As an Amazon Associate, we earn a small commission from qualifying purchases at no added cost to you.

Are Sour Patch Kids Vegan? Let’s Find Out

Kids love candies, and one of the most popular names is Sour Patch Kids. But one of the major concerns among people these days is the debate the answer to “are sour patch kids vegan?”

If we check the ingredients used in making these popular candies, it might seem like the candies do not use any additive derived from animals. It may seem like it is vegan, but we shouldn’t be so abrupt with our judgment. 

Although it does not have any common non-vegan ingredients like gelatine, we still need to analyze other ingredients being used in the candy. Some of these ingredients are non-natural flavors, sugar, and other additional colors. So, let us analyze all these ingredients to find out, are sour patch kids vegan? 

Are Sour Patch Kids Vegan? explained with fact
Are Sour Patch Kids Vegan

Are sour patch kids vegan? : What goes into making

Sour Patch Kids is made of many ingredients, some of which are natural, while others are human-made or artificial ingredients. The natural ingredient derived from plants is sugar which gives Sour Patch Kids its sweet flavor. Apart from these, other non-natural ingredients are also put into its making to give these candies their distinct appearance, consistency, and pigmentation.

While all of this may seem like normal vegan ingredients, it is not so simple. Sugar, artificial flavors, and colors used in making Sour Patch Kids are problematic and not necessarily friendly for vegans. This is because, though these might be derived from plants, the process of manufacturing these ingredients is not always free from brutality to animals. 

Sugar is not always vegan

We all know sugar occurs naturally. It is indeed plant-based. The two major sources from where sugar can be derived are sugar beets and sugarcane. These two sources are widely used in the United States of America, where Sour Patch Kids is manufactured and consumed. 

Although sugar derived from these two sources are not much different in flavor or consistency, the process of deriving and refining it is not at all the same. Sugar derived from beets is completely natural as it only involves extraction by a diffuser and mixing it with additives to crystallize it. 

Sugar derived from the cane, on the other hand, is not all that natural. It involves the use of ‘bone char,’ which is not vegan. This ingredient is used to bleach, process, and refine the sugar derived from the cane.  

Bone char is essentially derived from cattle bones found in countries like Pakistan, Argentina, India, and Afghanistan. After receiving the bones from these cattle, Egyptian, Scottish and Brazilian traders sell them to companies that manufacture and supply sugar in the United States. This bone char is then used to give sugar its pure white color. Hence, this sugar is not truly vegan due to bone char as a decolorizing agent. 

Non-natural Colours and Flavours

Sugar is not the only controversial ingredient that is used in making Sour Patch Kids. The use of artificial flavors and colors in these candies raised several questions on whether these are completely vegan. It is not very smart to trust the candy labels to conclude that these ingredients are indeed vegan.

Different colors are derived from different sources. Colors like red, yellow, and blue and obtained from petroleum and coal. Although this does not sound the most appetizing, at least the relief factor is that these are all vegan. But the issue is not with the sources, rather the process of manufacture. 

A lot of these non-natural ingredients are first experimented on animals to ensure safety standards. Animals like rats, dogs, and mice usually face animal cruelty due to such testing. These artificial dyes, when tested on animals, normally result in tumors and other health risks. Animals face such barbarian treatment to ensure the safety of consumers. 

Most of the time, animals do not lose their lives because of such experiments, but they suffer in the process. 

Do these ingredients make Sour Patch Kids Non-Vegan?

Such use of bone char and animal experiments in manufacturing ingredients required for Sour Patch Kids puts a question mark over the genuineness of claims of being vegan-friendly. In the case of sugar, most companies use sugar produced from beets and cane.

So it is impossible to determine whether the candy you are having is made using bone char or not. Companies like Oreo have already accepted that they do use sugar manufactured by using bone char.

The interesting fact here is that both Oreo and Sour Patch Kids are owned by the same parent company called Mondelez International. So, it is rather apparent and indeed accepted by the companies that they buy sugars from both beet and cane manufacturers. 

Additionally, as already discussed, artificial flavors and colors are tested on animals. Although experiment for flavors doesn’t happen very often, dyes are regularly tested on these innocent beings. One may argue that animal testing may not affect many vegans or vegetarians as no real animal products are being used or no animal is necessarily losing its life. But if we understand the term ‘vegan’ in its true sense, even animal cruelty should be avoided for a vegan product. 

are sour patch kids vegan? Our Verdict

It is tough to come to a definite conclusion in the case of Sour Patch Kids. After analyzing different ingredients used, how it is manufactured, and the whole process behind it, it comes down to one’s judgment to determine whether Sour Patch Kids is truly vegan. 

But as per our research on this subject, we have concluded that this beloved kids’ candy is not vegan. The controversial ingredient of sugar, artificial colors, and artificial flavors do not stand the test of being free from any forms of animal cruelty. Sugar used in Sour Patch Kids, at least some fraction of it, uses bone char.

This sugar uses an animal product, i.e., bones of cattle, without which it cannot be manufactured. Further, various advocates of animal rights strongly condemn the use of animals in experiments to ensure food safety standards.

These animals are subjected to various life-threatening chemicals that severely damage their health and, in some cases, also lead to their death. And since Sour Patch Kids cannot be produced without using these artificial colors and flavors, we refuse to believe that this candy is truly a vegan-friendly product.    


If we judge every product by these strict standards, then no sweet-flavored product can be said to be completely vegan. However, there are still ways to find other alternatives for these products if one genuinely wants to pursue strict vegan principles. It is tough to avoid sugar in your diet or ensure it comes from a vegan-friendly source, but a few changes in your diet can surely help you achieve your vegan goals!

Leave a Comment