Are Skittles Vegan? (Wait, What?)

Are Skittles Vegan? (Wait, What?)

Thousands of questions have risen together with veganism… and funnily enough — most are related to food. Questions such as… are Oreos vegan? Is Nesquik powder vegan?

…Are skittles vegan? They’re all legitimate questions. 

The world of sweets, in particular, is an absolute minefield for vegans, where old delicious sweets made their way into our taste buds… and created this never-ending addiction.

We all crave for sweets… but what can we eat?

I’m going to go over Skittles in this blog post, and I’ll try and give you a plausible answer to this question, even though it might turn into a polarizing subject.

A Sneak Peek At The Ingredients

Ingredients: Sugar, Corn Syrup, Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil, Citric Acid, Tapioca Dextrin, Colors, Sodium Citrate, Carnauba Wax, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Modified Corn Starch

In 2010, Skittles reformulated their recipe and removed the animal-derived gelatine from their label. Morphing it into what we see above. 

For regular vegetarians, that was good news, but most vegans look beyond ingredients and try to pin down the nature of the business.

Not only that, vegans always dive deeper to figure out the source of each ingredient, and how it’s made.

Sugar Has A Bad Reputation Among Vegans

That is not only because of its health implications but because half of the time, bone char is used in the refining process to give sugar that white pristine color.

Why half of the time?

Well, most companies either source sugar derived from sugarcane or sugar beet.

Bone char is typically used on cane sugar because it needs to be filtered and bleached with a decolorizing agent. Those decolorizing agents can be:

  • Bone char — which are essentially the carbonized bones of cattle.
  • Granular activated charcoal (GAC) —This source serves the same purpose as bone char but without sacrificing animal lives. It is typically derived from charcoal, but it an come from corn as well.

One of these options is used, but that really varies from company to company. (For instance, Oreos admits to sourcing sugar from suppliers that use bone char.)

The good news is — beet sugar doesn’t undergo the same process. The juice from the beet is removed through a diffuser and mixed with additives to make it crystalize.

This being said, this type of information is not available on product labels, so you don’t know how the sugar is made, or where it comes from. In most European countries, as well as Australia and New Zealand, the use of bone char is prohibited by law. So, if you at least knew where the sugar came from, you’d have a pretty good idea of how it’s made.

Sadly, the only way of figuring out which form of sugar is being used to craft the final product is by actually contacting the company.

If most companies are like Oreos, you can expect an honest response. 🙂

Most Vegans Are Also Against Palm Oil

Another ingredient most vegans are totally against is palm oil. And again, not for its health implications but because of the dangers it poses to the environment, as well as animal species.

To produce palm oil, the fruit is collected from palm trees that live on average 30 years. However, once the trees grow too high, they are cut down to make room for new trees – which leads to what is aptly named ‘deforestation’.

To keep up with the demand for this cheaply produced oil, acres of rainforest are cut down – contributing to the loss of many endangered species because they’re stripped off their homes.

This has negatively impacted the lives of animals such as orangutans, elephants, rhinos and tigers… putting their lives at risk.

At the same time, I believe it’s difficult to completely force everyone to avoid products containing palm oil. Especially because they’re present in an unlimited number of products, including vegan products. However, it’s not impossible if you follow a clean whole-food, plant-based diet which is not reliant on products with palm oil.

Of course, if some of your favorite products have palm oil, then you can either minimize its consumption or search for alternative products. If you don’t want to stop consuming palm oil (especially for making certain cultural dishes), you can always look for more sustainable (yet less affordable) alternatives such as organic palm oil.

What About The Company Itself?

Skittles belong to Mars. Mars is also known for creating Mars bars, Milky Way bars, M&M’s, Snickers, and Twix. All of which involve the exploitation of animals because many of those chocolates contain milk.

This means that if you buy Skittles, you’re allowing Mars to invest in more products that use dairy… and even palm oil. At the same time, if we invest in more vegan-friendly products, that might encourage them to invest in more vegan products and reduce the production of milk-based products due to the shift in demand.

There are mixed opinions on this topic, and I frankly haven’t settled for one. However, one of the most popular vegan activists in the world has spoken about this subject and is very clear about how he feels about it. Here’s a video I’d like to share with you:

You might not agree with his view, but it puts some things into perspective.

So… Are Skittles Vegan?

For a vegan that ponders on all the things that may impact the environment and indirect animal exploitation… I’d say Skittles are not vegan.

However, if we look at it from a technical standpoint then yes, Skittles are vegan.

This, however, depends on where you stand. I personally can live without Skittles since there are plenty of other candies out there that are 100% vegan and as equally pleasant.

It’s difficult to say yes or no because it all comes down to each individual vegan.

Thank you for reading this blog post.

Alexandre Valente

Hey there! My name is Alex and I've been vegan for more than three years! I've set up this blog because I'm really passionate about veganism and living a more eco-conscious life. Hopefully, I can use this website as a channel to help you out on your own journey!

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