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Are Skittles Vegan?
Everything You Need to Know

Rafid Nassir
Published by Rafid Nassir
Fact checked by Markus Oliver, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: February 27, 2021

Ah, Skittles. These colorful, chewy little candies have been a favorite candy of both kids and adults for the longest time. With many people switching to veganism and trying to live consciously, a serious question arises: Are Skittles vegan?

I’ve done in-depth research, so keep scrolling to find out!

Can Vegans Eat Skittles?

Yes, vegans can eat Skittles. Just remember that even though they’re vegan, they aren’t the healthiest candy.

Skittles are incredibly high in calories and contain a lot of artificial ingredients. Furthermore, palm oil just adds up to the calories. So, if you’ve switched to veganism for its health benefits, you might want to reconsider your snacking choices.

Ingredients List

sugar and syrup

Now, as I’ve said, all flavors are vegan. The typical Skittles ingredients list includes:

  • Sugar
  • Corn Syrup
  • Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil
  • Citric Acid
  • Tapioca Dextrin
  • Modified Corn Starch
  • Artificial and Natural Flavors
  • Colors
  • Sodium Citrate
  • Carnauba wax

What Could Make Them Not Vegan?

Skittles have made a couple of changes in their formula over the years. This is the main reason there’s confusion about whether skittles are vegan. Let’s see what could make them not vegan-friendly.

1. Carmine

As you might know, Skittle originated from the UK. Those Skittles include an ambiguously named ingredient — E120. Vegans should be worried about this one, as this is the industry code for carmine.

If you've never heard about this ingredient (which I doubt) it's a red dye extracted from crushed female cochineal insects [1]. To put it simply — it’s bug juice!

Luckily, Skittles from the UK don’t include this ingredient anymore, but many other foods have it, so be careful when reading food labels.

2. Gelatine

The original Skittles formula also included gelatine, which is also not vegan-friendly, as it’s made from boiling animals’ bones, cartilage, and skin. Skittles was not suitable for vegans, vegetarians, and kosher people until 2009 when it was banned in the US.

Vegan Skittles Flavors

closed up skittles

Skittles may not be using animal-derived additives, but this doesn’t mean all flavors are suitable for vegans.

Vegan flavors include:

  • Original Skittles (Sugar, Corn Syrup, Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil; Less Than 2% Of: Citric Acid, Tapioca Dextrin, Modified Corn Starch, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Colors (Red 40 Lake, Titanium Dioxide, Red 40, Yellow 5 Lake, Yellow 5, Yellow 6 Lake, Yellow 6, Blue 2 Lake, Blue 1, Blue 1 Lake), Sodium Citrate, Carnauba Wax.)
  • Sour Skittles (Sugar, Corn Syrup, Citric Acid, Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil, Less Than 2% Of Tapioca Dextrin, Modified Corn Starch, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Colors (Red 40 Lake, Blue 1 Lake, Blue 2 Lake, Yellow 5 Lake, Yellow 6 Lake, Red 40, Blue 1, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Titanium Dioxide), Sodium Citrate, Carnauba Wax.)
  • Wild Berry Skittles (Sugar, Corn Syrup, Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil, Fruit Juice from Concentrate (Strawberry, Cherry, Raspberry, Grape, Blackberry), Less Than 2% – Citric Acid, Dextrin, Modified Corn Starch, Artificial And Natural Flavors, Coloring (Includes Red 40 Lake, Blue 2 Lake, Blue 1, Yellow 5 Lake, Lake, Red 40, Yellow 5, Blue 1, Yellow 6), Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C).)
  • Tropical Skittles (Sugar, Corn Syrup, Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil, Apple Juice from Concentrate, Less Than 2% – Citric Acid, Dextrin, Modified Corn Starch, Coloring (Includes Yellow 5 Lake, Yellow 6 Lake, Blue 1 Lake, Red 40 Lake, Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Blue 1), Artificial And Natural Flavors, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C).)
  • Brightside Skittles (Sugar, Corn Syrup, Hydrogenated Palm Oil; Less Than 2% of: Citric Acid, Tapioca Dextrin, Modified Corn Starch, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Colors (Titanium Dioxide, Yellow 5 Lake, Blue 1 Lake, Red 40 Lake, Red 40, Blue 1, Yellow 6), Sodium Citrate, Carnauba Wax.)
  • Sweets & Sours Skittles (Sugar, Corn Syrup, Hydrogenated Palm Oil, Citric Acid, Less Than 2% Of: Tapioca Dextrin, Modified Corn Starch, Natural And Artificial Flavors, Sodium Citrate, Colors (Titanium Dioxide, Blue 1, Red 40 Lake, Blue1 Lake, Yellow 5 Lake, Yellow 5, Blue 2 Lake), Carnauba Wax.)
  • Darkside Skittles (Sugar, Corn Syrup, Palm Kernel Oil (Hydrogenated); Less than two % of: Citric Acid, Tapioca Dextrin, Modified Starch (Modified), Natural and Artificial Flavors, Colors (Yellow 5, Red 40 Lake, Titanium Dioxide, Red 40, Blue 1, Blue 1 Lake, Yellow 6 Lake), Sodium Citrate, Carnauba Wax.)
  • Sweet Heat Skittles (Sugar, Corn Syrup, Palm Kernel Oil (Hydrogenated); Less Than 2% of: Tapioca Dextrin, Citric Acid, Corn Starch (Modified), Artificial and Natural Flavors, Sodium Citrate, Coloring (Includes Yellow 5), Carnauba Wax.)

Why You Should Avoid Them?

Even though Skittles are vegan, there are other reasons to avoid them.

Animal Testing

Skittles' parent company Mars, Inc. Is known for testing its products on animals. The company states that:

“In the day-to-day development of our chocolate, gum and confection, food, drinks, and pet care products we do not undertake, support or sponsor studies that harm animals. This represents the vast majority of our activities and products.”

Either way, you wouldn’t want to support a company that supports animal testing and cruelty.

3 Controversial Ingredients

The company may no longer use animal products, but they use some controversial ingredients.

1. The Problem with Sugar

White sugar is often processed with bone char [2]. As this is the first ingredient in every Skittles flavor, there’s a possibility it’s not vegan.

2. Palm Oil

Palm oil is even more problematic than sugar. The ingredient is vegan, but many vegans avoid it because of its horrific environmental impact.

3. Natural and Artificial Ingredients

“Natural and artificial ingredients” is a very vague term. These ingredients can be vegan, but they could also accidentally be non-vegan, as the company doesn’t disclose whether they’re plant-based.

Post You May Like: Which Girl Scout Cookies can Vegans have?

Are Skittles Vegan? The Final Verdict

Yes, Skittles are vegan. But, do you really want to "taste the rainbow?" More like "taste the toxins."

Honestly, I wouldn't recommend anyone buying from a company that supports animal testing and environmental destruction. Choose the food you consume wisely!

References:

  1. https://www.britannica.com/technology/carmine
  2. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/are-skittles-vegan#vegan-status

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