Are Warheads Vegan? Here Is Everything You Need To Know

Warheads, formerly referred to as Mega Warheads, is a brand of sour and tart candy manufactured by Impact Confessions, a US-based manufacturer of candies based in Janesville, Wisconsin. 

Warheads are similar to candies such as Swedish Fish, Airheads, and Jolly Ranchers, which may not always be vegan thanks to ingredients such as beeswax and carmine, both of animal origin. 

So, are Warheads vegan? Yes, the classic Warheads are suitable for vegans as they do not contain flagrant animal ingredients such as beeswax or carmine. However, some vegans may avoid them because they still contain ingredients like sugar and artificial colors, which some vegans deem as controversial.

Below, we’ll do a more detailed breakdown of Warheads (and related varieties) so that you can better determine whether or not you can consume them. 

Warheads Ingredients

Photo by Stephane per Open Food Facts

There is a wide variety of Warheads, but in this particular section, we’re going to highlight the ingredients present in the classic Warheads, as that is the most popular variety.

Here are the ingredients manufacturers use to make the classic Warheads:

  • Sugar
  • Corn Syrup
  • Malic Acid
  • Citric Acid
  • Magnesium Stearate
  • Gum Acacia
  • Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)
  • Artificial Flavors
  • Carnauba Wax
  • Corn Starch
  • Blue 1 / Red 40 / Yellow 5

As you’re able to see, there are no flagrant animal ingredients, for example, beeswax, carmine, and potentially gelatin would be some of the animal ingredients we’d typically find in a product like this one.

However, that is certainly not the case.

That being said, there are still a few ingredients that make this product rather controversial, and vegans that are a bit more conservative with their choices tend to avoid them.

Those ingredients are sugar (which in these products it’s most likely to be plain, refined sugar) and artificial colors (blue 1, red 40, and yellow 5). 

Below we’ll explain why these ingredients are controversial, starting with sugar. 

Why Is Sugar Controversial?

Sugar generally comes from two sources: sugarcane and beets.

Both sugars are similar in taste and texture, but their refining processes differ. On one hand, beet sugar is extracted using a diffuser and mixed with additives to crystallize. It’s always vegan.

On the other hand, cane sugar is made by crushing sugarcane stalks to separate the pulp from the juice and then filtering the juice with something called bone char. 

What is Bone Char?

According to PETA, bone char is made from the bones of cattle from countries like Afghanistan, Argentina, India, and Pakistan. The bones are sold to traders in Scotland, Egypt, and Brazil who then re-sell them to sugar companies in the United States.

cattle bones

Bone char, also known as natural carbon, is used by the sugar industry as a decolorizing filter, which is what gives refined sugar its white, pristine color. Bone char can also be added to other forms of sugar. 

For instance, brown sugar is created by adding molasses to refined sugar, so companies that use bone char in regular, refined sugar, also include bone char in brown sugar production.

For this reason, the more strict vegans are hesitant to buy products that contain sugar, particularly if they know that the company sources from suppliers that rely on bone char. 

Side Note:
Mondelez International, the multinational that owns over 30 of the most popular brands in the world, including Oreo and Milka, sources from such suppliers.  In fact, they tend to source their sugar from a mixed pool of suppliers, so it’s difficult to trace the sugar back to its original source.

Why Are Artificial Colors Controversial?

Red 40 is generally derived from either petroleum or coal, while Blue 1 and Yellow 5 come from petroleum. Not the happiest of discoveries, but those are considered vegan sources.

mice lab testing

However, the problem arose when we found out that artificial ingredients, in general, are extensively tested on animals (mice, rats, and occasionally dogs).

Dyes 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 caused by the dyes, they’re killed when the testing is done.

While I’m not sure whether or not tests on artificial flavors are conducted on a very frequent basis, I’ve learned that artificial colors are periodically tested due to potential health risks. Tests conducted in 2017 and 2018 are available online for everyone to see. 

This is obviously something that most vegans (or all vegans) do not agree with, and whilst it may be considered a necessary evil, some vegans just prefer to avoid ingredients (and products) that may have been tested on animals in order to be commercialized. 

So, Are Warheads Suitable For Vegans?

Although Warheads contain controversial ingredients like sugar and artificial colors, they’re generally considered suitable for vegans.

