Are sour patch kids vegan-friendly, cruelty-free candies?

Summary- Are Sour Patch Kids Vegan, Cruelty-Free Candies?

Being sweet and sour candies, these are enjoyed by both children and adults but in the vegan sphere, these candies are a source of the dilemma “Are Sour Patch Kids Vegan?”

PETA recognizes “Sour Patch Kids” as Vegan. However, our analysis shows they are not because:-

  • Mondelez International is a multinational company that owns both Oreos and sour patch kids confirms that their suppliers make use of bone chars, and they use both types of sugar (cane and beet sugar) for the sour patch. The use of cane sugar is the problem.
  • Artificial colors – they are vegan but not cruelty-free.
  • Artificial flavors: The company does not talks about it much and just mentions it as part of the secret recipe. So flavors might be artificial (not natural) and can be used on animals for testing (A Grey Area).

Make “Sour Patch Kids” alike candy at home.

What is Sour patch Kids?

As a child, you would have probably come across sour patch kids. Sour patch kids are a soft gummy candy with a coating of sour sugar. The specialty of this candy is that you can experience both sweetness and sourness with this candy.

Sour patch kids were the perfect enjoyment if you were looking for something that’s both sweet and bitter. Still, it’s popular among children. Forget children, even many adults love it. Below is the snippet from Google Trends that shows how the popularity of “sour patch kids” has grown over time.

sour patch kids

According to Wikipedia, sour patch kids were formerly sold under the name of Mars Men in the early 1970s. However, they got this unique name in 1985 and since then, they are quite popular candies.

Many adults eat them to revive their memories of eating them in their teen days. Their coating includes both inverted sugar and sour sugar, which gives them their unique taste.

Also, the candy’s slogan is aligned with its purpose: “Sour.Sweet.Gone”. It refers to its ability to be sour initially and transforming into a sweet candy after some time.

While it’s a treat for many people, it raises concerns in the vegan community. They often question the ingredients of the sour patch: are they vegan-friendly?

Fortunately, we’ll analyze this question below thoroughly and guide our vegan friends.

What are the ingredients in the sour patch kids?

We’ll analyze the sour patch kids both for the UK and US markets. There may be some discrepancy in their ingredients lists.

Ingredients used in Sour patch Kids in USA market.

Most commonly, the standard ingredient section of sour patch kids is as follows :

  • Sugar
  • Invert sugar
  • Cane syrup
  • Modified corn starch
  • Tartaric acid
  • Citric acid
  • Natural and artificial colours
  • Colours: Yellow six, Red 40, Yellow five, and Blue one

While this is the standard list and apparently a normal person can’t spot any non-vegan-friendly ingredients, and can classify them as vegan friendly. PETA classifies “Sour Patch kids” as vegan-friendly.

But is it really? Continue to find out why they are not.

PETA sour patch kids

Ingredients used in Sour patch Kids in UK market.

The “sour patch” that was sold in the UK had some different ingredients which may be non-vegan.

According to the standard ingredients list of the sour patch kids in the UK, the additional items were gelatin and palm oil.

Now, gelatin is an ingredient that classifies as non-vegan because it’s derived from pig skins, cowhides, animal bones, etc. Gelatin is an important additive in jelly-like candies because it gives the jelly texture to the candies.

Since gelatin is found in the sour patch candies in the UK, it is non-vegan there and strictly against vegan.

Moreover, palm oil is vegan but the vegan community is against it because it harms the environment and animal habitat.

Palm oil comes from plants, which makes it vegan. However, it can harm the habitats of animals that make it an issue in front of vegan communities.

So, Palm oil can’t be classified as Cruelty-free.

However, this analysis is limited to the UK only.

Why “sour patch kids” may not be vegan?

The analysis done above was for sour patch kids that are sold in the UK. Now, for the general sour patch, the ingredients make it look like that it’s vegan-friendly.

However, some controversial ingredients may or may not make it vegan-friendly. Sugar, artificial colors, flavors are some of the ingredients in the sour patch which cause concern in the vegan community.


Firstly, gelatin is one of the ingredients used to make such jelly candies. However, it isn’t mentioned in the ingredient list of the sour patch for the US market.

The alternative to gelatin is agar, but “sour patch company” is yet to mention the substance they use. Most commonly, they say that they use corn starch to give candies a jelly texture.

Secondly, sugar is another ingredient that can cause concern. While sugar is vegan-friendly, its refinery process may not be vegan-friendly. The latter is true because cane sugar refining makes use of bone char.

Bone char comes from the cattle’s bones that act as a decolorizing agent. Since it’s taken from animals, it makes sugar non-vegan.

Are Oreos Vegan in 2021? Here is why they are not!

Also, Mondelez International is a multinational company that owns both Oreos and sour patch kids reports use of both types of sugar: cane and beetle sugar.

Mondelez International also confirms that their suppliers make use of bone chars, and they use both types of sugar for the sour patch.

Since they make use of many sugar suppliers, it’s difficult to detect the traces of the origins of the sugar. Moreover, manufacturers may also overlook this tiny fact.

However, it may not go well with strict vegans.

Vegan Sugar Options

Artificial colours

The colors of sour patch kids are created from petroleum, and they are vegan but not cruelty-free.

These colors are tested on animals for health concerns. Periodic testing is done with animals and it can hurt them.

Check out these reports here. For 2017 click here. For 2018 click here.

While colors are from natural sources which classify them as vegan-friendly, the testing issue might be offending for some vegans.


The flavors can come from both, animal and plant sources. Most commonly, flavors in candies are from natural sources. Moreover, the company announced that sour patch candies or flavors don’t contain any animal-derived ingredients.

Nonetheless, PETA classifies sour patch kids as vegan friendly, and it’s also evident from the ingredients list. They don’t use gelatin, which is an important non-vegan product for making such jellies

However, above mentioned are some minor details issues that may raise concerns for some vegan individuals.

Should you eat “Sour Patch Kids” candy?

As per PETA – “Don’t stress too hard about sugar if you’re unsure about how it was produced. You’re saving more than 100 animals per year by following a vegan lifestyle, and the effect will snowball as people around you, inspired by your choices, may start trying vegan meals once you’ve shown them how easy it can be.”

The same goes for artificial flavors and colors.

It might be hard for the beginners for transformation as almost every product out there is having any of the above ingredients but the strict vegans might have paced through it.

I would suggest the beginners be not harsh on themselves but will strictly tell my UK companions not to eat “Sour Patch Kids” as they have gelatin as an ingredient and uses palm oil.

Vegan Alternatives of sour patch kids

If you’re a strict vegan and also love candies, you don’t need to be disappointed. We have some outstanding alternatives that’ll enlighten your taste buds like a sour patch.

  1. Tangy Worms – jealous sweet: it’s one of the tasty jelly candies that are 100% vegan friendly. These candies use plant-based material, real fruit juices, and have no artificial colours. Therefore, it’s a perfect treat for the vegan community.
  2. Sour rainbow strips- Haribo: They are the ones that come most close to your favourite, sour patch kids. Their ingredient list is free of non-vegan additives, and they utilize plant and fruit concentrate. Therefore, they are perfect for vegan people.
  3. SOUR SNAKES- BIONA:they are 100% vegan-friendly treats. They even use unrefined cane sugar, and it’s free from gelatin, artificial colours, and flavours.

If you like the post please share it with your friends or pin this image on Pinterest:

are sour patch kids vegan |

Leave a Comment