS: Corn Syrup, Sugar, Malic Acid, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Artificial Colors (Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Blue 1), Mineral Oil, and Lecithin.

Since only vegan-friendly ingredients appear on the ingredient list, Jolly Rancher hard candies are vegan-friendly (as long as the controversial ingredients are assumed to be vegan).

Jolly Rancher Hard Candy

Jolly Rancher Lollipops

Are Jolly Rancher Lollipops vegan?

Jolly Rancher Lollipops INGREDIENTS: Corn Syrup, Sugar, Malic Acid, Sodium Lactate, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Artificial Colors (Red 40, Yellow 5, Blue 1, Yellow 6), Lecithin, and BHT.

Again, considering all the ingredients, Jolly Rancher Lollipops are vegan as well (as long as the controversial ingredients are assumed to be vegan).

Jolly Rancher Lollipops

Jolly Rancher Beans

Are Jolly Rancher Beans vegan?

Jolly Rancher Beans INGREDIENTS: Corn Syrup, Cornstarch, Sugar, Sodium Lactate, Lactic Acid, Malic Acid, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Gum Acacia, Limonene, Mineral Oil, Carauba Wax, Artificial Colors (Red 40, Yellow 5, Blue 1, Yellow 6), Lecithin, and BHT.

Jolly Rancher Jelly Beans contain mostly similar ingredients to the hard candies, with a few additional plant-based ones, so Jolly Rancher Jelly Beans are vegan, too!

Jolly Rancher Jelly Beans

Jolly Rancher Bites/Chews/Gummies

When it comes to Jolly Rancher Bites, Chews, and Gummies ingredients, they vary product to product within each classification.

Many vegans assume that all Jolly Rancher contain confectioner’s glaze. This is not true. Only Jolly Rancher Jelly Hearts contain confectioner’s glaze.

Jolly Rancher Bites

So, are Jolly Rancher Bites, Chews or Gummies Vegan?

While some of the Jolly Rancher Bites, Chews, and Gummies are known to contain gelatin, some are definitely vegan.

VEGAN Jolly Rancher Soft Candies:

  • Sour Bites
  • Awesome Twosome Chews
  • Misfits – 2 in 1 Gummy Candies
  • Gummies – Original and Sour Flavors

NOT Vegan Jolly Rancher Soft Candies:

  • Jolly Rancher Filled Gummies Bites – Watermelon, Green Apple, and Cherry
  • Jolly Rancher Crunch ‘n Chew
  • Jolly Rancher Chews- Original Flavors

Questionable ingredients in Jolly Ranchers

It’s important to note that all varieties of Jolly Rancher candies (be it hard candies, lollipops, beans, bites, chews or gummies) contain these controversial ingredients that strict vegans tend to avoid:

  • Processed sugar
  • natural flavors
  • artificial colors

1. Sugar

Sugar is a concerning ingredient for vegans due to its common association with bone char in the processing. Over half of the sugar factories in North America use bone char to refine and filter sugar, which raises ethical issues for vegans.

Bone char is an absorptive carbon derived from burning animal skulls and bones, leading many vegans to question the origins of all sugar products.

While consumers worldwide prefer pristine white sugar, the natural color of cane sugar is brown. Although organic unfiltered brown cane sugar is available, it is unclear which type of sugar is used in factory-made food. Manufacturers have difficulty tracking the source as they acquire sugar from various producers.

Jolly Rancher candies are no exception to this uncertainty. The sugar in these candies could come from a producer using granular activated carbon instead of bone char, or it may be naturally white sugar derived from coconut or beetroot. The lack of clear labeling makes it challenging for vegans to confidently identify the sugar’s origin, adding to the complexity of their choices.

We personally recommend you to never worry about processed sugar in your food because it is impossible to track down the source. The sugar in your favorite Jolly Rancher candy might even be vegan. It probably is.

2. Natural flavors

The presence of natural flavors in Jolly Rancher candies raises questions for vegans. While all flavors suggest they could be derived from fruits, the ambiguity arises due to the FDA’s allowance of both animal and plant-based sources for natural flavors. Hershey’s, the parent company, stated that they cannot guarantee the vegan status of their products as the natural flavors come from a third party, making it difficult to determine any potential animal origin. This uncertainty has led some stricter vegans to avoid Jolly Rancher, even though many consumers speculate that the fruit-based taste indicates the flavors are likely vegan.

3. Food colors 

Jolly Rancher Candies

Jolly Rancher candies use artificial food colors, ensuring that no animal-derived sources are involved, making them suitable for vegans. For instance, Red 40, derived from petroleum or strawberries, is entirely vegan-friendly, while Red 4 (carminic acid) derived from crushed insects, is not vegan due to the use of animal-based ingredients in its production. Another vegan colorant used in Jolly Rancher is Blue 1, produced artificially in the laboratory and commonly found in medications and cosmetics. Similarly, Yellow 5 and Yellow 6, also derived from petroleum or strawberries, are considered vegan and are widely used in various products.

However, it’s crucial to note that even though these artificial colors are vegan, they are not cruelty-free. They have a history of being tested on animals in laboratories, causing significant harm and suffering to innocent creatures. It’s disheartening to see animals subjected to extreme pain and even death for the sake of a few colors in our food.

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So, are Jolly Ranchers Vegan?

photo of cupcakes

Jolly Ranchers are not completely vegan because certain products like Jolly Rancher Bites (Watermelon, Green Apple, and Cherry Filled Gummies), Jolly Rancher Chews Original Flavors, and Jolly Rancher Jelly Hearts contain non-vegan ingredients.

However, other Jolly Rancher products (such as Jolly Rancher Hard Candy, Lollipops, and Jelly Beans) might be considered suitable for non-strict vegans since they do not have these non-vegan ingredients.
It’s essential to note that these candies contain some ingredients that could raise concerns for certain vegans, such as sugar, natural flavors from unknown sources, and artificial colors.

As vegans, we suggest not refraining from the consumption of any food substance unless it is confirmed to be vegan. While we understand the concerns regarding processed sugar and natural flavors, avoiding minute ingredients might not have as significant an impact as avoiding meat, dairy, and eggs.

However, when it comes to products like Jolly Rancher, where animal testing for food colorants is a concern, we wholeheartedly advise avoiding them in support of putting an end to these cruel practices. Let’s continue to advocate for a compassionate and cruelty-free world, making mindful choices that align with our ethical values.

Joe became a vegan after watching Cowspiracy. He always knew something was off with the way we consume animal products, but watching the documentary made him realized how bad it actually is. Joe is now making sure that every product he buys is 100% vegan!