are starbursts vegan

Are Starburst Vegan? Find Out The Hidden Truth

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We wouldn’t be mistaken if we say at some point of time in our life, almost all of us have tasted the sweet frutilicious flavors of starburst. And many of us (vegans and non-vegans) still un-guiltily enjoy these wrapped sweet bunches of fruit.  The real dilemma arises when someone asks you “are starburst vegan in real?” 

Many of us have a habit to check all ingredients to justify whether it is vegan. But often we do not dig deep and that’s where we get lost.

Some ingredients have a non-vegan background and hence we get fooled. The same is the case with a starburst. When you seek answers for “are starburst vegan?” you need to really dig deep as there are different ingredients of starbursts depending on from where do you buy yours. 

Yes, the starburst which is sold in the USA is different from those which are sold in the UK. As both countries norms are different. 

So, let’s check out “are starbursts vegan?”

What are Starbursts?

starbursts candies

We all know what are they. But today we find many similar candies which are packed and advertised in a similar way. Thus, you must know what you are throwing in your cart at the store.

Starburst is the name of a fruit-flavoured, box-shaped, soft taffy candy manufactured by The Wrigley Company. This company is a subsidiary of Mars, Incorporated. Starburst exists in the form of candy corn, popsicles, gum, candy canes, jelly beans, and even lip gloss.

But in this article, we are going to check Starbursts candies original as this one is hugely demanded by even vegan community.

Classic Starburst candies are available in many flavours. As we know now that starburst sells the same product in 2 different countries and thus the flavours vary too.

The starbursts which are sold in the USA are of cherry, orange, strawberry and lemon flavoured. While which are sold in the UK are of orange, strawberry, blackcurrant, lemon and lime.

Ingredients of Starburst

Finding the ingredients of a starburst is really simple. Just flip the packet and you can see all the ingredients listed. But there is a catch, there are 2 sets of ingredients depending on where you are buying from.

Yes, the ingredients listed of the starburst sold in the USA is a bit different from the UK. Let’s check out the ingredients hic we have taken from their official website.

Starburst Ingredients UK

are starburst vegan - UK
  • Glucose syrup
  • Sugar
  • Palm fat
  • Concentrated fruit juices
  • Citric acid
  • Malic acid
  • Modified starch
  • Dextrin
  • Flavourings
  • Maltodextrin
  • Antioxidants
  • Emulsifier
  • Soybean
  • Lecithin
  • Colours
  • Anthocyanins
  • Carotenes
  • Chlorophylls
  • Chlorophyllin

Starburst Ingredients USA

Starburst Ingredients USA
  • Corn Syrup
  • Sugar
  • Palm Kernel Oil
  • Fruit Juice from Concentrate
  • Citric Acid
  • Dextrin
  • Gelatin
  • Food Starch-Modified
  • Natural and Artificial Flavors
  • Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)
  • Colouring 

Rings a bell? Yeah, you are right! Starburst have gelatine. Except for gelatine, all other ingredients are vegan. Although some vegans straightaway will reject starburst due to sugar.

As traditionally, bone char was widely used by the sugar industry as a decolorizing filter, which allows the sugar to achieve its desirable white colour.

But nowadays many types of filters include granular carbon or an ion-exchange operation rather than bone char. But it is still not proven that sugar contains bone char.

The catch which we mentioned earlier is this; the starbursts which are sold in the UK do not have gelatine and the ones sold in the USA do have gelatine! 

To spread some light on gelatine, it is is a colourless, odourless, and flavourless ingredient that is practised as a bonding /gelling agent in many candies. This ingredient prevents the candy to fall apart and give it a smooth gummy texture when you bite into it. 

Several animal body parts such as pig’s carcasses and skin etc are used to produce gelatine. Each of these corpses are ground together to produce this Gary matter which is later used in the candy-making process.

Are Starburst Dairy Free?

Starburst are completely dairy-free and don’t contain any milk or milk products. Since there are no warnings on the packaging, it is expected the manufacturer practices dedicated machinery to produce the candy.

Unlike other manufacturers who create multiple products using the same machines, this hugely reduces the risk of cross contaminations.

Are Starburst Dairy Free

Are Starburst Vegan?

