Whether you have been a vegan for a long time or are a new vegan, the question “is it vegan?” keeps being asked.

So, the next time you’re craving something sweet, you might wonder, “Are starbursts vegan?” Or is it true that Starburst jelly beans are vegan?

The solution is a bit more complicated than normal. But don’t be worried. I will go through all the specifics with you, so you will know precisely how vegan these soft taffy boxes are.

What is Starburst made of?

Starburst candies, as well as the renowned Starburst jelly beans, come in a variety of flavors.

They all have basically the same components, from the classic orange, cherry, strawberry, and lemon, to exotic tastes like a piña colada.

The following are the major ingredients in both traditional and Starburst jelly beans:

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

The remainder of the ingredients differs depending on the taste and the nation in which they are manufactured and marketed.

Starburst sold in the United States contains gelatin, but Starburst marketed in the United Kingdom does not.

Starburst jelly beans, on the other hand, do not include gelatin and are instead created with a confectioner’s glaze.

So are Starburst vegan? Are Starburst jelly beans vegan?

Let’s start with the most straightforward. Is it true that Starburst jelly beans are vegan? No.

Remember how they have a confectioner’s glaze ingredient? This is what the jelly beans have on the outside to make them seem sparkly. Confectioner’s glaze is produced from shellac, which is obtained from a species of insect.

Swallowing confectioner’s glaze is almost the same as eating bug secretions. So, no, it’s not vegan (and not also very appetizing).

Things start to get interesting in Classic Starburst. Starburst is produced in the United States from gelatin, which is derived from animal bones. As a result, Starburst in the United States is not vegan.

On the other hand, UK Starburst is produced without gelatin, making it vegan! However, you must use caution while purchasing Starburst at any location. Sometimes, instead of UK Starburst, imported US Starburst is sold in UK shops.

Always ensure to check the label before buying to ensure you’re receiving authentic UK gelatin-free Starburst, as you should with just much any manufactured product.

Should you even be eating these things?

As we have seen with many technically vegan dishes, just because they’re vegan doesn’t mean they’re necessarily healthy. This is the situation with Starburst: virtually all of the ingredients are harmful and unethical in some circumstances.

Let’s look at it more closely.

Palm oil

While palm oil is technically vegan because it is a plant-based oil, many vegans do not consider it to be a really vegan ingredient.

The production of palm oil has a negative impact on the environment. It contributes to the devastation of natural rainforests, ecological degradation, animal fatalities, and indigenous people’s relocation. In this post on whether or not vegans should eat margarine, I go into further depth concerning the influence of palm oil.

Artificial colors

A lot of artificial colors, such as the abovementioned confectioner’s glaze, are made from insect secretions or broken-up bug corpses (just what you want in your meal, right?). The good news is that none of the artificial colors used in the production of Starburst fruit chews come from animals.

However, data suggests that the artificial colors employed in Starburst may be harmful to one’s health. Artificial colors have been discovered in certain tests to be carcinogens or cancer-causing chemicals. Separate research found a relationship between ADHD and artificial colors in youngsters.

Aside from these serious health issues, there’s also the ethical dilemma of artificial colors. Animals have been used in the past as test subjects for these artificial chemicals, but they are not utilized to make Starburst brilliant and colorful.

Animal testing subjects helpless animals to painful and scary experiments that can be harmful to their health. Surprisingly, they’re occasionally killed off towards the end of the tests if they make it that far. Many vegans avoid items that have been tested on animals because of these inhumane methods.


Many vegans consider sugar to be a non-vegan product. In our article “Is Tomato Ketchup Vegan?” you can learn more about the sugar debate. The main point of contention is the processing of sugar.

During the processing of white sugar, the majority of it is filtered through animal bone char. As bone char is an animal product, most vegans deem white sugar itself to be a non-vegan product, even when there is no bone char in the sugar.

Apart from this, the amount of sugar contained in Starburst is absolutely not healthy for you. I will go so far as to suggest that it is certainly not healthy.

Starburst has 5.5 teaspoons of sugar per serving, while a complete container of Starburst contains 33 grams of sugar (nearly nine teaspoons!). That is about the amount of sugar you should consume in a single day with only one candy bar!

Vegan alternatives

Although Starburst isn’t always vegan, there are times when you just can’t resist the allure of a fruit chew. So, what are your options? You might always look at a few of the vegan Starburst alternatives that are available!

Trujoy Organic Fruit Chews

With Trujoy Organic Fruit Chews, you don’t have to be concerned about white sugar or bone char. You’re safe since organic sugar can’t be filtered by bone char.

These tasty and juicy fruit chews are created entirely from natural and organic materials. They are also gluten-free, vegan-certified, and free of the majority of allergies.

Wholesome Organic Fruit Chews

You might also try Wholesome Organic Fruit Chews as an alternative. These chews have the same flavors, just like the original Starburst (strawberry, lemon, cherry, and orange), but they’re free of bone char filtered sugar or artificial colors. They are organic, vegan, gluten-free, and very tasty.

Making your own

While they may not be precisely what you’re looking for if you’re craving a fruit chew, they’ll satisfy your want in a healthier and vegan-friendly way.


The vegan status of Starburst varies by region, which adds an intriguing twist to the normal basic issue of “is it vegan?” However, the answer to the issue of whether these sweets are healthful is a resounding no.

If you want a sweet treat, there are several vegan alternatives to Starburst, but keep in mind that they aren’t exactly healthy foods. Remember, if at all, all processed foods should be consumed in moderation.

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