Sour Patch Kids are extremely popular candies, and this can be easily verified by the number of vegans asking if they’re vegan, and also according to Google Trends.
Are Sour Patch Kids vegan? Sour Patch Kids do not contain gelatin, which is typically the only animal ingredient present in soft gummy candies like this one. Instead, Sour Patch Kids contain modified corn starch, which serves as a vegan alternative to gelatin.
With that being said, it’s possible to spot certain ingredients that are deemed controversial among people in the vegan community, namely sugar, artificial flavors, and artificial colors.
In this article, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about Sour Patch Kids, and why some vegans feel like they may not be vegan.
Sour Patch Kids: Ingredients
Sour Patch Kids have multiple ingredients, including plant-based ingredients like sugar, as well as synthetic ingredients that confer the gummies with their texture, shape, and multiple colors.
What some people may not be aware of (namely, newer vegans), is that while a label may appear to be vegan-friendly, certain ingredients are still considered controversial.
Looking at the label, we can see the following controversial ingredients:
- Artificial colors
- Artificial flavors
Oftentimes these ingredients may be associated with animal cruelty, even though they’re not necessarily animal-based.
Why The Sugar In Sour Patch Kids May Not Be Vegan
Sugar generally comes from two sources: sugarcane and sugarbeets, which are both used in similar amounts in the United States.
While also similar in taste and texture, their refining process is different.
Beet sugar is extracted using a diffuser and mixed with additives to crystallize, and cane sugar is processed, filtered, and bleached, sometimes, with bone char — a charcoal-like powder.
What Is Bone Char?
By PETA’s definition, bone char is made from the bone of cattle from countries like Afghanistan, Argentina, India, and Pakistan. The bones are sold to traders in Scotland, Egypt, and Brazil who then sell them to sugar suppliers in the United States.
Also known as natural carbon, bone char is used by the sugar industry as a decolorizing agent, which is why it provides sugar with its pristine, white color.
Is Sour Patch Kids’ Sugar Vegan?
Companies like Oreo use both forms of sugar (beet and cane sugar) because they rely on different suppliers, which also makes it very difficult to trace the sugar back to its source.
Mondelez International, the multinational company that owns Oreos also owns Sour Patch Kids, confirmed that they source sugar from a mix of suppliers, including ones that use bone char.
For that reason, it’s difficult to claim that Sour Patch Kids is unquestionably vegan when the products might contain sugar that might be processed with bone char.
Some vegans, when in doubt, choose to avert their eyes and continue to consume these products, but some stricter vegans choose to avoid such products when they’re in doubt.
As such, this is a decision that you have to make based on how strongly you feel about this subject.
Other Controversial Ingredients In Sour Patch Kids
Besides sugar, other ingredients spark up a lot of debate in the vegan community, and they should be taken into consideration by anyone wanting to follow a vegan lifestyle.
Artificial Flavors & Colors
Despite being separately mentioned on labels, there’s a likelihood that both artificial flavors and artificial colors may not be vegan for the same reason.
Red 40 can be derived from either petroleum or coal, and Blue 1, yellow 5 & 6 are derived from petroleum, which means they do not derive from animals, which is a good thing.
However, the issue arises when you find out that artificial ingredients, in general, have been extensively tested on animals (mainly mice, rats, and occasionally dogs).
Dyes, in particular, are fed to these animals to monitor the emergence of potential health issues, which may occur from time to time in the form of tumors. Even if they do not die from the actual side effects of the dyes, they’re killed when the tests come to an end.
While we’re not sure whether or not tests on artificial flavors are conducted frequently (i.e: every week), we’ve learned that artificial colors are periodically tested due to potential health risks. These tests conducted in 2017 and 2018 are available online and serve as proof that animal testing is still being conducted on artificial colors.
Most vegans might not mind and I’m sure that many people who claim to be vegan or vegetarian have consumed products with artificial flavors or colors, however, if you are a more stringent individual, it’s understandable that you may want to avoid these ingredients in the future.
