Are Jelly Beans Vegan Or Vegetarian?

are jelly beans vegan

Are jelly beans vegan or vegetarian? That’s the question in many vegans and vegetarians heads, and what I’ll answer today.

Not all jelly beans are vegan or vegetarian, but some are. Many jelly beans contain beeswax or confectioner’s glaze, which is not vegan. These are all produced using some animal exploitation. Thus, most vegans are against the use of these products. Vegetarians can consume these ingredients and still adhere to their lifestyle. However, not all jelly beans are vegetarian either. That’s because many jelly beans contain gelatin that comes from an animal. Vegetarians cannot eat any animal residue, which gelatin is. Luckily, there’s plenty of vegan and vegetarian jelly beans products. Although you need to make sure none of these ingredients are present.

As you can see, it’s not a simple answer. Read along as I dig into some different jelly beans brands and products, to see whether or not they are vegan.

What Are Jelly Beans Made Of?

Jelly beans are one of the most popular candies in the world. Chances are, you have tried a type of jelly bean at some point in your life. Have you ever wondered what these chewy and delicious treats contain?

One of the most popular jelly beans companies in the world is Jelly Belly. They use a wide variety of ingredients in their candies. These do differ from different kinds and flavors, but many include the following.

Jelly Beans Ingredients Example

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.

Non-vegan ingredients in this list are as highlighted. Some might contain none of these while others do. So be sure to read the ingredients list. Other brands can have slightly different ingredient lists. Keep reading to find out the main differences in some brands of jelly beans.

Do Jelly Beans Contain Gelatin?

Gelatin is a clear, jelly-like protein, that is used in food, makeup, and can even improve various health issues. It’s mostly found in dessert foods to create a smooth type of texture or fruit-flavored candy.

However, the substance is also in other foods such as several dairy products, wine, canned ham, or even some types of soft drinks. Gelatin is made by boiling an animal’s (which is typically a pig or cow’s) skin, bones, ligaments, cartilage, etc. in water.

This is everything of the animal that has not been used by companies in meat industries. Jelly Belly does not use gelatin in their recipe for the candies. Their website also states that they are gluten free, dairy free, fat-free, peanut free.

Are Jelly Beans Vegan?

If you refer back to the ingredients in Jelly Belly‘s as listed above, you can see that beeswax is one of the elements used to make the candy. It’s a common belief among vegans that the process to collect beeswax from hives is inhumane, which is why they would typically not consume the substance.

A substance shellac, also known as confectioner’s glaze, is also present in a Jelly Belly. It comes from a beetle resin. The female beetle dies after extraction, which is why many vegans are opposed to this substance as well.

However, vegans can still consume jelly beans from different brands. Companies such as the following all have jelly beans that are vegan-friendly.

These are some great choices if you are vegan who loves the occasional jelly bean. Take a look at those if you are looking for some vegan jelly beans.

Are Jelly Beans Vegetarian?

Being a vegetarian is similar to being vegan, but it is a little bit less strict. As you may know, vegans and vegetarians both do not eat any meat. The main difference between the two is that a vegan will not eat anything that comes from an animal. That means no dairy or eggs.

However, vegetarians typically still consume dairy, eggs, or anything that comes indirectly from an animal (there are a few exceptions). Therefore, since beeswax and confectioner’s glaze does not come directly from the animal, a vegetarian may eat these substances.

That means that Jelly Belly’s and most other jelly bean brands are vegetarian. All of the brands listed in the section above as vegan are vegetarian as well.

Are Starburst Jelly Beans Vegetarian?

Starburst jelly beans are vegetarian, but they are not vegan. These jelly beans do not contain gelatin, but they do contain confectioner’s glaze (shellac). As previously said, vegetarians can eat products that come from animals, just not the animal itself, and vegans cannot eat anything at all that comes from an animal.

Since the confectioner’s glaze isn’t an actual animal but still comes from an animal. Vegetarians may consume the product, but vegans cannot. There may be some stricter vegetarian diets that do not allow this, but overall, it’s a vegetarian product.

However, it can get tricky when it comes to actual Starbursts because that candy contains gelatin (see above for more information about gelatin). Gelatin is not vegan or (usually) vegetarian-friendly. That means vegetarians may consume Starburst jelly beans, but they cannot eat the regular Starburst candy.

Vegan Jelly Beans

Still hungry for some jelly beans? Luckily, there’s plenty of vegan alternatives to the regular jelly beans. The regular often contain shellac, beeswax, confectioner’s glaze or even gelatin. Those ingredients are neither vegan or vegetarian.

However, many vegan brands have made products without the use of these ingredients. My personal favorite is YumEarth Organic Sour Bean, the brand I mentioned earlier. These are also non-GMO and without gluten. So, they are actually better than the regular kinds in any way.

Price: $26, for 50 packs!

Click here to view on Amazon


Vegans need to be very cautious of eating jelly beans. Some are entirely vegan, while others are not. Even vegetarians can have some difficulties when purchasing jelly beans. That’s because many jelly beans brands include gelatin, which is neither vegan or vegetarian. Thus, the simple answer to this article is that jelly beans can be both vegan and vegetarian, but not always. Always read the ingredients list to make sure for yourself. When doing so, avoid these ingredients; beeswax, confectioner’s glaze, and gelatin, among others.

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