No matter what diet you’re on now, I’m sure your childhood was also made sweeter by candies. Who can forget Trick or Treats? Even without holidays, actually, candies are always a part of one’s childhood.
Does it bring back memories? My favorite was Starburst candies!
But when I chose to go vegan many years ago, I had to ask myself, are Starbursts vegan? Thankfully I found out that Starburst candies indeed are vegan! Although, it depends where they are made.
Keep reading to find out if Starbursts are vegan in your country of residence!
A Quick Background
Dating back to 1960 in the U.K., Starburst was first known as the Opal Fruits brand. This is according to Wrigley, its manufacturing company.
In 1967, the candy brand came to the U.S., called itself Starburst, and became one of the most popular fruit-flavored candies until now.
Like many other international brands, Wrigley products are produced in different countries, which create variations in its ingredients. However, the Starburst candy’s signature sweet, fruity taste remains the same.
The seemingly small but big difference? The vegan-friendly ingredients!
So Which Starbursts Are Vegan?
Anyone would probably easily think that Starbursts are vegan since they are fruit-flavored. What’s the harm in that, right?
Well, only the Starbursts in the U.K. are vegan. So what’s with the Starbursts in U.S.? GELATIN!
If you are new to the vegan diet, this will not set the alarm off for you. Well, I hate to burst anyone’s bubble, but gelatin is made from animal parts!
According to Web MD, gelatin is a “protein made from animal products”. Think skin, ligaments, tendons, and even bones! These are parts often chosen from pigs and cows for their collagen content.
In candies, especially taffy candies, gelatin is used to create the sticky, chewy, and gel-like texture that we all love about Starbursts. For vegans, however, this is of course a BIG NO.
The good news is, while gelatin is a highly-used ingredient in candies, it can be still substituted. To make candies (and similar food items) vegan-friendly, manufacturers can use vegetable gum, pectin, agar-agar, or carrageenan instead.
If you see these gelatin substitutes on the label, and no other animal products, then you’re safe!
What’s In A Starburst?
The Wrigley company, and even Mars, doesn’t really provide much info about the ingredients of their candies online. Fortunately, for us label freaks, stores that sell Starbursts has the information out in the open (thank heavens!).
If you want to know in detail what’s in a Starburst (or what makes it juicy, perhaps?), here is a complete list from the Spangler candy store (U.S.):
- Corn Syrup
- Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil
- Fruit Juice from Concentrate
- Citric Acid
- Tapioca Dextrin
- Modified Corn Starch
- Natural and Artificial Flavors
- Ascorbic Acid
- Coloring (Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Blue 1)
The vegan-friendly Starburst Fruit Chews from U.K. have these (from the Sainsbury store):
- Glucose Syrup
- Palm Fat
- Concentrated Fruit Juices
- Acid Citric Acid
- Modified Starch
- Acid Malic Acid
- Antioxidant Ascorbic Acid
- Emulsifier Lecithin
- Colours Anthocyanins
- Spirulina Extract
The original “unexplainably juicy” fruit chews from Starburst is just one of its many popular candies. There are also:
- Gummies (contains gelatin)
- Lollipops (has unspecified sugar)
- Jelly Beans (contains shellac or “confectioner’s glaze” from insects)
- Candy Canes (has unspecified sugar)
These varieties are either non-vegan or has a questionable ingredient. In this case, it is better to just find alternatives if you really have a sweet tooth.
BONUS: To learn how to make vegan gummy bears, another candy favorite, check out the video below.
Buying Your Vegan Starbursts
If you are in the U.K., and you are a vegan who loves Starbursts, you’re in the best place to buy its vegan-friendly kind. Starburst’s Original Fruit Chews from U.K. also has no artificial flavors or colors. So much better!
However, you still have to be careful before you stuff your grocery basket with packs of this fruity taffies. Some shops in UK may sell Starbursts that are from the U.S., which means it has gelatin in it.
On the other hand, if you are in the U.S. and want to get hold of vegan-friendly Starbursts, don’t sulk yet! You have Amazon to thank!
The biggest online shop in the world (or in the U.S. at least) is also considerate enough to sell “vegan-friendly” Starbursts from the UK. This will make the hunt easier!
Slow Down On The Sugar!
Now that you know that you can still enjoy Starbursts (from the UK only!), do not forget to take it easy on the sugar, because it really is A LOT!
I must admit, it’s easy to get carried away once I have opened a pack of this juicy taffy candy (it can be addicting!), but I have to stop myself!
Do you know how much sugar is in it? There are 61.2 grams of sugar per 100 grams of the fruit chews! Yikes! That’s more than half!
Are you worried now? You should be! To me, that’s enough reason to just enjoy it as a treat and not something to indulge in copiously. Just because it’s vegan-friendly doesn’t mean it’s healthy, and we vegans know that. In fact, we know better, right?
The Healthier Alternative
If you really have an insatiable sweet tooth (yes it happens!), reach for fruits instead, and I mean REAL FRUITS.
They are the best sweet foods you can opt for, and while they may not be as chewy as you’d like, at least you don’t have to worry if you eat a little too much.
Vegans With A Sweet Tooth
A sweet treat is something we all enjoy every now and then, and vegans are no exception! I, personally don’t buy Starburst anymore because I try to eliminate sugar as much as possible from my diet.
However if you still wish to consume them, there are many “accidentally” vegan candies today, thank goodness!
However I would recommend you always do your own research to determine if a certain brand of candy is indeed vegan, as not all information you find on the web is accurate.
So, are Starbursts vegan? Unfortunately only the Starbursts in U.K. are vegan, as Starburst candies in the U.S. contain gelatin from animal parts.
It’s always great to find vegan treats once in while, but never forget that sweets are not healthy. You can have candies of course, but avoid overindulging.
Do you love Starbursts too? How do you handle your cravings for candies? Let me know on the comment section below. And don’t forget to share this article in your favorite social media platform.