So now you know what ingredients are in Starburst and we have also answered the question about dairy. So now let’s put an end to the question which is dangling on our neck like a sword! Are Starburst vegan? And the answer is… IT DEPENDS!

After investigating the ingredients above, it depends on what country you are in. If you are reading this article in the UK then there’s a good chance your Starburst won’t contain gelatin which means they would be VEGAN.

However, if you reading this article from the US, then there’s a good chance that your Starburst is NON-VEGAN. Thus which may contain the animal byproduct gelatin which would make them not vegan.

The reason we are concluding in ‘if’s’ and ‘but’s’ or ‘may’ or ‘would’ is due to globalisation. You can easily come across a USA product in the UK; and a UK product in the USA. And there is a better chance that someone from the USA or UK might as well offer you starburst.

Hence, the only way to accurately find out for your country would be to examine the packaging in your local store to see what they carry. But if you really hate checking the ingredients, you can just grab Starburst Minis they are 100% Vegan.

Sadly, for now, the UK is the only country to receive the gelatin-free original version, but hopefully, in the future, it will be available in the US as well.

Still, a question arises how come they add gelatin in the US but not in the UK? Why can’t they simply eliminate the gelatin and make them both vegan-friendly? What are your views on this? Comment below and let us know.

Also Read: Are Skittles vegetarian friendly?

How to make Starbursts at Home?

Starburst Vegan Recipe

With this super easy recipe, you can make your own starburst in your favourite flavour. We’av provided you with a recipe for 2 fruits below.

fruit chews recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes 

Servings: 14 pieces


Strawberry “Starburst” Candy

  • 1/3 cup coconut butter
  • 2 Tbs freeze-dried strawberry powder
  • 2 Tbs coconut oil
  • 1 Tbs water
  • One tbs maple syrup
  • Dash of salt

Orange “Starburst” Candy

  • 1/3 cup coconut butter
  • 2 Tbs mandarin orange slices
  • One 1/2 Tbs coconut oil
  • 1 Tbs maple syrup
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • A few drops orange essential oil (optional)
  • Pinch of turmeric (optional)
  • Dash of salt

Preparation Method

How to make Strawberry Starburst:

  1. Mix freeze-dried strawberries in a blender for about 10 seconds to make strawberry powder. You can buy store brought organic strawberry powder as well.
  2. Blend together all ingredients and mix well.
  3. Pour into silicone moulds (makes about 7 large candies). 
  4. Move with a teaspoon or toothpick each well to release bubbles.
  5. Freeze for 20 minutes to set.
  6. Enjoy!

How to make Orange Starburst:

  1. Mix all ingredients until smooth.
  2. Taste and balance for orange flavour and sweetness as per your choice.
  3. Pour this mix into silicone moulds. (makes about 7 large candies).
  4. Stir all well to clear bubbles.
  5. Freeze for 20 minutes to set.
  6. Enjoy!

If you are a vegan lover do checkout some delicious vegan recipes here.

Vegan Starbursts Alternatives

STARBURST Original Minis Fruit Chews Candy, 8 ounce (Pack of 8)
STARBURST Minis Candy features strawberry, cherry, orange, and lemon flavors; Just like the STARBURST candies you know and love, only smaller and unwrapped
Storck (1) Bag Mamba Fruit Chews Candy New Flavor Mix - Strawberry,...
Mamba Fruit Chews Candy; New Flavor Mix - Strawberry, Raspberry, Orange, Cherry, Lemon; Individually Wrapped
Now & Later Original Taffy Chews Candy, Assorted, 150Count Chews, 90 Oz Jar
Now and Later candy is a delicious escape from the ordinary; Exhilarate your taste buds with the long lasting flavor of Now and Later Chews
Life Savers 5 Flavors Hard Candy 50-Ounce Party Size Bag
Contains (1) 50-ounce party size bag of Life Savers 5 flavor hard candy; Life Savers Hard Candy features: Cherry, raspberry, watermelon, orange and pineapple
Skittles Original Fruity Candy 54-Ounce Party Size Bag
Contains (1) 54-ounce party size bag of Skittles original fruity candy

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are Starburst wrappers edible?

No, Starburst wrappers are not edible. If you wish to have wrapper-less starburst you can opt for Starburst Minis

Does Starburst Have Gelatine?

Yes the starbursts which are sold in the USA have gelatine.

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