Are Sour Punch Straws Vegan? 

Are sour punch straws vegan?

Sour Punch Straws are among the five variants of Sour Punch candies promoted and manufactured by the American Licorice Company. While its Ropes, Shapes, Twists, and Bites counterparts are extremely well-received, Sour Punch Straws are the oldest and the most popular of the family.

With the legacy of decades on its shoulders, the American Licorice Company has often been put under the microscope for the ingredients used in America’s favorite candy. In this article, we will be doing a deep dive into the question: are sour punch straws vegan? But first, let’s know a little more about Sour Punch Straws.

About Sour Punch Straws

One of the five candies in American Licorice Company’s Sour Punch line-up, the Sour Punch Straws have generally been well-received. They are a common snack among American children and adults alike. They are available in various flavors, including blue raspberry, fruit punch, grape, rainbow, and strawberry. One of the first candy brands to rear its head in the licorice market, Sour Punch Straws made its first appearance in American supermarkets as far back as 1990.

Since then, more varieties of Sour Punch have been introduced in the market, namely Ropes, Shapes, Twists, and Bites. But to date, the Straws remain an undeniable favorite. They are made of the usual ingredients for sour punch candies: sugar, corn syrup, flour, and water. Throw them all in a cauldron, and bam- you have your favorite snack!

The American Licorice Company has figured out how to get the right consistency.Artificial flavors and colors are added, and the mixture is heated up to 170 degrees and then pumped into a cooker to get rid of excess moisture. Then, the candy is sent down an inclined belt, and it comes down a cooling tunnel that chills out each batch at 70 degrees. Lastly, the signature sweet and sour blend is added before being cut to the desired length and packed for delivery.

Sour Punch Straws Ingredients 

The answer to “are Sour Punch Straw’s vegan” lies in the list of ingredients used to make the delicious candies. Going by the Sour Punch Straw packaging as well as its Amazon listing, they contain the following ingredients:

  1. Corn Syrup
  2. Wheat Flour
  3. Sugar
  4. Citric Acid
  5. Malic Acid
  6. Tartaric Acid
  7. Glyceryl Monostearate
  8. Glycerine
  9. Artificial Flavor
  10. Artificial Color ( Blue 1/ Blue 1 Lake/ Yellow 5 (Tartrazine)/ Yellow 5 Lake)

Yes, sure, Sour Punch Straws do not have much of any flagrant animal-based ingredients, so if you are a vegan, you might find that fact comforting. However, what might stick out are the following ingredients: sugar, Glycerine, and artificially added food coloring.The problem arises when we realize that more details on these questionable ingredients are missing. Their source of origin and extraction are not laid out transparently, raising justified questions among the restrictive vegan demographic.

A Better Look at Questionable Ingredients 

What is the issue vegans might have with these ingredients? Why are they questionable to begin with? In this section, we will get into detail about the source of the ambiguity. Let’s take a look at each questionable ingredient:

1. Sugar

 sour punch ingridents

Typically, sugar is extracted from either sugar canes or sugar beets. While both share a similar taste, they are processed differently. The method of production, as well as the ingredients, vary widely. Sugar made from sugar beets is usually filtered with a diffuser and thrown in with additives to form crystals. Sugar cane-based sugar, on the other hand, is filtered and bleached with bone char to get its pure white color.

Bone char results from heating cattle bones at elevated temperatures and then bringing them back to a charcoal-like black powder. The good news is that many companies have adopted activated charcoal that produces a similar effect without the questionable method. Since companies rely on various manufacturers for their ingredients, tracing their roots can be difficult.

2. Glycerin

Sour punch ingridents

Low in toxic levels, Glycerin is an odorless, viscous liquid that promptly dissolves in water due to its hygroscopic nature. The presence of Glycerin keeps moistness away, making it a favorite among fruit storage, lotions, cakes, and of course, candies such as Sour Punch Straws.

Like sugar, Glycerin can be made in either of two ways: fat naturally derived from animals and vegetable oils extracted from plants. While the origin of Sour Punch Straws’ Glycerin cannot be traced due to multiple manufacturers, the fact that vegetable-based Glycerin is the commonly used one may provide some relief.

3. Artificial Flavors and Colors

sour punch ingredients

For this, do not look at the origin but at what precedes its introduction in products. Fully or partially synthetic ingredients such as these need to be regulated and tested to ascertain safe consumption. For that, they use rodents, rabbits, guinea pigs, or sometimes even puppies, and dogs are common.


While sometimes the test is just feeding animals these ingredients to observe their reaction, at other times, they are brushed against their skin or eyes to gauge potential ill effects. So, if you are a vegan, this might ring alarm bells in your head.

Final Thoughts

If the question is whether sour punch straws are vegan, the technical and theoretical answer is yes. So, for less-strict vegans, these sugary treats can be a great snacking alternative, given the intake is moderated to keep a check on sugar consumption. In fact there are other sugar candy treats you can munch on. We have analysed and reviewed candies such as Skittles, Laffy Taffy, Lifesavers, Airheads to ensure of their vegan status. If you are a strict vegan who likes to know about the origin of each ingredient, these article will help you answer some questions.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Sour Punch Straws do not have Gelatin. It’s a relief for vegans since Gelatin is a purely non-vegan product made of tendons, skins, ligaments, and bones of cows and pigs. For instance, popular candy ‘lucky charms’ contains gelatin and hence, is not suitable for consumption for vegans.

No, Sour Punch does not have pork. In fact, it does not have any directly animal-based ingredients. So, if you are a vegan, you could consider Sour Punch Straws a viable snack.

Yes, Sour Punch Straws are both halal and kosher. So, if you have religious reservations, Sour Punch Straws can be a safe snack to munch on. There are no animal-based products in Sour Punch Straws.

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