These fruity, colorful candies have been a global success following their first introduction to the market in 1974 – encouraging you to “taste the rainbow”.
Taking name inspiration from the lawn sport ‘skittles’, these small footballs are much tastier, however. Whether old or young, it’s hard to resist these delightful treats.
However, you may be wondering what secrets are hiding in the ingredients list. Plus, more importantly, are skittles vegan?
Whether you’re looking for treats to eat in the movie theater, candies for Halloween trick-or-treaters, or some Easter basket fun, well you’re in luck because skittles are, in fact, vegan!
In this article, we will explore everything you need to know about skittle’s role in a vegan diet.
What Are Skittles?
A combination of gum drops and jellybeans, Skittles are circular sugar-based treats developed by the Wrigley Company in the United Kingdom, which later become Mars Wrigley Confectionery.
This huge conglomerate is considered the world’s leading producer of mints, chewing gum, and much more!
The original varieties of Skittles include lemon, strawberry, orange, grape, and lime – decked in parallel neon colors.
It should be noted that these are all derived from artificial sources – you won’t find any of your five-a-day in these sweet treats!
How Are Skittles Made?
Chewy candies usually maintain a bouncy texture by using gelatine, which is derived from animal products such as ground bones and hooves.
Since this is a significant derivative of the animal industry, these aren’t vegetarian, not to mention vegan!
However, in 2009, animal-based gelatin was removed from Skittles manufactured in the US – a huge win for vegans and animals alike.
However, what ingredients go into the candies we know and love today? Below, you will find the most recent ingredient list for skittles.
- Corn Syrup – Also known as glucose syrup, it is composed of cornstarch to provide volume, soften, improve taste, and reduce the risk of crystallization in Skittles.
- Sugar – Conventional white sugar is derived from sugar cane stalks and is then refined into smaller, whiter granules for Skittles.
- Hydrogenated palm kernel oil – This plant oil is derived from the kernel of the palm oil plant, Elaeis guineensis. It is used to improve texture and flavor.
- Tapioca dextrin – This is a type of starch extract found in cassava roots and yucca plants. It is used in Skittles to preserve color and flavor and works as an adhesive candy coating.
- Citric acid – Naturally harvested from citrus fruits, a manufactured variety of citric acid can be found in candies to improve flavor, preserve ingredients, and increase acidity.
- Modified corn starch – Derived from corn, this is a gelling agent and emulsifier that adds to the Skittles gumminess.
- Colors – Skittles are composed of Red 40, Red 40 Lake, Yellow 5, Yellow 5 Lake, Yellow 6, Yellow 6 Lake, Blue 1, Blue 1 Lake, and Blue 2 Lake, as well as titanium dioxide. These are all found in raw materials from petroleum.
- Natural and artificial flavors – These flavor details are usually proprietary, but taking into account Skittles’ fruit-based flavors, it can be assumed that this is the cause of either artificial or natural flavors.
- Sodium citrate – This is the sodium salt found in citric acid and is used as a preservative to supply a tart flavor.
- Carnauba wax – Derived from the wax of the Copernicia prunifera leaves, it is used to maintain the shiny candy coatings and prevent them from melting.
So, Are Skittles Vegan or Not?
Skittles are entirely composed using vegan-friendly ingredients. This means that yes, Skittles are suitable for vegans!
While there are some questions surrounding the suitability of sugar, which can sometimes be ground with bone char for a pure white look, for all intents and purposes, skittles are vegan.
If you are an ethical vegan and taking appropriate considerations to avoid animal products, then you can rest assured that Skittles are an ideal choice.
With a slight difference in the composition of flavor and color additives, all mainstream versions of skittles are entirely vegan and free of animal byproducts.
That being said, some sugars are processed using bone char to achieve the pure white color, and while this doesn’t end up in the final products – some vegans may not support it.
To ensure whether or not your Skittles are vegan is to carefully read the ingredients list, and, if you’re still unsure, check with the manufacturer.