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Are Gummy bears Vegan? Best Vegan-Friendly Delicious Gummies

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What do you mean gummy bears are not vegan?

That’s been the reaction many of my friends and family have had when they have offered me a gummy bear and have had to explain that (most of them) are not vegan.

If you are new to veganism you also might be surprised by all the animal-derived ingredients that are used in products you would expect to be vegan-friendly.

The involvement of the meat and dairy industry in all food production activities is huge and the use of animal ingredients as additives and is a by-product of it.

The truth is, before vegetarianism and veganism, people wouldn’t question or care if there was an animal ingredient on their bread or candy so some products wouldn’t even mention it.

But nowadays, vegans know it is best to doubt all product to not be vegan unless the opposite has been proved.

So, let’s examine why gummy bears are usually not vegan, which ones are vegan friendly and which popular ones to avoid.

Why Most Gummy Bears Aren’t Vegan

If you are wondering why gummy bears are often not vegan, here is a list of the non-vegan ingredients to watch out for:

are gummy bears vegan

Gelatin

Gelatin is the main reason why a lot of gummies are not vegan.

It is used as a binding and thickening agent that gives gummies their bouncy gelatinous texture.

But gelatin is made from all the parts of animals that the rest of the industry discard such as like hooves, skin, ground bones, and even connective tissue.

Not that appetizing right?

When looking for a vegan gummy, besides checking the ingredients, watch out for candy that has a gummy texture, as it often contains gelatin.

Is There a Vegan Alternative to Gelatin?

There is plenty of plant-based alternatives that can give that gelatinous texture like agar-agar, carrageenan, and pectin, which are derived from seaweed or fruit peel.

Although they can be hard to find, a few gummy bear brands use Pectin instead of gelatin. It is also used in jams and jellies, so you have probably consumed it on a regular basis.

In order to make sure the gummy bears you’re getting are vegan, check for the ingredients for pectin and not gelatin. Even better if the package says it is vegan friendly but I like to check both to be extra safe.

Beeswax

Another ingredient commly used in gummies is beeswax.

As you probably know beeswax comes from bees and while some vegan disagree and its consumption it is be definition, not vegan.

Beeswax is used in gummy bears as a coating to stop the candy from sticking to each other which makes it unnecessary and replaceable.

Food dye

Finally, another reason why some gummy bears are not vegan is a food dye.

To be more precise, it is because of red food color number 4, which is derived from thousands of crushed up beetles. This makes zero sense considering all the other options available as artificial colors.

A common alternative is Red food color number 40 which derived from petroleum, and completely vegan so make sure to not confuse the two of them.

However, some of these food colors are being tested on animals to determine if they are harmful to humans and it can be really hard to find out which ones have been tested on animals and which ones not.

To be safe, it is better to look for naturally colored gummy bears that use fruit and vegetable juices, extracts, and powders to give them color.

Best Vegan Gummy Bears

While most commercial gummy bears are not vegan, there are many vegan-friendly option availbale.

We have compilated in the following list so you can skip the list-checking and go straight to enjoying them!

1. Annie’s Organic Bunny Vegan Fruit Snacks

are gummy bears vegan

Why we like it?

  • Vegan.
  • Gluten-Free.
  • Great flavor.
  • Provide your daily does of vitamin C.
  • Made with all-natural ingredients.

Annie’s Organic Bunny Fruit Snacks are exactly what it sounds like. They are bunnies and not bears, they are made with real fruit juice and no artificial flavors, synthetic colors, or high fructose corn syrup.

This all vegan and gluten-free organic gummies are one of the tastiest and healthiest since each portion contains 100% of your daily dose of vitamin C.

The gummy candies come in 24 individually wrapped portions and four mouth-watering flavors (Berry Patch, Summer Strawberry, Sunny Citrus & Tropical Treat),

Annie’s Organic is a brand that is committed to providing products of great quality without any unnecessary or harmful ingredients so I’d choose their products without a second thought.

