are skittles vegan

Are Skittles Vegan? Good News Or Concerns For Veganism

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How many of you get perplexed on seeing a packet of the chewy rainbow-colored candies – Skittles? As a kid, there was no party or a Halloween night celebration without a bag of flavorsome and colorful Skittles. A trip to the cinema hall without Skittles was a nightmare. These chewy, gummy, fruity candies have won hearts for decades, bur are Skittles vegan? And if they are should we be eating them?

So many of the Google searches involve, ‘is (blank) vegan’. With so many products containing ingredients coming from animal sources, it is difficult to decide what to consume being a vegan. Coming to candies, most of them contain gelatin making them unfit for vegans. Surprisingly, Skittles is gelatin-free since 2009.

Here is an in-depth look at all the Skittles ingredients to answer this question, are Skittles vegan?

What Could Make Skittles Not Vegan?

Skittles is another brand of gummy candies that make it perplexing for most vegans following an animal-free lifestyle and diet. Whether you have just turned vegan or are a pro to this lifestyle, much of this confusion pertains to the changing formula of Skittles with time.

Let’s delve into the changes in the Skittles ingredient list and figure out its current formula. This will help us answer the question, are Skittles vegan or not?

The Original formula included gelatin which is made by boiling cartilages, bones, and skin of cattle, fish, or pigs. Thus, this version of the candy was unsuitable for vegans. In 2009, the nefarious ingredient was eliminated, and the Skittles became vegan (within the US).

The presence of the ambiguous additives in the ingredient list kept this tasty candy out of vegans’ mouths. One such ingredient was E120. This innocuous additive is a code for carmine in the food industry. This dye is extracted from the crushed female cochineal insects to make the red food color, making it non-vegan.

skittles-vegan candies

Carmine – the Gross Bug Juice

Here is more information about carmine – the gross bug juice.

Carmine, as mentioned above, is a popular coloring agent in the food industry. It is used in various products like candies and cosmetics that call for the reddish tint. The name ‘carmine’ doesn’t reveal exactly what this stuff is. This dye is a red beetle juice. Ewww!

Now you cannot mention the same on the labels. So, the food industry developed several names and codes for such additives. A few of these names are Crimson Lake, Carminic Acid, Natural Red 4, C.I. 75470, and of course E120. Some aliases do use the name Cochineal extract (which is pretty straightforward and fair)!

So next time you see any of these names in the ingredient list, its steer clear what they mean.

In 2015, thus bug-derived ingredient was removed from UK Skittles. But until then the savviest vegans might have unknowingly consumed their favorite colorful bunch of candies – Skittles!

Red dye carmine

To help you avoid such mistakes in the future, let us decode the ingredients and additives added in the making of the rainbow-colored delight below.

Skittles Ingredient List

These are the common ingredients in all the flavors of Skittles:


Sugar, corn syrup, hydrogenated palm kernel oil, less than 2% of: citric acid, tapioca dextrin, modified corn starch, natural and artificial flavors, colors (red 40 lake, titanium dioxide, red 40, yellow 5 lake, yellow 5, yellow 6 lake, yellow 6, blue 2 lake, blue 1, blue 1 lake), sodium citrate, and carnauba wax.

The Skittles formulas are free of carmine, gelatin, and other obvious animal-derived ingredients and additives. However, there are some ingredients on the list are questionable. Palm oil, natural flavors, and artificial colors. We have dissected these ingredients for you to decide for yourself if you are comfortable to consume them while on a vegan diet.

A Sneak Peek Into These Skittles Ingredients

Natural flavors: Are these natural flavors actually natural? Let’s check. Companies stating natural flavors in the ingredient list can be frustratingly vague as they can be anything, vegan or non-vegan.

These components can be derived from plant or animal sources or both. So, until the labels clearly state that the product is vegan there is a big chance that they contain animal-derived ingredients.

This may seem unlikely with Skittles as their ingredient list concludes with “Suitable for vegetarians”. But if you are still unsure you may skip eating these colorful treats.

Skittles ingredients

Palm oil: This is one of the omnipresent ingredients that you can find in everything from margarine to detergent powder. This is surely a plant-based product but its devastating effects on our environment have been the reason why ethical vegans denounce it. If you’re one of those vegans then Skittles might not be on your grocery list anymore.

Artificial colors: The colors that add those vibrant hues to these sweets are a cause of concern for ethical vegans. The dilemma occurs due to their involvement in animal testing. FDA gives a clean chit to these dyes as “safe to consume” however, they are associated with hyperactivity in children.

