Are Starburst vegan? Starburst Fruit Chews are a classic fruity candy that come in a variety of flavors and forms. The original Starburst come in lemon, cherry, orange, and strawberry flavors. But are they vegan? Unfortunately, they are not vegan if you live in the United States. Let's look at the ingredient list for the original Starburst from their website:
Original Starburst Ingredients
INGREDIENTS: SUGAR, CORN SYRUP, HYDROGENATED PALM KERNEL OIL; LESS THAN 2% OF: CITRIC ACID, TAPIOCA DEXTRIN, GELATIN, APPLE JUICE FROM CONCENTRATE, MODIFIED CORN STARCH, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS, COLORS (RED 40, YELLOW 5, YELLOW 6, BLUE 1).
Original Starburst candy contain gelatin which is made from animal products. They also contain hydrogenated palm kernel oil which you should definitely avoid.
What is Gelatin?
Are you wondering what gelatin is and why vegans don't consume it? According to Peta.org, "Gelatin is a protein obtained by boiling skin, tendons, ligaments, and/or bones with water. It is usually obtained from cows or pigs. Gelatin is used in shampoos, face masks, and other cosmetics; as a thickener for fruit gelatins and puddings (such as Jell-O); in candies, marshmallows, cakes, ice cream, and yogurts; on photographic film; and in vitamins as a coating and as capsules, and it is sometimes used to assist in “clearing” wines. Gelatin is not vegan."
The good news for some readers is that Starburst made in the United Kingdom (originally called Opal Fruits) actually are vegan! The UK Starburst original flavors come in apple, orange, blackcurrant, strawberry, lemon and lime. Let's look at the ingredients list from this website:
Ingredients: Glucose Syrup, Sugar, Palm Fat, Concentrated Fruit Juices 1.4%* (Apple, Orange, Blackcurrant, Strawberry, Lime, Lemon), Acid Citric Acid, Modified Starch, Acid Malic Acid, Dextrin, Flavourings, Maltodextrin, Antioxidant Ascorbic Acid, Emulsifier Lecithin, Colours Anthocyanins, Beta-Carotene, Spirulina Extract, *Equivalent to 11.5% Fruit Juice
Luckily for those in the UK, their Starburst contain ingredients that can fit in with a vegan diet.
Other Starburst Products
The original fruit chews aren't vegan but what about their other products? The Starburst brand comes in chewy candies, gummies, sorbet and gum. The following is a list of their products and any ingredients derived from animals.
- Original Mini Fruit Chews - contain confectioner's glaze.
- Fave Reds Fruit Chews - contain gelatin
- Airs Original Gummies - contain gelatin
- Sours Gummies Candy - contain gelatin
- Starburst Original Gum - does not contain animal products but does contain some controversial ingredients
- Airs Sour Tropical Gummies - contain gelatin
- Duos Fruit Chews Candy - contain gelatin
- Original Gummies Candy - contain gelatin
- Sours Mini Fruit Chews - contain confectioner's glaze
- Strawberry Sorbet Bar - contains milk
- Swirlers Chewy Sticks Candy - does not contain ingredients from animal sources
- Starburst Jelly Beans - contain confectioner’s glaze. Click HERE to read more about Starburst Jelly Beans.
Only the Swirlers Chewy Sticks Candy doesn't contain any ingredients made from animal products.
What's Confectioner's Glaze?
What's confectioner's glaze and why isn't it vegan? According to tasteforlife.com, "Confectioner's glaze, also known as pharmaceutical glaze, is used by numerous candy companies to add a shiny, smooth finish on their products. It's made using shellac, but shellac is made of bug secretions" from the lac bug. It's a lot more appetizing for a company to list confectioner's glaze instead of lac bug secretions. Want to learn more about confectioner's glaze? Click HERE to read more about it.
Vegan Starburst Alternatives
What if you live in the US and you crave Starburst? There are a handful of options:
- Smart Sweets Sweet Chews - this brand contains less sugar and comes in mango, strawberry, and watermelon flavors.
- YumEarth Organic Chewies - this vegan version comes in the same flavors as original Starburst.
- Torie & Howard Chewie Fruities - this organic vegan version is allergen friendly.
- Wholesome Organic Fruit Chews - this vegan version does not contain any artificial colors or flavors.
Vegan Gummy Candies
If you have a sweet tooth and really "need" a fruity chewy candy, there are some that just happen to be vegan.
- Sour Patch Kids
- Laffy Taffy (fun-sized only)
- Swedish Fish (some contain beeswax so check the list of ingredients)
Happily, there are a bunch of gummy fruity candies that don't contain any gelatin, confectioner's glaze, or dairy products.
Starburst Crafts and Fun
Do you have a bag of Starburst lying around that you now can't eat since you've learned they aren't vegan? Don't throw them out - make slime with them. Click HERE to see how to make the edible slime - just don't eat it!
Starburst Wrappers (and Vegan Alternative Wrappers)
Let's face it - the wrappers on Starburst are fun. It's like each candy is a little present. Luckily some of the vegan varieties also use the individual wrappers. Sure you can throw all those wrappers out, but you can also make some crafts with them. Click HERE to learn how to make a chain with them. How about making origami? Click HERE to learn to make butterflies and HERE to make a heart.
Another fun activity to make with Starburst (regular or vegan) is a candy mosaic. This web-site has a printable sheet that your little ones can can place the candies on to make a beautiful design.
Unfortunately, if you live in the US Starburst aren't vegan. The good news is that there are a good amount of chewy fruity candies that are. If you really want Starburst there are some vegan alternatives that will satisfy your cravings. We can also hope that some day soon the US version will become vegan just like it already is in the UK.