Is Soda Vegan?

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The short answer: Many sodas are vegan, but some are not.

The rest of this post will show you what non-vegan ingredients to look out for in soda, and which of the most popular sodas are or are not vegan.

Non-Vegan Ingredients in Sodas

sodas

There are 4 main things to look out for in soda ingredient labels:

  • Ester gum – It’s a stabilizer made from glycerol (a sweetener). Glycerol can be made in a lab, but most companies use glycerol derived from animals. If you see ester gum or anything related to glycerol on the ingredients label, it’s probably not vegan (unless explicitly specified). It’s most commonly used in orange sodas, like Sunkist Orange soda. This is also the reason that some gum bases are not vegan.
  • Cochineal – A red food dye obtained from bugs. I know some vegans have different opinions on whether insects are vegan or not, but most would say they’re not.
  • Vitamin D3 – The vitamin D3 is usually derived by oil from sheep’s wool and is not vegan. This is pretty rare, and more common in sports/energy drinks.
  • Honey – Quite rare, but I’ve come across a few specialties sodas that include honey.

Which Major Sodas Are Vegan?

The good news is that most of the sodas you can name off the top of your head, while not healthy, are in fact vegan.

Let’s go through them one-by-one. Keep in mind that ingredients may differ by country and flavor, I’m only going over the most popular varieties, with ingredient lists coming from the manufacturers’ websites.

Is Coca-Cola Vegan?

coca colar

Here’s the ingredients list of the original version:

  • Carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, caramel color, phosphoric acid, natural flavors, caffeine.
  • Verdict: VEGAN

None of those ingredients contain animal products, which backs up what Coca-Cola has said publicly about their sodas.

Is Sprite Vegan?

sprite

Let’s have a look at the ingredients:

  • Carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, citric acid, natural flavors, sodium citrate, sodium benzoate.
  • Verdict: VEGAN

Again, no animal ingredients in sight.

Is Dr. Pepper Vegan?

dr pepper

The ingredients list:

  • Carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, caramel color, phosphoric acid, natural and artificial flavors, sodium benzoate (preservative), caffeine.
  • Verdict: VEGAN

Is 7up Vegan?

7up

The ingredients:

  • Filtered carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, citric acid, potassium citrate, natural flavors, calcium disodium edta
  • Verdict: VEGAN

Is Pepsi Vegan?

pepsi can

Considering Pepsi is so similar to Coke, you can probably guess the outcome:

  • Carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, caramel color, sugar, phosphoric acid, caffeine, citric acid, natural flavors.
  • Verdict: VEGAN

Pepsi themselves have said that Pepsi and Pepsi max are both vegan, but diet Pepsi is not.

However, that was a few years ago. I contacted Pepsi’s customer support (July 2019), and received an even better reply:

Apepsi vegan chat

According to the support rep, none of Pepsi’s products contain any animal products or by-products.

Is Mountain Dew Vegan?

mountain dew can

Last but not least:

  • Carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, concentrated orange juice, citric acid, natural flavor, sodium benzoate, caffeine, sodium citrate, erythorbic acid, gum arabic, calcium disodium edta, brominated vegetable oil, yellow 5.
  • Verdict: Maybe Vegan (depending on your views)

Super long ingredients list, but no animal products, and I couldn’t find anything else that suggested otherwise.

The one potential issue is “yellow 5,” which is an artificial color. Artificial colors are a grey area for vegans, as they are often tested on animals.

You’ll have to make your own decision on whether or not you’re okay with it.

Conclusion: Is Soda Usually Vegan

Most sodas are in fact vegan.

If you want to be 100% sure about any soda being vegan, you’ll need to contact the manufacturer directly.

Again, the sodas you need to be most careful of are flavored ones, especially orange flavors.

About the author

Dale C.

Your friendly neighborhood vegan from Toronto. Chemical engineer turned semi-professional soccer player and freelance writer. Trying to do my small part in making the world better by writing about the wonderful world of veganism.

3 comments

  • You can go to both pepsi and coke directly and find out that neither of the colas are vegan. They contain fish gelatin. It’s used as a color stabilizer….

    • I know that was true in the past, but based on my interactions with their support I don’t believe this is true anymore.

      Do you have a current source for this?