Pros

  • Made with all-natural ingredients.
  • Amazing taste.
  • A variety of different flavors to choose from.
  • Provides a full dose of vitamin C.
  • Portion controlled packaging.
  • 100% vegan and organic.
  • No colorants.
  • Great brand values.

Cons

  • Not bears
  • Individually package not so enviromentally friendly.
  • SOme customers consider them too sweet.

Best Customer Review

All my 6 kids and loved them! I highly recommend and I am glad I found them a wonderful treat without chemicals to feed them! I love the fact this product has the project non-GMO butterfly on it and is certified organic! I also love the fact they are very reasonably priced!

Worst Customer Review

“These are way too sweet and not palatable. It’s too bad because the ingredients are decent, but they overdid it with the sugar.”

2. Surf Sweets Organic Fruity Gummies

are gummy bears vegan

Why we like it?

  • Made with organic fruit juice and organic cane sugar
  • Free from artificial colors, flavors and high fructose corn syrup.
  • Free of the 10 most common allergens.
  • Provide a full daily dose of vitamin C.

These little organic fruity bears will bring you memories of your childhood since they are so similar to regular gummies but without all the nasty ingredients.

They are made with organic fruit juice and organic cane sugar. They are also free from artificial colors, flavors, high fructose corn syrup and contain 100% of your daily needs for Vitamin C.

The ingredient list is simple and all organic. You can also be safe to give them as a treat to anyone since they are free of the top 10 most common food allergens.

Apart from their regular organic fruity bears, Surf Sweets also make a sour variety which I can not recommend enough if you like sour gummies.

The company also gives 1% of all sales towards eco-friendly charities and organizations.

Pros

  • Made with Organic Fruit Juice
  • No Artificial Colors/Naturally Flavored
  • Corn Syrup Free
  • Made in a facility free of the Top 10 food allergens
  • Soy Free
  • Gluten-Free
  • Vegan

Cons

  • Some customers complain they got the wrong order.

Best Customer Review

I’ve purchased these gummies for 2 different gluten free (one vegan) friends. They both love them! I’ve tried them and think they are more flavorful than the gluten sugary gummies out there!

Worst Customer Review

“The recent order of the product has changed from previous orders. All the gum miles are coated with sugar. Is this a permanent change? Nothing was mentioned regarding this change.”

3. Trader Joe’s Scandinavian Swimmers Gummy Candy Fish 

are gummy bears vegan

Why we like it?

  • Naturally derived fruity flavors and colors that taste delicious!
  • This scandinavian treat is gluten free, vegetarian and kosher.
  •  Great taste and chewy texture
  • 5 unique flavors.

Trader Joe’s Scandinavian Swimmers features a selection of nautical animals inspired in the traditional Swedish Fish Candy but customers seem to love these vegan alternative way more.

“As a LONG time, HARDCORE Swedish Fish fan – I can tell you – these are better. WAY better.”

They are made with colors derived only from naturally available products, such as fruit and vegetable extracts. Though they are definitely chewy, they are also softer than many gummies.

Each unique shape has it’s own distinct and delicious flavor: the orange rockfish are orange-flavored; the blue dolphins taste like huckleberry; the yellow sea horses manifest mango-peach in your mouth; and the red lobsters are berry—not any particular berry, but all the berries rolled into one.

They are way cheaper in-store than online but if you don’t have one near you, I’d say they are worth the extra dollars for trying them.

Pros

  • Naturally derived fruity flavors and colors
  • 5 delicious flavors
  • Gluten-free, vegetarian and kosher.
  • Can be bought on the cheap at Trader Joes.

Cons

  • Some customers complain the pieces were smooshed and broken.

Best Customer Review

“These are the best natural gummy snacks I have tasted. They’re soft, chewy, very flavorful, and top the majority of artificially flavored fruit snacks I have tried. My favorite Scandinavian swimmer is the shark.”

Worst Customer Review

“90% of the pieces were broken. Not very popular with my kids who used to love the one I got straight from Traders Joes.