For anyone who wishes to know more about the harm done to these animals in labs, here is a video that illustrates their experience:
Even if you decide not to avoid some of these ingredients, there’s no denying that someone with a stricter stance has valid reasons to avoid them.
Vegan Alternatives To Sour Patch Kids
While I’m able to find some alternatives that don’t contain animal-based ingredients, it’s difficult to find alternatives that lack ingredients such as sugar, artificial flavors, and artificial colors.
We were able to find products that point out on their labels that they’re vegan-friendly, and that is why I’ve mentioned them below:
- Yum Earth: Organic Sour Beans
- Smart Sweets Sweet Fish (Free from questionable ingredients)
- Sour Viking by Candy People
While these may not taste the same, or provide you with the same flavor as the Sour Patch Kids, they’re still very much worth trying out.
As we’ve just found out, Sour Patch Kids do not contain any animal ingredients, however, they do contain controversial ingredients such as sugar, artificial flavors, and artificial colors.
If you’re a more stringent vegan, you’re probably going to want to avoid these controversial ingredients, as they may be involved with animal cruelty.
Unfortunately, Sour Patch Kids source sugar from a mix of suppliers, including ones that use bone char, and we have also concluded that both artificial flavors and artificial colors are byproducts of rigorous testing trials conducted on animals like mice, rats, and in the least of cases, dogs.
Artificial colors (namely, the color Red #40) are periodically tested to ensure that no potential health issues may come to fruition, as you can verify from the links to studies I’ve shared in the section above.
With that being said, it’s also true that these ingredients (especially sugar) are very difficult to avoid since they’re in almost every product. As such, I wouldn’t pass judgment on someone that decides to consume sugar as it’s very difficult to keep sugar out of our diet. For those that follow more stringent “vegan” views, I’ve shared some alternatives to Sour Patch Kids, which you should be able to purchase through Amazon.
Last but not least, if you feel like there is some erroneous information on this blog post, or that you’d like me to add further information to this blog post, please do share. My goal is to provide as much information as possible and do so in a precise way.
Thank you for reading and I hope this has been helpful.
Sour Patch Kids FAQs
Are Sour Patch Kids Halal?
According to Mondelez International (the company that owns Sour Patch Kids), the Original Sour Patch Kids do not contain ingredients that may be deemed unlawful by Islamic law. They don’t contain gelatin, or alcohol, which may sometimes be present in products of this kind.
Are Sour Patch Kids Vegetarian?
Yes, Sour Patch Kids are suitable for vegetarians because they don’t contain any gelatin, which is an ingredient that vegetarians usually avoid in candies.
Are Sour Patch Kids Gluten-Free?
Fortunately, Sour Patch Kids do not contain any ingredients derived from wheat, barley, or rye, therefore they’re gluten-free. Additionally, they’re processed in a facility where there’s no cross-contamination with gluten ingredients. Even though the product is not certified gluten-free, it’s still gluten-free.
Do Sour Patch Kids Have Gelatin?
Many people assume that Sour Patch Kids have gelatin because they’re quite chewy but fortunately, they do not contain any gelatin. Instead, they have modified corn starch to act as the gelling agent.
Do Sour Patch Kids Expire?
Yes, like many other candies and gummies, Sour Patch Kids can also expire. However, on the label, you won’t be able to see for how long they’re edible as the packaging only has a “best by date”, which is distinct from “expiration date”. According to the FDA, gummy snacks should be consumed within six to nine months from the date of purchase, so you should probably consume your Sour Patch Kids within that period as well.
How Much Is A Bag Of Sour Patch Kids?
A bag of Sour Patch Kids costs $1.24 at Walmart, but we’re sure the price will vary depending on where you decide to purchase it. If you wish to buy Sour Patch Kids in bulk, you can find twelve 3.5 oz boxes for $11.88 on Amazon, though keep in mind that you may also have shipping fees.
Are Sour Patch Kids Bad For You?
Sour Patch Kids are candies, meaning they contain unnatural amounts of sugar that are not healthy for our overall wellbeing, and could potentially lead to illnesses in the future. They’re not something that should be consumed often and this is especially true for children.