Are Starburst Vegan?

are Starburst vegan

Over the years, many kids and adults alike have taken a liking to Starburst candies. But are these fruit-flavored sweets okay for vegans? In this article, we answer the question: “Are Starburst Vegan?

What’s Inside?

Starburst is a colorful, chewy candy that is square or rectangular-shaped. Lemon, strawberry, lime and orange were the four original flavors. Wrigley would later add more flavors. These include a combined lime and lemon, blackcurrant, and apple flavors. Moreover, there are other special edition flavors and variations that are released from time to time.

Ingredients used in making Starbursts include:

  • Fruit juice from concentrate (apple, lemon, strawberry, cherry, orange, etc)
  • Corn syrup
  • Sugar
  • Dextrin
  • Palm oil
  • Artificial flavors
  • Citric acid
  • Artificial colors (usually red 40, yellow 5, yellow 6, blue 1)

The ingredients listed above are more general. They are what you are likely to find in most Starburst sweets. Depending on the country and flavor, the ingredients may vary. So, are Starburst vegan or not?

Are They Vegan?

The simple answer, yes.

However, this is dependent on the country. Starburst made and sold in the United Kingdom is about 99.9 percent vegan. This is because they do not contain any ingredients that are explicitly non-vegan. But Starburst sold in the US is not vegan. They contain gelatin. Gelatin is an animal-based product.

Gelatin is a combination of peptides and proteins. It’s mostly found in pigs, fish, beef, and chicken. Gelatin is derived from the skin, connective tissues, and bones of animal products. Starburst made using gelatin isn’t vegan. This is because it’s gotten from animals. In fact, some people don’t even consider Starburst as vegetarian.

Still, some vegans have an issue with some of the ingredients used in making Starburst in the UK. Even though UK Starburst are vegan. Palm oil is one such ingredient. Palm oil is plant-based. However, the production of palm oil has some dire environmental repercussions. For instance, destruction of animal habitats, deforestation of natural rain forests, displacement of indigenous people, and animal deaths.

There is also the sugar debate. Bone char is used in making most sugar. And because candy-making companies rely on sugar suppliers, it’s hard to tell how the sugar was made.

The use of artificial colors also raises questions. While none of the artificial colors used in making Starburst are derived from insects, the major area of concern is its effects on one’s health. A report by the Center for Science found that food colors contain carcinogens, a cancer-causing agent. In addition, there are studies that have also linked artificial colors to ADHD in children. Moreover, animals are also used to test the artificial chemicals which is a problem for most vegans.

Vegan Alternatives

Ensure that you check the ingredient list even though Starburst made and sold in the UK is vegan. This is because some UK stores import Starburst made in the US. There are some Starburst alternatives that you can opt for:

  • TruJoy Origanic Original Fruit Chew
  • Wholesome Organic Fruit Chews
  • Trader Joe’s Scandinavian Swimmers Candy
  • Goody Good Stuff Bears Fruit Pack

When buying Starburst candies, it’s important to check the ingredient list. This helps eliminate your chances of buying non-vegan Starburst. And like with most vegan candies that have a grey area, the final decision boils down to your personal preference.


Marion is a Kenya-based freelance writer who covers a wide range of topics from politics and business to health and nutrition.

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