Answer: No. Starburst Jelly Beans are not vegan—they contain confectionery glaze and gelatin.
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Are Starburst Jelly Beans Vegan?
Two things work as essential ingredients in Starburst Jelly Beans, which are a big no-no for the vegan community. Gelatin and confectionery glaze are things that come straight from animal by-products. Hence, they are unsuitable for vegans.
Gelatin is part and parcel of this product, obtained from the skin, bones, and tissues of animals such as chickens, pigs, and fish. Gelatin is a blend of peptides and proteins derived from these animals.
On a side note, gelatin is used in some other desserts as an essential ingredient. Being a vegan myself, I understand how hard it can be to avoid gelatin because it seems it is everywhere in the sweets circle. But we have to be careful all the time and double-check the ingredients.
What About Vegetarians? Are These Sweets Suitable for Vegetarians?
Vegetarians are absolutely free to get their hands on this product. These beans do not contain any meat; they consist of animal by-products like gelatin and confectionery glaze. Vegetarians can consume such by-products.
On the other hand, vegans are not supposed to consume either of these two things, no matter how tempting these Starburst sweets are.
So, here I rest my case. These tiny bites of delight are consumable for vegetarians but inconsumable for vegans. Vegans have to find vegan-friendly jelly beans.
How Do We Tell Vegan From Non-vegan Jelly Beans?
It should not be too hard to learn to differentiate between the two. Both can be identified as distinct based on how vegan and non-vegan jelly beans look.
Vegan-friendly beans do not shimmer like the usual jelly beans. They look plain and matte. That’s how you can distinguish the two based on their outer structure.
The second thing you can do is check the list of ingredients mentioned at the back of the wrapper – it usually includes all the details you need to consider.
Unflavored gelatin does not have any odor or taste – it just mixes into the flavor of whatever you are making. Hence, you can hardly separate vegan jelly beans and non-vegan jelly beans based on their taste. They are most likely to taste the same.
Jelly Beans Vegan Alternatives
Jolly Rancher Jelly Beans – These jelly beans are an excellent choice for vegans since they contain no confectionery glaze.
Warheads Sour Jelly Beans – These jelly beans contain no gelatin or confectionery glaze and are also fat-free.
YumEarth Naturals Sour Beans – These beans are gluten-free and contain no artificial colors or flavors. They are also fat-free.
It is a shame that big companies like Starburst do not make vegan jelly beans; in my opinion, they should.
Even though a couple of companies make vegan jelly beans, I believe this circle should expand. For that, we need to take the initiative of approaching manufacturers and familiarizing them with our needs.