They do not contain any animal ingredients nor derivatives that vegans typically avoid. 

With that being said, not all vegans will consume them based on the fact they contain these gray-area ingredients that aren’t necessarily ethical. 

The Vegan Status Of Other Warheads Varieties

Besides the classic Warheads, the brand has launched several other varieties, all of which have the same extreme sour taste, albeit in different forms.

Other Warheads varieties include:

  • Warheads SuperSour Spray – Vegan
  • Warheads Sour Jelly Beans – Vegan
  • Warheads SuperSour Double Drops – Vegan
  • Warheads Sour Chewy Cubes – Vegan
  • Warheads Sour Dippers – Vegan
  • Warheads Sour Coolers – Vegan
  • Warheads Sour Twists – Not Vegan

Some of these varieties were available at one point in time but that might not be the case today. 

Are Warheads Chewy Cubes Vegan?

The ingredients included in Warheads Chewy Cubes include:

  • Sugar
  • Corn Syrup
  • Corn Starch
  • Modified Corn Starch
  • Citric Acid
  • Tartaric Acid
  • Red 40
  • Yellow 5
  • Yellow 6
  • Blue 1
  • Natural and Artificial Flavors
  • Fumaric Acid
  • and Sodium Citrate.

Warheads Chewy Cubes are vegan-friendly as they do not contain any animal derivatives, however, akin to the classic Warheads, they also contain controversial ingredients such as sugar and artificial colors.

For this reason, some vegans (with a more conservative perspective) may choose to avoid them. 

Are Warheads Sour Dippers Vegan?

The ingredients in Warheads Sour Dippers include: 

  • Dextrose
  • Citric Acid
  • Malic Acid
  • Maltodextrin
  • Fumaric Acid
  • Magnesium Stearate
  • Oat Fiber
  • Calcium Phosphate
  • Magnesium Carbonate
  • Magnesium Phosphate
  • Sodium Carbonate
  • Artificial Flavor
  • Tartrazine (E102)
  • Brilliant Blue (E133)
  • Sucralose
  • Silicon Dioxide
  • Tricalcium Phosphate
  • And Sunset Yellow (E110).

Warheads Sour Dippers are also generally considered vegan, but they do contain the same controversial ingredients present in other Warheads. 

Again, whether or not you consider these candies vegan will depend on how you view ingredients like sugar/sucralose and artificial colors. 

Are Warheads Sour Twists Vegan?

Warheads Sour Twists contain the following ingredients:

  • Corn Syrup
  • Sugar
  • Wheat Flour
  • Modified Corn Starch
  • Lactose
  • Malic Acid
  • Citric Acid
  • Palm Fat
  • Lactic Acid
  • Sodium Lactate
  • Salt
  • Trisodium Citrate
  • Mono and Diglycerides
  • Artificial Flavors
  • Glycerin
  • And Artificial Colors (Blue 1, Red 40, Yellow 5).

Unlike the previous Warheads, the Warheads Sour Twists are not vegan as they contain lactose, which is a protein that derives from dairy milk.  

They also contain other controversial ingredients like sugar and three different artificial colors. 

Bottom Line

The classic Warheads are generally suitable for vegans as they do not contain ingredients of animal origin, however, they contain some controversial ingredients, namely sugar and artificial colors, which some vegans (not all) choose to avoid for different reasons. 

Also, keep in mind that there are several other varieties of Warheads that may not be suitable for vegans (i.e: Warheads Sour Twists), so always be sure to read their label before buying. 

Warheads FAQs

Are Warheads Gluten-Free?

The classic Warheads are gluten-free, but some Warheads varieties (like the Sour Twists) contain wheat flour and are not gluten-free. 

Are Warheads Halal?

Fortunately, Warheads do not contain gelatin (derived from pork) or carmine (derived from insects), nor any other ingredients that may violate Islamic law, as defined by the Koran. Therefore, they are halal. 

Are Warheads Peanut Free?

Unfortunately, while Warheads do not contain peanuts, they are manufactured in a facility that also handles peanuts, therefore they’re not safe for people with a nut allergy. 

Are Warheads Bad For You?

Warheads are not good for you, mainly because they have absurdly high sugar content, therefore, it’s not recommended that you eat them often. 

Alexandre Valente

Hey there! My name is Alex and I've been vegan for more than five 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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