Some studies suggest the carcinogenic effects of these dyes. So, you may decide if you want to consume them (because these darn dyes are in everything and everywhere).

All Flavors Of Skittles And Are They Vegan?

Since decades our favorite non-chocolate candy, the Skittles have evolved with different amazing flavors. Do you know if all these flavors are devoid of animal-derived ingredients? What about the Tropical Skittles? Or the tangy Crazy cones? Are these Skittles vegan? The answer is YES!

Here are all the Skittles flavors and all of them vegan!

FlavorsAre Skittles Vegan?
Original Skittles Yes
Sour Skittles Yes
Wild Berry Skittles Yes
Tropical Skittles Yes
Brightside Skittles Yes
Sweets & Sours Skittles Yes
Darkside Skittles Yes
Sweet Heat Skittles Yes
Orchards Theater Skittles Yes
Crazy Cones Skittles Yes
Bubble Gum Skittles Yes
Fizzed Fruits Skittles Yes
yummy treats

Also read: Are Sour Patch Kids Vegan? Gummy Candies You Can Eat Safely!

What Are The Alternatives To Skittles?

Ethically, you may decide to stop consuming products containing artificial colors or components being tested on animals. They might damage your health or the environment. You may be interested in looking for candies from organic or natural sources. So, what are the vegan alternatives to satisfy your sweet tooth?

There are multiple sweet and sour candies in the market that fit that bill.

Surf Sweets makes Sour Worms packed with a burst of flavor to pucker your mouth. These treats are not only vegan and nut-free but also contain high amounts of vitamin C. Isn’t it awesome? Its Organic Fruity Bears are like gummy bears and are filled with delightful fruit-flavored goodies to relish.

YumEarth is a brand that offers two vegan non-chocolate candies, namely, Organic Sour Beans and Organic Sour Twists. Both these candy bags are full of flavor, GMO-free and gluten-free. These are a few examples; you must make sure you read the labels carefully before you buy any product.

So, Are Skittles Vegan Or Not?

Technically the answer to this question is, “It depends.”

Skittles are vegan as they contain no animal products. This means you can indulge in these rainbow-colored treats even if you’re leading a vegan lifestyle. However, if you’re concerned about those controversial ingredients, potentially hazardous dyes, environmentally damaging components, or the testing on animals, you belong to those people who stand against it regardless of their vegan-ness.

What do you think about Skittles? Will you indulge in these yummy goodies? Let us know in the comments below!

Also read: Are Starburst Vegan? Find Out The Hidden Truth

Are Smarties Vegan? Vegan Analysis For Colorful Candies

Are Jolly Ranchers Vegan? Or Should You Steer Clear From These Taffy Bites?

Frequently Asked Questions

Can vegans eat Skittles?

The article discusses in detail about all ingredients of Skittles. All the flavors of this chewy sweet are plant-based and thus fits in the bill for vegans. Great! Vegans can enjoy Skittles!

Are Skittles vegetarian?

All the basic ingredients, flavors and additives in every flavor of Skittles are plant-based. Thus, they are labeled as safe to eat for vegetarians.

Does Skittles have gelatin?

Most gummy candy manufacturers used to make candies using the thickening agent – gelatin. It is primarily made from bones and skin of cattle and bovine making it unfit for vegans and other specific diets. In 2009 Skittles (and many other chewy candies) turned away from using gelatin in their products. And till date these flavors are gelatin-free.

Are Skittles dairy-free?

None of the Skittles flavors contain dairy-based ingredients like milk or cream. Therefore, all they are all included under dairy-free category of sweets and candies.

Are Skittles halal?

Halal food is the eatables that adhere to the Islamic law, defined in the Quran. The Skittles contains no haram or forbidden ingredients and thus can be termed as halal.

Are Skittles kosher?

Since Skittles contain no animal-derived ingredients that violate the Jewish law. Thus, Skittles are Kosher-friendly.

Are Skittles gluten-free?

Foods like wheat, rye, and barley contain a protein, gluten. It is known to cause gluten intolerance in some people. The ingredient list of Skittles does not contain any components having gluten. Although you may think that corn syrup and corn starch may contain gluten, this is not the case. Thus, we know that Skittles are 100% gluten-free.

What candy can vegans eat?

As many people are transitioning to veganism, candy makers have switched to completely vegan products. Here is a list of candies that vegans can enjoy:
• Sour Patch Kids
• Dum Dums
• Realfruits
• Charm Blow Pops
• Smarties
• Jolly Rancher Hard Candies
• Gin Gins
• Trujoy Candies
• And many more…

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