4. Luehders Vegan Soft Candy Gummies

are gummy bears vegan

Why do we like it?

  • Made with natural fruits.
  • The company has 100 years making vegan sweets.
  • Free from gelatin, artifical colors and flavors.
  • Great variety of flavors.

L. Luehders is an old company that has been doing vegan sweets for more than 100 years. Even before the term veganism was even coined so we could say they know what they are doing.

They have a variety of vegan gummies including “Ginger and Fruits Vegan Gummies”, “Smoothie Style Vegan Gummies” and “Fruity Style” which is the one featured on the image above.

While they are not bear-shaped they have a great taste and texture and are made with all-natural fruit extracts.

These are pricer than other vegan gummies but it is probably because they are manufactured in Germany.

Pros

  • Incredible natural flavor and chewy texture.
  • A prestigious company making vegan treats for over 100 years.
  • A variety of flavors to try.

Cons

  • Pricier than other brands.

Best Customer Review

“One of the things I’ve desperately missed when I became a vegan was gummy bears. I couldn’t believe my luck when I came across these gummy berries. These have that gummy texture and taste very much as I remember them. This is my second order of these gummies, and I doubt very much I’ll look any further.”

Worst Customer Review

“Too few candies in the package. Very expensive. Very delicious but…will not buy again..

5. Vegan Organic Gummy Cubs by The Organic Candy Factory

are gummy bears vegan

Why do we like it?

  • Vegan, Kosher, Gluten-Free.
  • Packed with Vitamin C
  • Made with real Fruit Juice
  • No Corn Syrup, No Colors/Dyes,
  • Reselable pouch

These Organic Gummy Cubs are free of literal any ingredient you want to stay away from. Preservative & Pesticide Free, No Corn Syrup, No Artificial Flavors, or Sweeteners.

Plus, they are made with Real Fruit Juice & provide you with 100% Vitamin C per serving.

They are a bit softer and not as chewy as regular gummy bears but they are the flavors are amazing. They come in peach flavor and Mixed Berry that includes Boysenberry, Blackberry, and Raspberry.

 These gummy candy bears come in a reusable & resealable pouch that makes for a perfect to have with you on the go but you’ll have a hard time not eating them all at once.

Pros

  • Juicy, soft texture.
  • Certified kosher.
  • Reusable & resealable pouch.
  • 100% Vitamin C per serving

Cons

  • Some find the texture not chewy enough for a ‘gummy’

Best Customer Review

“This is a candy I will eat because it lacks all the artificial crap of regular candy. There is still a lot of sugar present but I ‘ll keep myself under control not to eat too many. These are really awesome, great taste! I like the peach and berries equally.
They taste natural, fresh, not too sweet!”

Worst Customer Review

“Had high hopes for a gummy texture (chewy but not mushy), but sadly it’s just mushy. The flavor is good, but it’s not really a *gummy* bear; more like a mushy fruit pectin snack.”

6. SmartSweets Vegan Gummy Bears

are gummy bears vegan

Why do we like it?

  • Just 3g of sugar for the entire bag.
  • Only 80 calories per bag.
  • Fruity and sour options.
  • Free from sugar alcohols. 
  • Sweetened with Stevia.

SmartSweets Gummies are ideal for those vegans who are on a low-calorie or low-sugar diet. They claim to be one of the lowest sugar candies on the market with only 3g of sugar and 80 calories a bag which is around 75% less than the average gummy bear.

They have a variety of bear and non-bear gummies including fruity or sour flavors.

They are sweetened with Stevia with is a plant extract that helps achieve such low sugar content and maintain their sweet taste but watch out if you are not a stevia fan.

Pros

  • 88% less sugar and 44% fewer calories than the other gummy bears
  • Free from Sugar Alcohols, Artificial Flavours + Colors, GMO.
  • Made without major allergens like tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, soybeans, milk, eggs, fish, and shellfish.

