Dr Pepper is one of the most popular drinks in the world, and many people crave the unique taste of this carbonated soft drink.
However, not many people know how these soft drinks are made, which can be confusing for people who are trying to figure out whether or not these drinks are suitable for vegans.
It can be hard for vegans to stick to their strict diet that includes avoiding anything that may contain animal products, and it’s important to know which products are or aren’t suitable for vegans.
So, is Dr Pepper suitable for vegans to drink? In this article, we’ll provide you with all of the details on the vegan status of Dr Pepper, as well as some potential grey areas where Dr Pepper might not be considered vegan!
Is Dr Pepper Vegan?
Dr Pepper is considered to be vegan by many people, and there are no obvious signs that Dr Pepper includes any form of animal-derived products in its ingredients list, which many vegans see as a sign that Dr Pepper is therefore able to be drunk by those who consider themselves vegan.
However, for some super strict vegans, there are some potential grey areas in the ingredients list of Dr Pepper which could mean that it isn’t actually vegan.
Are There Non-Vegan Ingredients In Dr Pepper?
As previously mentioned, for super strict vegans, some of the ingredients found in the ingredients list for the Dr Pepper recipe are considered grey areas, as it isn’t quite clear exactly what they contain.
These ingredients are natural flavors, caramel color, sugar, and Red 40. Although most vegans don’t consider these ingredients to be non-vegan, and still drink Dr Pepper though.
Let’s take a look at why some of these ingredients might pose a problem to some vegans out there!
Found in all flavors of Dr Pepper are natural flavors, which is a collective term for a group of ingredients that help to provide that “natural flavor”.
Some vegans worry that this group of ingredients might sometimes contain products derived from animals, which would mean that it wouldn’t be vegan friendly.
However, many vegans believe that they should only avoid natural flavors when they have a suspicion that the flavoring is animal-derived, which isn’t often the case.
And in the case of Dr Pepper, there’d be no reason to use animal animal-derived ingredients to help flavor the drink, which is why so many vegans still drink it.
Another cause for concern is the presence of caramel color in the ingredients list of Dr Pepper, and it can be found in all flavors of Dr Pepper too, so why is it a problem?
Well, generally caramel color is vegan, however there is the rare case where it might be non-vegan, and since it’s impossible to tell from the ingredients label, it’s why some vegans might worry about its inclusion in this tasty soft drink!
Caramel color is made by heating up (caramelizing) sugar, and this sugar source tends to be vegan, which means there’s usually no issue.
But, sometimes manufacturers use white sugar to produce caramel color, which is non-vegan, see below to find out why!
Only one of the Dr Pepper flavors uses actually sugar as a sweetener, as opposed to aspartame or high fructose corn syrup, so why is this a problem?
Well, refined white sugar involved using cattle bone char to help refine it, but sugar is never explicitly labeled as “bone char sugar” on labels, which is why vegans face such a difficult challenge.
Sugar that is taken from coconuts or beets doesn’t get refined through bone char, so these forms of sugar are vegan.
Red 40, which is found in the cherry and cherry vanilla flavors of Dr Pepper isn’t derived from animal-products, as it’s actually made from petroleum. So what’s the concern?
Well, since there are safety concerns about the use of this product, testing still takes place, and a lot of that testing is done on animals, which is why vegans avoid the cherry flavors!
So, for the most part, Dr Pepper is still drunk and enjoyed by many in the vegan community, however the Dr Pepper Cherry, and Dr Pepper Vanilla Cherry flavors are sometimes avoided by vegans due to the inclusion of Red 40.