Is Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice Vegan?

Ocean Spray makes a wide variety of different fruit-related products, with the most popular being their 100% Cranberry Juice.

Contrary to what’s advertised on Ocean Spray’s website, the juice contains more than cranberries.

In fact, a quick glance at the ingredients tells us just that:

  • Cranberry Juice (water, cranberry juice concentrate)
  • Grape Juice (water, grape juice concentrate)
  • Apple Juice (water, apple juice concentrate)
  • Pear Juice (water, pear juice concentrate)
  • Natural Flavor
  • Pectin
  • Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)

As you can see, It’s not 100% cranberry juice because it contains a blend of diverse fruit concentrates.

That said, it’s technically vegan because it doesn’t contain any animal ingredients.

What is Pectin?

Pectin is essentially a natural thickener and gelling agent, that has a similar role to gelatin.

However, pectin is made exclusively from plants,  so it’s vegan.

Most commercially available pectin is made from apple pulp and citrus fruit skins, and it’s bought in either a powdered or liquid form.

It’s actually a wonderful alternative to gelatin if you wish to make your own jams, jellies, or any other gelatinous dessert.

What is Ascorbic Acid?

Ascorbic acid, also known as vitamin C, is produced from glucose.

There are two different methods involving fermentation, but they are both vegan-friendly methods, and no animals or derivatives are used in the process.

The main ingredients used to make ascorbic acid are glucose and sorbitol. Glucose is vegan, as it’s extracted from starches like corn or rice. Sorbitol is produced from glucose, which is automatically vegan.

Should you worry about ascorbic acid not being vegan? I don’t think so!

What About Natural Flavors?

natural flavors

Natural flavors are a tricky subject because they can be derived from either plants or animals. In fact, If you wish to learn more about it, feel free to read this blog post.

In this particular case, Ocean Spray does not use animal-based natural flavors.

They’re explicit about it on their FAQ page:

“Our natural flavors are products which contain flavoring constituents derived from specific plant species and which are generally recognized as safe by the FDA or listed in a published industry list such as FEMA GRAS listing. We use only naturally derived flavors. No monosodium glutamate (MSG), protein hydrolysates, or animal product extracts are used in the Ocean Spray® flavoring. We recover many of the essences lost in the concentration process and add them back into the product.”

Although they do not reveal what ingredients are used under the “natural flavors” umbrella, we can safely assume they are vegan. I don’t believe there is malicious intent in hiding that information, it’s just that they want to avoid copycats who try to duplicate their products.

Summary: Ocean Spray’s Cranberry Juice Is Vegan

Yes, we can safely assume that  Ocean Spray’s Cranberry juice is vegan.

It doesn’t contain animal ingredients, nor any questionable ingredients that would warrant the attention of more stringent vegans, with the exception of the “natural flavor”, but Ocean Spray is quite explicit on their FAQ page by saying that the natural flavors they use are 100% plant-based.