If you go into just about any corner store, grocery store, or candy shop in America, you’ll find Haribo Gummy Bears. They’re the original gummy bear that started it all.
To this day, they’re still the best-selling brand of gummy bears in the country! My aunt used to buy me a pack whenever she came to visit, and they were one of my favorite snacks as a kid.
Are Haribo gummy bears vegan, though?
Sadly, Haribo gummy bears (and most other brands, for that matter) are not vegan. One of the main ingredients is gelatin, which comes from the bones of cows and pigs.
Additionally, Haribo gummy bears also contain white sugar and beeswax, both of which are “questionable” ingredients that some vegans abstain from.
Today, I’m going to tell you everything that you need to know about Haribo’s famous gummy bears.
I’ll answer a few of the most commonly asked questions about Haribo Gummy Bears, explain why gelatin is such a problematic ingredient, and give you a full rundown of all of the ingredients.
Let’s learn about food together!
Does Haribo Have Vegan Gummy Bears?
German candy company Haribo invented the gummy bear in 1920. It quickly spread to America, where it became an incredibly popular snack for kids and adults alike.
Unfortunately, Haribo does not have any vegan gummy bears for sale. In fact, Haribo doesn’t have any vegan products whatsoever, as they all contain gelatin.
What Is Gelatin & Why Is It A Problem?
If you’re new to the vegan lifestyle, then it’s important to learn about major food ingredients and where they come from. Gelatin is, by far, one of the most common food additives in the world and is used in everything from candy to everyday “healthy” snacks like fruit snacks.
It’s also the main ingredient in gummy bears.
The problem is that gelatin is anything but vegan!
Although it sounds innocent, gelatin is a fatty substance that’s found within the bones of most mammals. After slaughterhouses kill cows and pigs for meat, they boil the leftover bones and fatty tissue to create a thick broth.
The raw gelatin is then extracted from this broth and refined into a fine, tasteless powder. Unfortunately, since gelatin is a meat-derivative, it’s 100% NOT vegan.
What Are Haribo Gummies Made Of? Ingredients Listed
Now that you know why gelatin is such a problematic ingredient, it’s time to take a look at what else Haribo Gummy Bears are made with. In addition to gelatin, the cute bears also contain several other questionable ingredients that many vegans aren’t okay with.
Here’s the shortlist, straight from Haribo’s website, so you know I’m telling the truth:
All of the problematic ingredients are underlined in red, so you know which ones to look out for.
Also, for some odd reason, Haribo includes a disclaimer explaining that their gummies may contain traces of milk. This is a bit odd, considering that the gummies are supposed to be dairy-free.
Either way, that’s just another good reason to avoid Haribo Gummy Bears!
1) Glucose Syrup
Glucose syrup is pure sugar syrup and is the main ingredient used to make Haribo Gummy Bears. It’s plant-based and vegan, so you shouldn’t worry too much about this ingredient if you see it used in other vegan-friendly foods.
The second main ingredient, sugar, is also the first problem ingredient. While all sugar starts off as a plant-based sweetener, it’s refined and filtered through animal bone char.
Although bone char doesn’t make its way into the final product, the fact that white sugar production involves animal bones is alarming for many vegans.
For this reason, most pure vegan products use raw organic cane sugar instead of white sugar.
Gelatin is the fatty additive that helps the gummy bears retain their perfect shape and gives them the chewy texture that they’re best known for.
Unfortunately, gelatin is the exact opposite of vegan and is extracted directly from animal bones. This is the main ingredient that makes Haribo Gummy Bears a no-go for all vegans!
Dextrose is a simple sugar and starch that’s used in baking and candy. It keeps the gummy bears dry and prevents them from melting into each other or becoming too sticky. Although it’s not very healthy, it is naturally derived and comes from corn, potatoes, and rice.
5) Citric Acid
Citric acid is a fruit-derived acid that’s found in… You guessed it – citrus! It serves as both a flavor additive and a natural preservative.
6) Natural & Artificial Flavors
Each gummy bear is flavored with a combination of natural and artificial flavors. This is why each different color of gummy bear has a slightly different flavor. These flavors are all fruity, though, and don’t involve any animal by-products.
7) Palm Oil
Palm oil is yet another problematic ingredient used in Haribo Gummy Bears. While palm oil is all-natural and plant-based, the industry driving palm oil production is very harmful to the environment and is destroying our rainforests.
8) Carnauba Wax
Carnauba wax is a special type of palm-derived wax that’s used to coat each gummy. It keeps moisture and air out, giving the gummies a more consistent texture.
9) White & Yellow Beeswax
White and yellow beeswax (which are non-vegan, as they come from exploited bees) are used alongside carnauba wax to coat the gummies.
10) Artificial Coloring
Last but not least, each gummy is injected with artificial coloring that corresponds to its flavor. All artificial colors are, thankfully, vegan and don’t come from animals.
The Verdict – Are Any Gummy Bears Vegan?
Unfortunately, most brands of gummy bears are non-vegan, as they contain gelatin, sugar, palm oil, and other non-vegan ingredients. There are a few “organic” gummies on the market that are made with cane sugar and vegan emulsifiers, but these are few and far between.
If you’re having sugar cravings, then I recommend checking out one of these awesome vegan ice cream brands instead!