Sour Patch Kids have been a go to candy for children and adults alike since decades now. The Sour Patch Kids have a unique texture and feel to them which is just as memorable as the sour taste felt when the candy makes contact with your tongue. It is everyone’s delight to feel the sharpness of that sour taste slowly give way to the sweeter flavours inviting you to chew into the candy. And when that’s done, it is the same treat on a repeat as we flick in another piece of the chewy treat in our mouths. And on and on it goes, and many of us do end up consuming embarrassingly large amount of Sour Patch Kids at times. It is so readily apparent that the Sour Patch Kids candies are our favourites and they have made a place for themselves in our lives.
It is for this reason that the tough question becomes tougher for vegans to ask, are Sour Patch Kids vegan? When people turn to veganism, it is because somewhere they feel that it is the right choice for themselves, our fellow animals and their offspring and the environment in general. It seems like the right thing to do, but then no body told us we will have to question our favourite candies! Are sour patch candies vegan? The answer to that question depends on whether we can indulge in our “first sour, then sweet” pleasures again.
To answer that question, let us look at the ingredients that make the candies. The “First sour, then sweet” Sour Patch Kids are made of tartaric acid and citric acid to give them their sour taste. The sweet taste and texture comes from modified corn starch, sugar, corn syrup and invert sugar. Then we have the natural and artificial flavours, the very curiously named Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Red 40 and Blue 1.
Citric acid is an essential element of citrus fruits and it is readily apparent to us why it lends the sour taste to the candies. Tartaric acid also has its origins in fruit sources, and many cultures use raw ingredients that use tartaric acid in their staple diet. So, are Sour Patch Kids vegan? So far, so good!
Corn starch and corn syrup, as is evident, are derived from corn. Sugar and invert sugar are manufactured from sugar cane and fruits sugars. So this is clear as well.
Of course, an addendum is required here on sugar in processed foods. It is not uncommon for the industry to use charred cattle bones to refine sugar before it can be used for preparations. This may be an issue for most vegans, but then it boils down to the question of being OK with processed table sugar in general. If yes, then the issue of sugar’s processing becomes a moot point. Otherwise, you will have to re-examine every other food item that makes use of table sugar / refined sugar.
Now, coming to the flavouring substances, all of them are related to petroleum. It seems unusual, but that is the way it is. In response to many vegans posing the query “are Sour Patch Kids vegan”, the company has clarified that the flavouring substances do not contain any ingredient of animal origin.
There are proprietary ingredients used while preparing these candies, and the company officially maintains that they do not use any animal origin substances, and so it is left upon the individual to decide if they trust the company on this. As good as the sour sugary treats are, they are still sugar and you might want to cut them out of your diet simply to consume less sugar. This makes the “are Sour Patch Kids vegan” question secondary.
The Sour Patch Kids candies come in multiple variants, and each one of them has slight differences in how they are prepared. The original line of these candies have multiple flavours such as Mango, Watermelon, Berries among others, but all of them have the same base preparation which is vegan.
However, there are two variants, Sour Patch Kids Extreme, and Sour Patch Kids Xploderz that make use of lactic acid in their preparation. These two variants are therefore clearly not vegan.
The question of gelatine
It often happens that when people query about the vegan status of a food item, like our question in focus “are Sour Patch Kids vegan”, they want to know if gelatine has been used in the preparation. Gelatine has animal origins and is a strict no for vegans. It is used in some of our most favourite food items, many times as a bonding agent. However, in Sour Patch Kids the bonding agent is the modified corn starch. Gelatine is not involved at all in the preparation, mainly because the role it generally plays in recipe has been entrusted to plant based modified corn starch. If you have been concerned about potential usage of Gelatine, you can rest easy.
So, questions of your sugar intake aside, Sour Patch Kids are completely vegan. You can indulge in them whenever you want and you don’t have to cut them out of your life. Isn’t that great!