Are Sour Patch Kids Vegan? I asked the Company Directly- This was their Response

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Are you a vegan who loves Sour Patch Kids? You might be wondering are Sour Patch Kids Vegan in the U.S?. After all, Sour Patch Kids have been a favorite of moviegoers and candy lovers since the 1980s.

Let’s explore whether Sour Patch Kids are vegan in the U.S. or if they contain any non-vegan ingredients.

What Are Sour Patch Kids?

Sour Patch Kids are a type of soft and chewy candy known for their tangy flavor and iconic shape. They are enjoyed by people of all ages and are often found at movie theaters, concession stands, and in supermarkets.

The Vegan Diet and Restrictions

A vegan diet involves not eating animal products, including meat, dairy, eggs, and honey. Vegans choose this lifestyle for ethical, environmental, and health reasons. To adhere to their dietary choices, vegans need to carefully examine the ingredients of the products they consume.

Animal-Derived Ingredients in Sour Patch Kids

The good news is that Sour Patch Kids sold in the United States do not contain gelatin. However, they may contain a controversial ingredient that may not be suitable for all vegans. The ingredients listed on the package include:

  • Sugar
  • Invert sugar
  • Corn syrup
  • Modified corn starch
  • Tartaric acid
  • Citric acid
  • Natural and artificial flavors
  • Yellow 6, Red 40, Blue 1

What is Sugar Bone Char?

One of the main concerns for vegans is the use of bone char in the sugar refining process. Bone char is made from the bones of cattle and is used to filter impurities out of sugar.

Concerns About Bone Char in Sugar for Vegans

Bone char is a black, granular substance produced by charring animal bones. It is commonly used in various industrial processes, including the sugar refinement process. Bone char is used to remove impurities and color from sugar, resulting in a white refined sugar.

For vegans, the use of bone char is not always disclosed on food labels, so it can be difficult to determine whether or not a product contains sugar that has been filtered with bone char.

Sour Patch Kids and the Bone Char Controversy

The presence of bone char in the sugar refinement process has led to a debate about the vegan status of candies like Sour Patch Kids. While bone char is used in the initial stages of sugar production, the final sugar itself does not contain bone char. However, the use of bone char in the process raises concerns for those who strive to ensure their consumption aligns with their vegan principles.

The controversy lies in the fact that while bone char is not directly present in the final product, it may be used in the production process. This means that there may be residual traces of bone char in the sugar used to make Sour Patch Kids. Consequently, some vegans choose to avoid products that may have come into contact with animal-derived substances during their production.

Does Sour Patch Kids Use Bone Char?

I reached out to the company directly and this was their response:

“Mondelez International, has several sugar suppliers. Some of our suppliers DO use the animal-derived natural charcoal (also known as “bone char”) in their cane sugar refining process and some suppliers DO NOT use this process.

Since we may use any of the sugar suppliers at any given time in production, we cannot give a definite answer as to whether bone char was used in the sugar refining process of a particular product.”

First off, kudos I do respect their response. While I do wish they didn’t use bone char in their products. They were transparent and weren’t wishy washy and didn’t try to sugar coat their response.

As you can see they mention that some of their suppliers may use bone char in their sugar.

So are Sour Patch Kids Vegan?

It all depends on how strict of a vegan you are.

Related: 6 Types of Vegans: What Kind of Vegan are You?

In reality, Sour Patch Kids cannot be considered truly vegan in the U.S. because, indirectly bone char may have been used in the sugar process sugar.

If you believe no animals should ever be used at all during any circumstances, then no they are not vegan.

If you only stick to reading the ingredients list and look past the bone char sugar issue, then sure they could be vegan. If that’s enough for you at first glance, then you do you, no judgment.  

Alternatives for Vegan Candy

For those who are vegan or prefer to avoid bone char, there are alternative options available. Many companies offer vegan-friendly candies that do not contain any animal-derived ingredients or use bone char in their production process.

When searching for vegan candies, it is essential to check for certifications such as vegan or cruelty-free labels. Additionally, exploring natural and organic candy brands can often provide vegan-friendly alternatives that prioritize ethical and sustainable practices.


Overall, Sour Patch Kids cannot be considered vegan in the U.S. due to the potential presence of bone char in the sugar used during their production. While bone char is not directly present in the final product, its use in the sugar refinement process raises concerns for individuals adhering to a vegan lifestyle.

As the demand for transparency and ethical practices in the food industry continues to grow, it is important for companies to provide clear labeling and information about the production processes used. By doing so, we can make better informed decisions that align with our values and diets.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Are Sour Patch Kids suitable for vegans?

If you’re a vegan who believes no animal products or derivatives should be used then No, Sour Patch Kids are not considered vegan due to potential of bone char in the sugar used during production.

2. What is bone char?

Bone char is a black, granular substance derived from animal bones and is used in the sugar refinement process.

3. Are there any vegan alternatives to Sour Patch Kids?

Yes, there are various vegan-friendly candy options available that do not use bone char or contain animal-derived ingredients.

4. How can I ensure the candy I consume is vegan?

Check for clear labeling and certifications such as “vegan” or “cruelty-free” on the packaging. Additionally, explore natural and organic candy brands that prioritize ethical practices.

5. Why is bone char controversial?

Bone char is controversial because it is derived from animal bones and is used in the production process, potentially compromising the vegan status of products.

6. What other candies should vegans be cautious about?

Vegans should be cautious about candies that contain gelatin, which is derived from animal sources. It is important to read the ingredients list to ensure there are no animal-derived components. Also check with the company directly if the sugar is made using bone char.

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Are Sour Patch Kids Vegan? I asked the Company Directly- This was their Response

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About the author

Latifah is a vegan foodie who loves travelling and cooking plant-based recipes. She loves sharing her favorite travel spots and adding a sprinkle of confetti to your day.

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