Cons

  • Made by a company that deals in gelatin so be sure to order the right product.
  • Not diabetic friendly.

Best Customer Review

“Love!! So happy I found gummy bears that are super yummy and I don’t have to feel any type of way if I eat the whole bag. You would have no idea that they aren’t sugar-filled. 10/10 will buy again”

Worst Customer Review

“While the product says the only 3g of sugar, the 28g of soluble fiber is a fiber that your body digests and turns into sugar afterward. I checked my blood sugar before eating a bag, it was 81. After eating a bag and nothing else, it spiked to 140.”

7. Seitenbacher Vegan Cherry Dolphin Fruit Gummies

are gummy bears vegan

Why do we like it?

  • Gluten-Free, lactose free, GMO-Free, low sodium.
  • No artificial ingredients.
  •  No additional sugar added it’s natural sugar from the juices.
  • Animal cruelty-free product.

Seitenbacker is a family-owned, German company that has found its way into American homes.

These gummy treats are made with real fruit juice and the manufacturing process is very simple.

They mix the fruit juice with apple pectin, pour the mix into a tray that will give the “cone” shape to the gummies and store them in a warm room where they are naturally dried.

These gummy animals don’t have a lot of ingredients, so it makes it much easier to see there is no sneaky non-vegan ingredient hiding.

Pros

  • Simple ingredients.
  • No artificial flavors
  • No artificial citric acid
  • No artificial colors
  • Gluten-free
  • Fat Free

Cons

  • Just one flavor.
  • More expensive than other options.

Best Customer Review

“Fast shipping, perfect product. My toddler loves these. They’re much healthier than most American “fruit” snacks, and they are delicious.”

Worst Customer Review

“$31+ for only 12!!!. I can just get the recipe and make my own. I like gummy candy but not enough to spend this amount for only 12 packages.”

8. Tasty Brand Organic Vegan Gummies

are gummy bears vegan

Why do we like it?

  • Suitable for children from 2 years old.
  • Free of artificial or unhealthy ingredients.
  •  Contains carbs for energy and electrolytes for optimal hydration.
  • 100% daily value of antioxidant vitamin C.

Tasty Brand Organic Fruit Gummy Snacks were created by 2 moms on a tasty mission to make healthier, fun foods without any guilt because they gummies contain nothing artificial or unhealthy.

Its new Sport formula is Boosted 100% daily value of antioxidant vitamin C and electrolytes for optimal hydration.

Tasty Brand Sport Fruit Snack flavors include lemon, orange, strawberry, grapefruit, cherry & raspberry. They are made with real fruit juice and certified USDA organic.

These healthy gummies contain no high-fructose corn syrup, no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.

Each box contains five .8-oz pouches with only 70 calories each and the packaging is made from 100% recycled paper & printed with vegetable-based inks.

Pros

  • Full range of fun, fruit-forward flavors.
  • 100% recycled portable 0.8-oz. Pouches
  • Certified USDA organic.
  • Free of all nasty ingredients.

Cons

  • More expensive than other options.

Best Customer Review

“My almost 2-year-old son loves them. He walks around with the last one for like 30 minutes before he caves and eats it. They are very gooey so they aren’t a firm fruit snack. You definitely need to brush your teeth after these. I think it’s cute that it instructs you to do so on the box! We will order again..”

Worst Customer Review

“These snacks are nice when u need something sweet and at the same time healthy but for the price is too little. They go very fast. For this price probably 2 pack 24 would be the right amount, but that is just me. Will not purchase again due to the price. “

9. Squish Vegan Rainbow Gummy Bears

are gummy bears vegan

Why do we like it?

  • More than 50 different types of vegan gummies
  • Great flavor and texture
  • Al natural flavors and colors
  • Available in 4 different sizes.
  • GMO Free

I have to admit I was impressed when I first found this company and felt like my vegan heart was gonna explode.

Honestly, just looking at their website makes you feel like a kid again and I even had a hard time choosing which one of their over 50 vegan gummies to feature.

