Are Starbursts Vegan?
You remember unwrapping Starbursts- those juicy, fruity little squares as a child, trying out different flavor combos and fighting with your friends about which flavor was the best. But as a vegan, will you be able to relive these sweet memories? Are Starbursts vegan? Unfortunately Starbursts are not vegan as they contain gelatin. Read on for a Starbursts ingredients list, and a few healthier vegan starbursts alternatives!
- CORN SYRUP
- APPLE JUICE FROM CONCENTRATE
- FOOD STARCH-MODIFIED
- CITRIC ACID
- NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS
- COLORING (RED 40, YELLOW 5)
Great if you're gluten-free, but not great if you're vegan or vegetarian.
Gelatin Strikes Again
Unfortunately, the ingredient which makes starbursts not vegan is gelatin. Gelatin is a by-product of the meat industry, rendered from the bones of cows and sometimes pigs. If you've ever pulled a day old roast or meat soup from the fridge and found a jiggly layer on top, that is gelatin (also known as aspic). While gelatin is great for holding things together, it's not something vegans want to eat, because it comes from an animal. While animals are not killed directly for their bones or gelatin, the sale of gelatin does help support the meat industry, which is why it's important to avoid consuming products that contain this ingredient when possible and practicable.
Some vegans also choose to avoid sugar in the US in case it was processed with bone char, although many vegans and vegan organizations do not consider this necessary. If this is a concern for you, you will have to call the manufacturer, but often they can not guarantee the source of the sugar and will not be able to give you a definitive answer regarding it's processing.
Another ingredient some vegans worry about are the vague "natural and artificial flavors" in many processed foods. The main natural flavor that vegans need to watch out for is Castoreum, which is extracted from the musk glands of beavers. This, however, is an extremely expensive and rarely used ingredient, mostly found in perfumes, not food, and certainly not massed produced, cheap candies. This is luckily not something you need to lose sleep over or actively try to avoid consuming.
Vegan Starbursts Alternatives
So, now that we are armed with this sad knowledge, what is a Starbursts-loving vegan to do? Are there any fruity, chewy, candies that can take their place? Of course! Luckily here are several brands of candy that are similar, and hopefully, will sate the desire for this rendered-animal-bone filled treat. The best alternative for flavor and texture are Starbursts Minis. This tiny version of the Starburst candy is gelatin-free and vegan-friendly. A starburst vegan treat! Mamba's are another great option with a similar flavor and texture, followed by Now & Laters, although these are much harder and stickier than Starbursts. Other fruity gelatin-free candies include Life-Savers Hard Candy (the gummies are not vegan), Hi-Chew Bites (original is not vegan), and Skittles. If you're in search of not just vegan, but natural or healthier options for your sweet tooth, check out PowBab Super Fruit Chews and Lovely Candy Co Juicy Chews and Super Fruit Chews.
Hopefully, you'll be able to find the perfect fit for the starburst-sized whole in your heart (or in your sweet tooth) with all of these delicious vegan fruit chew options. Of course, every vegan knows that nature is the best source of sweetness, so if you're craving some fruity, juicy goodness, perhaps just stop by your local fresh market and pick up a tropical fruit, or for a sweeter kick try out dried fruit. Dried pineapple, mangoes, and berries are nature's candies. Paired with mixed nuts these are yummy and healthy options for a little pick-me-up hiking on the trail or while hitting the books for your next exam.
What are your favorite vegan candy options? Comment below to share your favorite sweet treats with the Everything Vegan fam, and check out our 'feed me vegan junk food and tell me I'm pretty' t-shirt (for the real junk food lovers)!