Is Starburst Vegan? Depends On Where You Live

You don’t have to be a child to be a fan of the soft, sweet, chewy, and fruity starburst candies; you just need to have a sweet tooth. However, things can get a little twisted if you’re committed to vegan lifestyle. Because then, you can't pop these delicious candies into your mouth without thinking about is starburst vegan?

So…Are They? Is Starburst Vegan?

Interestingly, Starburst is classified as a vegan candy in the UK; the country it originated from. However, they’re not considered vegan in the US.

Is Starburst Vegan in the US? Why Not?

As a vegan, you must know that you can’t rely on the name or claims to figure the vegan status of any product – you have to check the label for ingredients. We all know the drill by now. So, let’s not waste time and get straight to the point and take a look at Starburst ingredients to figure out why Starburst is not vegan in the US:

Starburst

Do you see the problematic ingredients?

Starburst Original Fruit Chews contain gelatin, which, as we all know, is an animal-derived product. In case, you have any doubt, take a look at what PETA says about its manufacturing:

ingredients

While this much information should suffice to make you avoid these chewy candies, if you’re interested to know the source of gelatin used in Starburst, I have an answer for you. Starburst uses both beef and pork gelatin, in different products. Here is some evidence to back by answer:

chewy candies

Is There Any Other Non-Vegan Ingredient In Starburst?

While gelatin is the only universally agreed upon non-vegan ingredient present in Starburst made in the US, there are a couple of controversial ingredients too. These include:

  • Sugar – In the commercial food industry, sugar is commonly refined using bone char, which is obviously non-vegan.
  • Natural Flavors – These are debated in the vegan community because the manufacturers do not specify the source of natural flavors. There is a likelihood that they may be derived from animal sources.
  • Coloring – The dyes used in the food industry are essentially vegan. However, many ardent vegans try to avoid them because they’re not cruelty-free; they are tested on animals.

Refer to my article on Are Sour Patch Kids Vegan for a more detailed discussion of these two controversial ingredients.

Even if you choose to overlook the controversial ingredients, the gelatin present in these taffies make them non-vegan.

Are Starburst vegan

Are all Starburst Varieties in the US Non-Vegan?

Apparently, yes! But, to help you make an informed decision (to stay away from these sweet treats), let’s take a look at the ingredients lists of some of the most popular Starburst varieties:

Is Starburst Tropical Vegan?

Starburst Tropical Vegan

No, Starburst Tropical Fruit is not vegan because it contains gelatin.

Are Starburst FaveREDs Vegan?

FaveREDs Vegan

Starburst FaveREDs are also non-vegan. In addition to gelatin and the other three controversial ingredients that I highlighted above (colors and flavors), Starburst FaveREDs also contain Palm Oil.

In case you didn’t already know, palm oil is a debated ingredient in the vegan world because of the harm its production causes to our environment and planet. [Refer to my article Are M&M’s Vegan for a more detailed discussion of this issue]

Are Starburst Sweet & Sour Vegan?

Sweet & Sour Vegan

Sadly, no. This variety of these delicious chewy candies is also not fit for vegan consumption.

Is Starburst Sweet Heat Vegan?

Starburst Sweet

Starburst Sweet Heat that contains Flaming’ Orange, Fiery Watermelon, Sizzling Strawberry Mango, and Pippin’ Pineapple flavors also contain gelatin, sugar, natural flavors, artificial color, and palm oil. Hence, it is also non-vegan.

What about Other Starburst Varieties? Are Starburst Jelly Beans Vegan?

Are Starburst jelly beans vegan

Here’s what Starburst Jelly Beans are made of:

Starburst Jelly Beans

There’s no gelatin in them – does this mean Starburst Jelly Beans are vegan? As much as all Starburst lovers wish for it, it’s not. But, why not?

Here’s why:

· It Has Confectioner’s Glaze

Confectioner’s glaze is what gives these jelly beans their hard outer coating. The term may be a bit misleading, as it may make people think it’s something like confectioner’s sugar. But, it is derived from an insect; a bug to be specific.

Confectioner’s glaze is the food-grade version of shellac. Don’t know what shellac is? There you go:

food-grade

Even if you do not take into account the controversial ingredients, confectioner’s glaze makes these jelly beans non-vegan.

Bonus Information: Confectioner’s glaze is also used in many pills to give them the hard candy-like coating. It’s referred to as pharmaceutical glaze in the medicine industry.

Are Starburst Minis Vegan?

Sadly, No!

Starburst Minis Vegan

Starburst Minis also contain confectioner’s glaze, which makes them disqualify from being a vegan-friendly snack.

What about the Gummies? Are Starburst Gummies Vegan? (Please Say Yes)

Gummies

Need I say anymore?

What Are Starburst in the UK Made Of?

Ingredients found in Starburst candies made in the UK are as follow:

Starburst candies

They do not have gelatin. Hence, they’re generally classified as vegan. However, the product description on Amazon says they’re suitable for vegetarians.

Starburst for vegetarians

The reason being that some hardcore vegans may not feel comfortable consuming these because of the presence of sugar and palm fat; the debated ingredients in the vegan community.

Is Starburst Vegan In Australia?

I couldn’t find any reliable source for information regarding the vegan status of Starburst candies in Australia. However, I found the following answer on Quora, which although talks about the Kosher/Halal candies in Australia, but pretty much answered my query as well.

Starburst Vegan In Australia

Are Starburst Halal?

If you follow Islam, I have a good news for you – Starburst candies that are made in the UK are considered Halal.

Halal or Haram

Also, as per the details shared in the previous section (in the Quora section), Starburst Original and Fruity Burst available in Australia are also halal.

The Final Word – Can You Eat Starburst As a Vegan or Not?

To sum up the whole discussion, vegans living in the US unfortunately cannot consume locally manufactured Starburst (none of them). However, those who live in the UK and do not mind consuming sugar (which is controversial) can eat Starburst candies. Vegans living in the Oceanian country can eat Starburst original and fruity burst.

If you’re a hardcore vegan who even refrains from consuming controversial ingredients (as much as possible), you can also try making your own Starburst at home. Here’s a recipe you can try:

Read my article Are M&M’s Vegan to increase your knowledge about the vegan status of other snacks on the market.

Want to Learn More

We have a lot of guides that are suitable for both beginners and expert vegans.