Are Starburst Vegan Friendly?

No matter how old you are, the chances are that at some point in your life you’ve tasted the fruity taste of Starburst. Known for their realistic fruity flavors including strawberry, lime, blackcurrant and orange, these chewy cubes are loved by millions all over the world.

However, are Starburst as guilt-free as they taste? Or do they contain some nasty ingredients you should be avoiding?

Before we answer the burning question: are Starburst vegan? Let’s take a closer look at the ingredients and what is used to make them.

Starburst Ingredients

You might think finding the ingredients of Starburst is a straightforward task since they are listed on the back of the packaging. But there is a little trick when it comes to the ingredients that we will explain later on.

For now, here is a list of the Starburst ingredients taken directly from the Wrigley manufacturer’s website.

starburst ingredients uk

For those of you that are having trouble deciphering the ingredients from the image, here’s a quick breakdown of the main ingredients found in Starburst:

  • Glucose syrup
  • Sugar
  • Palm fat
  • Concentrated fruit juices
  • Citric acid
  • Malic acid
  • Modified starch

As you can see, there is nothing worrying that immediately jumps out as not vegan. Of course, it contains sugar and glucose syrup, which might be deemed by some as unhealthy, but these ingredients are still vegan-friendly.

Does Starburst Have Gelatin?

When we mentioned there was a slight catch about finding the Starburst ingredients, this is what we meant.

Currently, the manufacturers of Starburst produced two different products for different regions around the world. They produce one product that is sold exclusively in the UK and another almost identical product that is sold in the US. The difference? One of them contains gelatin!

To show you what we’re talking about, here is a list of ingredients from the US version of Starburst. If you take a close look, you’ll notice gelatin listed as an ingredient which isn’t included in the UK version.

starburst ingredients us

This inclusion of gelatin is obviously a big deal. As a vegan, you should know how bad this ingredient is, but for those that don’t know here’s a quick overview of what it is and why it is used in candies.

Gelatin is a colorless, odorless, and flavorless food ingredient that is used as a bonding / gelling agent in many candies. The role of this ingredient is to help hold the candy together and give it that soft gummy texture when you bite into it. To create this ingredient, the process involves several animal body parts such as pig’s carcasses and skin. Each of these carcasses is ground to produce this Gary substance that is then used in the candy.

Although there are plenty of plant-based alternatives out there such as Pectin, the manufacturers of Starburst choose to use animal byproduct in their US product version.

But how come they use gelatin in the US but not in the UK? Why can’t they just remove the gelatin from and make them both vegan-friendly?

The truth is we don’t know, but if we had to guess it will be down to cost and the regulations of certain countries. Unfortunately, for now the UK is the only country to receive the gelatin-free version, but hopefully in the future it will be available in the US as well.

Are Starburst Dairy Free?

Although Starburst does contain the animal byproduct gelatin in their US version, thankfully that is the only animal byproduct they contain. Starburst are completely dairy-free and don’t contain any milk or eggs.

This also means that since there are no warnings on the packaging, it is likely the manufacturer uses dedicated machinery to produce the candy. Compared to other manufacturers that create multiple products using the same machines, this greatly reduces the chance of cross contaminations.

Are Starburst Vegan?

So now you know what ingredients are in Starburst, it’s time to answer that age-old question: are Starburst vegan? And the answer is… It depends!

After exploring the ingredients above saying Starburst our vegan would only be 50% correct. The truth is, it depends on what country you are in. If you happen to live in the UK, then there’s a good chance your Starburst won’t contain gelatin which means they would be vegan.

However, if you happen to live in the US, then there’s a good chance that your Starburst will contain the animal byproduct gelatin which would make them not vegan.

The only way to truly find out for your country would be to check the packaging in your local store to see what they contain.

Make The Switch To Vegan Candy

If you happen to live in the US and can’t get vegan Starburst, then don’t worry. There are plenty of other vegan candy alternatives out there that don’t contain gelatin such as natural vegan gummy bears.

Produced using only natural and organic ingredients, you can be sure that none of them contains any animal byproducts or other nasty ingredients. Moreover, to make things even better, most of the manufacturers are incredibly environmentally friendly and do whatever they can to help reduce their carbon footprint while being ethical. This means delicious tasting treats without none of the harmful ingredients or guilt!