They have dinosaurs, dragons, matcha alligators, unicorns, and baby elephants(!). So I seriously recommend checking them all out before ordering.

Now going back to the bears, even for their version of this classic is anything but average.

These rainbow bears are made with real fruit juice to bring you incredibly juicy flavours like banana, lime, orange, strawberry, blueberry & grape.

Pros

  • More than 50 vegan types of gummies.
  • All-natural flavors and colors.
  • Resealable pouch
  • Gluten-free
  • (Baby-elephants)

Cons

  • On the pricier side.

Best Customer Review

“I love gummy candies to an unhealthy degree. So going vegan meant a sad fair well to gummy bears, especially since other vegan gummy bears I’ve tried were not an adequate replacement. Until Squish! It’s a gourmet gummy shop, which already blows my mind, and offers many delicious vegan candies, as well as vegan candy mixes.”

Worst Customer Review

“I have a sick relationship with this place. It is cheaper if you order in bulk, and so i did, and I’ve had way too much of this vegan candy. The flavors I like the most are vegan sour wine o’clock, vegan magic, vegan extreme sour, and Vegan frosted Rhu-berry. Be careful tho, not all of their candy is vegan, only the candy with the vegan logo at the top of the package.”


Make your own Vegan Gummy Bears

If you are feeling adventurous, you can also experiment with making your own artisanal vegan gummy bear (or whatever shape you choose).

Making vegan gummy bears are home is not complicated at all and it only takes a few ingredients.

Even more, it can save you some dollars since store-bought vegan gummy bears can get expensive.

Check out the following recipe for homemade vegan gummy bears!


Vegan Gummy Bears FAQ

Are Haribo gummy bears vegan?

No, Haribo gummy bears are not vegan — they’re made using gelatin and beeswax. On top of that, they use artificial colors which some vegans don’t consume due to the animal testing surrounding them.

The company has recently made a vegan soft gummy without the use of gelatin, but as of the time of writing the gelatin, the alternative is still the most common.

What are vegan gummy bears made of?

Most commercial vegan gummies are made using apple pectin as a gelatin substitute. It has a natural jelly-like consistency and makes for a perfect replacement.

Some people also use aga-agar to make homemade vegan gummy bears.

Why can’t Vegans eat gummy bears?

Because most gummy bears contain non-vegan ingredients like gelatin, beeswax and animal-derived color dyes. Vegan-friendly gummy bears are made with pectin or starch instead of gelatin.

Do Gummy Bears have pork?

Some manufacturers use bovine gelatin for their gummy bears, but pork gelatin is most commonly used.

Are Gummy Bears vegetarian?

No, regular gummy bears, unless mentioned are made with gelatin which comes from animal bones, connective tissue, and organs.
If you are a vegetarian you’d be better by choosing vegan labeled gummy bears like the ones in this article.

Am I still a vegetarian if I eat gelatin?

By definition, Gelatin is not vegan nor vegetarian since it is made from dead animals. So technically, you are not vegan if you eat gelatin.

Can Vegan Gummy Bears Make You Poop? 

No, vegan gummy bears won’t make you poop. This is probably confusion from a viral story about some sugar-free gummy bears and the reviews that were left on their Amazon listing.

But you don’t have to worry about vegan gummy bears, the ingredients are all-natural, and neither myself or any reviews I’ve read have reported such a problem.


Vegan Gummy Bears Takeaway

At this point, there is hopefully no doubt that most vegan gummy bears are not vegan since they contain ingredients like gelatin and beeswax.

Luckily, there is a huge variety of vegan gumy bears available that beside being plant-based are also made without any nasty ingredients and some even have added benefits like vitamin C or electrolytes.

With all the options for began gummy bears, is no reason why vegans can not enjoy this classic treat with a compassionate twist. The hardest part will be now to be able to choose just one!

Which one of the products on the list caught your attention? Is there other ones you know about?

Let us know in the comments!

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