Are Sour Patch Kids Vegan when Most Chewy Candies Are Not?

Are sour patch kids vegan?

How often do you stroll past the candy lane in the supermarket because you doubt if any of them are vegan. We are sure this lemon tinted pack has often made you wonder, are sour patch kids vegan? While they may not be the healthiest candy we recommend you to dive into, most varieties of sour patch kids are definitely vegan. 

All chewy candies contain gelatin, so are Sour Patch Kids vegan? 

Most chewy, stretchy, and sour candies are known to contain gelatin which is an animal derived product. Gelatin is a type of protein which is obtained by boiling animal skin, tendons, ligaments, and bones together in water to form an elastic substance. Some preparations instead use agar agar derived from sea weeds to serve the same purpose in a cruelty free method. 

You’d be happy to know that sour patch kids do not contain gelatin. These popular chewy candies are instead bonded by corn starch. This means you can stop your cart in that candy aisle of the supermarket and pick up these treats up till your heart’s brim.

There are a few other seemingly non vegan ingredients in the original Sour Patch Kids. These are sugar, natural and artificial flavours, yellow 5, yellow 6, red 40, and blue 1. 

sour patch kids

Sour Patch Kids doesn’t specify how their sugar is acquired.

A large amount of sugar in North America is refined using the charred remains of animal bones. You may never know how your white sugar is filtered. The Sour Patch Kids company does not specify any definitive answer as to how their sugar is acquired and processed. 

Bone char is vastly produced in cruel slaughterhouses by heating the bones of cattle at very high temperatures until they turn into carbon. This product is used in order to filter and bleach the brown coloured cane sugar to make it white and pristine. 

It is essential to understand that every cane sugar in the market may not necessarily be bleached by bone char. Likewise, every sugar may not be derived from sugar cane. Many sugar companies use granular activated carbon for the filtration and bleaching process. It is also common for some producers to acquire sugar from beet or coconut which is naturally white and does not require filtration.  

It is true that quite a large number of candy companies acquire their sugar from widely different sources and it is almost impossible for them to track which type of sugar is used in every product. 

You must consider that bone char isn’t passed into the final refined sugar during the filtration process and it is not possible to completely eliminate sugar from your diet. We do not advise you to make your choices more restricted by eliminating sugar which is quite essential for a balanced intake of nutrients. 

(We don’t expect candies to make a balanced diet, but we are aware of your suspicion and how it comes to play a role in your other food choices too.)

The presence of artificial colours in Sour Patch Kids is not well tolerated by many vegans.

Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Red 40, and blue 1 are amongst the artificial colours fundamentally employed in making these candies. So are sour patch kids vegan if they use artificial colours? 

These colours may not be derived from animals in the first place. Red 40 is obtained from either coal or petroleum. Blue 1, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6 are also derived from petroleum. While this may not be a big issue, artificial colours are looked down upon because of their requisite essential and notorious testing on animals from time to time. Mice, rats, rabbits, and even dogs are subjected to severe pain and isolation by these inhumane methods of testing meant to serve humanism. 

These dyes are fed to these poor animals to see what health problems occur in them. The animals are then killed after they develop health abnormalities. Many times, the testing itself kills them.

Artificial colours are not vegan for many ethical vegans. If the production of a product requires unethical and mindless killing of animals, it is cruel. Although some vegans feel it is not possible to avoid them and the product itself is not animal derived. 

You have to make this choice. Choosing a vegan lifestyle is about decreasing your carbon footprint and reducing the cruelty   faced by animals with human actions. It is also true that you cannot eliminate every essential nutrient from your diet while being too strictly vegan. We understand this can get difficult sometimes. Sort your priorities and commitment to make the choice easier.

Artificial colours are also banned in many European nations because of their proven links with diseases such as ADHD and cancer 

The natural and artificial flavours in Sour Patch Kids may not be that natural.

It is almost a fact that all natural and artificial flavours are not vegan. While quite a few natural flavours may be derived from plants, many are indeed derived from animal sources. The US FDA’s Code of Federal Regulations has made a list of the permitted animal and plant sources from which natural flavours may be derived for incorporation in food items.

