Are Skittles Vegan? Depends on Which Part of the Rainbow You Taste

If you're vegan and a candy lover, you may be wondering, "Are skittles vegan?" The short answer is yes, for a standard vegan diet, the Original Skittles flavors are considered vegan. Skittles candy is not derived from any animal products. All of their natural  and artificial flavors, thickeners, and sweeteners contain no animal derived compounds.

Skittles have only recently been vegan. Up until 2010, Skittles used gelatin in their US products. Gelatin is derived from animal cartilage and is not a vegan ingredient. Gelatin was used to give the chewy texture, but has since been replaced by other natural ingredients. In the UK, Skittles were produced with carmine (cochineal) which is a red dye derived from a beetle. Luckily, it was removed in 2015.


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The last controversial ingredient still used today is cane sugar. In order to remove impurities and keep the sugar white, bone char may be processed with the sugar. While it shows no traces of animal ingredients in the final products, some vegans may still choose not to eat the sugar.

Skittles Ingredients

The Skittle Ingredients List includes: sugar, corn syrup, hydrogenated palm kernel oil, citric acid, tapioca dextrin, modified corn starch, sodium citrate, carnauba wax, colors, artificial and natural flavors. The corn starch helps to give Skittles their signature gummy texture.

Skittles slogan isn't "Taste the Rainbow" for no reason. Each Skittle represents a color of the rainbow. In order to achieve this, they use several artificial colors. These include: Red 40 Lake, Yellow 5 Lake, Yellow 6 Lake, Blue 2 Lake, Blue 1 Lake, and titanium dioxide. All of these are derived from petroleum.

Other popular flavors include Wild Berry, Tropical Skittles, and Sour Skittles. According to Skittles, all flavors "...contain the same ingredients, but the natural and artificial flavorings, as well as the colors, may slightly differ." If you'd rather be safe, read the ingredients carefully before consuming Skittles.

Vegan Candies

You don't have to worry if Skittles are vegan, but what about other candy? According to Cooking Light, these are 15 vegan friendly candies: Twizzlers, Hubba Bubba Bubble Gum, Cracker Jack, Jolly Rancher, Mamba Fruit Chews, Sour Patch Kids, Swedish Fish, Dots, Bottle Caps, Wonka Fun Dip, Pixi Stix, Blow Lollipops, Smarties, and Sweet Tarts. The chewy, fruit flavored candies on this list seem to be missing one of the most popular. You'll notice Starburst isn't included. Starburst are gluten-free but unfortunately aren't vegan.

If you want to steer clear of candies that are cruelty-free and avoid animal testing, your options are more limited. Mars Candy company, who owns Wrigley and produces Skittles, was under investigation by PETA. It was found that they experimented and performed tests on animals. As of 2018, Mars tries to limit its testing on animals, but still occasionally tests products on mice, fish, and other aquatic species.

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