Original Starburst candies made for the U.S. market have gelatin. A review of the ingredients below shows gelatin is used to produce this classic candy.
Ingredients: Sugar, Corn Syrup, Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil; Less Than 2% Of: Citric Acid, Tapioca Dextrin, Gelatin, Apple Juice From Concentrate, Modified Corn Starch, Natural And Artificial Flavors, Colors (Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Blue 1).
In addition to Original Starburst, these Starburst candies made for the U.S. market also have gelatin:
- Fave Reds Fruit Chews
- All Pink Fruit Chews
- Original Gummies
- Sour Gummies
- Original Airs Gummies
- Sour Tropical Airs
Note that Starburst Minis, Jellybeans, and Swirlers do not have gelatin.
Are U.S. Starburst Candies Vegan?
Most U.S. versions of Starburst are not vegan. The gelatin disqualifies a majority of Starburst products from being vegan since the gelatin is made from animal products like skin and bones. Specifically, Starbursts are produced with gelatin that comes from beef.
Furthermore, while Starburst Minis lack gelatin, they have an ingredient called “confectioner’s glaze“. This glaze is bug-based shellac that is not suitable for vegan consumption considering its source.
Starburst Swirlers do not contain gelatin or confectioner’s glaze. This candy, however, is made with palm oil which is debatably not vegan. While palm oil itself is vegan, harvesting the oil leads to deforestation, climate change, and the destruction of animal habitats in certain areas of the world, particularly the tropics. Another concern is the Mono- And Diglycerides which aren’t always guaranteed to be vegan.
The full ingredients of Swirlers are as follows:
Sugar, Corn Syrup, Palm Oil; Less Than 2% Of: Citric Acid, Pectin, Sodium Citrate, Apple Juice From Concentrate, Natural And Artificial Flavors, Mono- And Diglycerides, Color Added.
Note that ingredients can change at any time. Be sure to check the label at the store before buying if you wish to know what you are eating.
Keep in mind that Starburst purchased outside of the United States do not always have identical ingredients to what is made in America.
For example, according to Vegan Friendly, a UK website devoted to vegan topics, Starburst purchased in the UK do not have ingredients that are non-vegan. However, palm oil or other ingredients may be in conflict with certain interpretations of veganism.