  • Fruit or fruit juice
  • Vegetables or vegetable juice
  • Edible yeast, bark, herbs, buds, root leaves, or plant material
  • Spices
  • Meat, poultry or seafood
  • Eggs
  • Dairy products, including fermented products

Natural flavours are obtained by a process that involves heating the plant or animal source. The presence of natural flavours may make you uncomfortable. The Sour Patch Kids company does not specify how these flavours are obtained. If it is essential to you, it is possible to ask the company or manufacturer to be clear about the specificity of the source.

Many people assume by the term natural that natural flavours are predominantly obtained from plants. While this is not the case and many flavours which are considered plant derived are actually animal derived. For example, Castoreum is extracted from the anal secretions of beavers and is often presumed to be vegan. 

Many vegans choose to consume foods which contain natural flavours because avoiding these substances does not really have as much impact as avoiding meat, eggs, dairy products, and honey.

This drives us back to the initial question, are Sour Patch Kids Vegan?

If you are comfortable with consuming refined sugar, artificial colours, and natural and artificial flavours as components of your food, yes, they are vegan. 

If you are an ethical vegan who would not tolerate any amount of cruelty sustained by animals or labourers in the making of your food, then most candies are not vegan. 

We have discovered that the Original Sour Patch Kids, along with Sour Patch Kids Tropical, Sour Patch Kids Mango, Sour Patch Kids Watermelon, and Sour Patch Kids Berries, are considerably vegan as most of their ingredients are similar to the original Sour Patch Kids like we have mentioned.

Sour Patch Kids Watermelon flavour is known to contain Titanium Dioxide as an ingredient in addition to the other constituents similar to the original variety. Contrary to some beliefs, Titanium dioxide occurs naturally as an earth mineral and is safe to be consumed by vegans.

Attention! There are two non vegan varieties of Sour Patch Kids.

Sour Patch Kids Extreme variety contains lactic acid as an ingredient. As vegans do not consume dairy products, lactic acid is a repellant. Sour Patch Kids Xploderz also contains lactic acid. 

You wouldn’t want to miss this important information about the safety of Sour Patch Kids.

  • Sour Patch kids are certified Kosher according to Sour Punch website. Kosher certification is a process by which a company makes sure that their food is safe for consumption by strictly observant Jews who practice a religious dietary protocol with origins in the Jewish biblical tradition. Kosher food is often labelled “U” or “K”.
  • Sour Patch Kids are gluten free. None of the ingredients in Sour Patch Kids candies contain gluten or gluten based items as constituents. This has been confirmed by the Celiac Disease Foundation. Contrary to some beliefs, Sour Patch Kids Watermelon is also gluten free.
  • Sour Patch Kids are not licorice and none of their constituents are derived from the licorice plant. 
  • Many reviewers sometimes exclaim that the Sour Patch Kids company isn’t very clear about the use of gelatin in their products. So in order for you to stay safe, we recommend you some vegan treats that definitely don’t contain gelatin.

We understand your love for gooey and sticky  gummy candies. In case the Sour Patch Kids candies don’t satisfy your criteria for being vegan, we have brought to you some other similar and irresistable options to indulge in. We understand your love for gooey and sticky 

  • Some flavours of JELL-O Instant pudding are definitely vegan.
  • Simply Delish Jel Dessert
  • Skittles
  • Dandies Vegan Marshmallows

So are Sour Patch Kids vegan unlike many other similar gooey candies?

The answer depends on how ethical and strict your vegan lifestyle is founded to be. If you are disturbed by the use of artificial colours, natural flavours, refined sugar, and the uncertain presence of gelatin, you should opt for other considerably vegan options.


Many vegans acknowledge that it is not quite possible to eliminate these specific constituents from packed food even if it doesn’t contain any other direct non vegan substances. Sour Patch Kids are considerably vegan because they don’t directly contain animal derived products.

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!