Are Jelly Beans Vegan? Does it Have Gelatin?

Are Jelly Beans Vegan

Some of the food items we are very familiar with have a very confusing recipe, like jelly beans. They are fun, colorful, and they taste delicious. The joy a child gets when he first opens a packet of rainbow-colored jelly beans is beyond imagination. But how they are made is quite difficult to assume beforehand. We have also reviewed some of the candy brands like SkittlesPop Tarts, Dum DumsLifesaversAirheadsStarburst and many more for their vegan status.

In the whole manufacturing process of jelly beans, there are only 2-3 ingredients with high chances to be non-vegan. These ingredients are beeswax, gelatin, and confectioner’s glaze. All of them are animal products. This brings us to multiple questions: are there any vegan jelly beans, or can vegetarians eat jelly beans? Let’s find out in today’s article.

What are Jelly Beans?

What are Jelly Beans

The bean-shaped soft sugar candies, which are loved by all, are called jelly beans. They have gel interiors, while the outer part is made of soft and squishy candy shells. Essentially made of sugar, these candies are available in a great number of flavors and colors.

It is said that during the American Civil War, these candies first came out and were sent to the soldiers. They were mentioned for the first time in July 1905 in the Chicago Daily News. But according to many historians, jelly beans were closely associated with Easter and were eaten to celebrate the holy day in the United States during the 1930s.

Vegetarians do not consume any animal residue. So, if you’re thinking, ‘are jelly beans vegetarian’, then the answer is, yes, some of them are. But to know which one is vegetarian or vegan friendly, one has to go through the ingredients list thoroughly.

But you don’t need to fully restrain yourself from having these beautiful and tasty candies as there are many brands nowadays which make vegan and vegetarian jelly beans.

Jelly Beans Ingredient List

The basic ingredient-list of jelly beans includes sugar, corn syrup or tapioca, and starch or pectin. Other ingredients like anti-foaming agents, lecithin, edible wax, or confectioner’s glaze are also present in jelly beans. A full and proper ingredient-list of jelly beans contains –

Sugar, corn syrup, modified food starch, fruit concentrate or puree (for flavor), soy lecithin, many different acids, sodium lactate and citrate, coca powder, natural and artificial flavors, tapioca dextrin, added color, beeswax, carnauba wax, confectioner’s glaze, and salt.

In this list, as mentioned above, the non-vegan ingredients are – confectioner’s glaze and beeswax. And if your jelly bean has gelatin, that’s non-vegan too.

Vegans believe that beeswax is not vegan-friendly as humans collect it deliberately from the hives. (Check Beeswax is Vegan or not?). It is not naturally given to us. And another ingredient, confectioner’s glaze or substance shellac, is also not vegan as this ingredient comes from the resin of beetles.

After the extraction, female beetles die. That’s why it is unethical and inhumane for vegans to consume any food item made of this ingredient.

Do Jelly Beans Contain Gelatin?

Many jelly beans brands use gelatin to make the soft outer part of a jelly bean. It is a type of protein having a jelly-like consistency and texture. Gelatin is a clear substance, and it is primarily one of the main ingredients in many dessert items. Many fruity candies also contain gelatin. That’s how the smooth and soft texture of candies come.

Apart from candies and dessert items, gelatin is used to make various dairy products, soft drinks, canned ham, and even wine. But the fact that how gelatin is made can be a little uncomfortable for many of us.

Gelatin is produced by boiling up the skin, ligaments, bones, cartilage, etc., parts of an animal, mainly cows or pigs. And many companies do rely on gelatin to make jelly beans.

Vegan Jelly Beans Brands

The good news for us is, many big companies manufacture vegan jelly beans. Some of the brands are talked about below –

1. Warheads

Warheads jelly beans are vegan friendly. They contain carnauba wax in the place of beeswax or confectioner’s glaze. Warheads have taken their sour expertise with candy and applied it to jelly beans to create a fruity , chewy, sour sensation for your taste buds!

Warheads Sour Jelly Beans come in 6 delicious sour sugar coated flavours: Orange, Watermelon, Lemon, Blue Raspberry, Cherry and Green Apple

The full ingredient list is provided right below – Corn syrup, sugar, microencapsulated malic acid (malic acid, hydrogenated palm oil), citric acid, gum acacia, soybean oil (processing aid), ascorbic acid, artificial flavors, carnauba wax, corn starch, blue 1, red 40, yellow 5′.

2. Jolly Rancher

Chewy jam-packed Jolly Jelly Bean morsels with 6 original Jolly Rancher fruit flavors! Strawberry, Orange, Blue Raspberry, Watermelon, Grape and Apple! The ingredient-list of Jolly Rancher jelly beans states –

Corn Syrup, Sugar, Cornstarch, 2% or less of Sodium Lactate, Malic Acid, Lactic Acid, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Carnauba Wax, Gum Arabic, Artificial Colors (Red 40 (check red 40), Yellow 6, Blue 1, and Yellow 5). Mineral Oil

As the ingredient-list says, there are no possible non-vegan ingredients. However, many vegans are concerned about food coloring additives, such as red 40, yellow 5, 6, and blue 1. So, you need to purchase them if you think that those coloring additives are vegan.

Also Read: Is E631 Flavor-Enhancer Vegan Food Additive?

3. YumEarth

YumEarth Organic Sour Beans are packed with pucker producing flavor. These cool beans come in Pomegranate Pucker, Perfectly Peach, Awesome Apple and Mango Tango flavors that pack a powerful punch. 

YumEarth candies are not only vegan but also gluten-free, USDA Organic, non-GMO, and allergy-free.The ingredients of YumEarth candies are –

Organic cane sugar, organic rice syrup, organic palm oil, organic natural flavors, Citric acid, sodium citric, turmeric (color), Organic sunflower lecithin, malic acid, (radish, carrot, sweet potato, blackcurrant) for color, Organic Carnauba spirulina concentrate (color), Pectin.

Frequently Asked Questions

No, they are not because they contain confectioner’s glaze, due to which they appear to be shiny. Confectioner’s glaze is derived from animals.

No. Although they do not contain gelatin, they have beeswax. Some jelly beans contain confectioner’s glaze or beeswax, due to which they appear to be shiny. Those jelly beans are not vegan because beeswax and confectioner’s glaze are both derived from animals.

Yes, there are many vegan jelly beans in the market. Some vegan jelly beans brands are Warheads, Jolly Rancher and YumEarth


It is strange to know that some of the most common ingredients are unethically extracted from the animals. We are continuously sacrificing the lives of other innocent beings for our pleasure and taste. Like gelatin, beeswax and confectioner’s glaze are produced from animals, costing their lives.

Various foods have their vegan versions, which taste even better than the non-vegan ones. So, we don’t need to cut food items from our vegan diet. All we need is to be open-minded and eager to know about the outstanding vegan brands.

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