Haribo is a german confectionary company that makes a whole host of different gummy sweets and candies including Starmix, Giant Strawbs and Tangfastics. But are Haribo vegan? Are they vegetarian? The answer is sometimes, yes.
Most Haribo sweets are not suitable for vegans or vegetarians as they contain animal ingredients like gelatine (pig bones and skin), beeswax (from bees) or carmine (crushed insects). However, there are some varieties of Haribo sweets that are vegan and vegetarian.
Read on to find out which Haribos are suitable for vegans and vegetarians, and what animal ingredients are in the others.
Why are most Haribo sweets not vegetarian or vegan?
There are several ingredients in Haribo which might make them unsuitable for vegetarians and vegans. Here’s what to look out for on the packaging.
One of the main non-vegetarian ingredients you’ll find in many chewy sweets is gelatine – a protein obtained by boiling animal bones, skins, ligaments and tendons. Unfortunately, despite alternatives being readily available, gelatin (alternative spelling) is used in many varieties of gummy sweets to give them a chewy texture.
Beeswax is produced by bees to build the hexagon-shaped honeycombs where they live. Beeswax doesn’t contain any animal flesh so it is suitable for vegetarians. However, most vegans choose to avoid beeswax as its production disrupts the bees’ habitat and can cause them harm.
Carmine is a natural red food dye which is made by crushing the bodies of cochineal insects. Another name for carmine is E120. Red food dye can be obtained from strawberries or vegetables but companies use insects as it’s cheaper
Palm fat, also known as palm oil, does not contain any animal ingredients and is vegan. However, some vegans choose to avoid palm oil which has not been produced sustainably because unsustainable palm oil production causes deforestation and the extinction of animal species.
While some Haribo sweets do contain palm oil, Haribo is a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil and all of the palm oil used in Haribos is sustainable.
All sugar used in food produced in the UK is vegan. However, in the USA, some sugar is not vegan because it is produced using bone char. This is something for American vegans to be aware of when buying candy like Haribo.
Vegetarian Haribo is labelled as vegetarian, but no Haribo sweets are labelled as vegan. This is because there is a risk of cross-contamination within the factories. Haribo may contain traces of animal ingredients, including milk.
Whilst most vegans accept that cross-contamination happens and that manufacturers avoid it where possible, strict vegans and people with severe food allergies may look to avoid any food that has been made in the same environment as ingredients like milk.
Suggested read: Is food that ‘may contain milk’ vegan?
Which Haribo sweets are vegan and vegetarian?
The following table shows which Haribo sweets are vegan and vegetarian in the UK. Please note that ingredients may vary by country.
|Haribo sweets||Vegetarian?||Vegan?||Animal ingredients|
|Bear Buddies||No||No||Gelatine, beeswax|
|Fizzy Cola Balla Stixx||No||No||Gelatine|
|Friendship Rings||No||No||Gelatine, beeswax|
|Fruity Frogs||No||No||Gelatine, beeswax|
|Giant Cola Bottles||No||No||Gelatine, beeswax|
|Giant Cola Zing Bottles||No||No||Gelatine|
|Giant Dummies||No||No||Gelatine, beeswax|
|Giant Dummies Zing||No||No||Gelatine|
|Giant Strawbs Zing/Sour||No||No||Gelatine|
|Gold Bears||No||No||Gelatine, beeswax|
|Gold Bears Sour||No||No||Gelatine|
|Happy Cherries||No||No||Gelatine, beeswax|
|Happy Cherries Zing||No||No||Gelatine|
|Happy Cola Bottles||No||No||Gelatine, beeswax|
|Happy Cola Zing||No||No||Gelatine|
|Heart Throbs||No||No||Gelatine, beeswax|
|Hippomilks||No||No||Gelatine, milk, beeswax|
|Jelly Babies||No||No||Gelatine, beeswax|
|Jelly Men||No||No||Gelatine, beeswax|
|Pontefract Cakes||No||No||Gelatine, beeswax|
|Rainbow Strips Zing||YES||YES|
|Rainbow Twists (Sour)||YES||YES|
|Rhubarb & Custard||No||No||Gelatine, beeswax|
|Rhubarb & Custard Zing||No||No||Gelatine|
|Soft Jelly Bear||YES||YES|
|Squidgy Strawbs||No||No||Gelatine, beeswax|
|Strawberry Balla Stixx||No||No||Gelatine, beeswax|
|Terrific Turtles||No||No||Gelatine, beeswax|
|Twin Snakes||No||No||Gelatine, beeswax|
|Yellow Bellies||No||No||Gelatine, beeswax|
Tips for finding vegan Haribo
Any Haribo sweets which do not contain gelatine are vegetarian. These are easy to spot because they have the round green vegetarian flash on the front of the packet.
To find out which vegetarian Haribo are also suitable for vegans, the general rule is that if the sweets are shiny, they are glazed with beeswax. If they are covered in sugar, then they are vegan.
Of course, you should always check the ingredients list yourself to be 100% sure.
List of vegan Haribo
The following Haribo sweets are vegan:
- Rainbow Spaghetti
- Rainbow Strips Zing/Sour
- Rainbow Twists Zing/Sour
- Soft Jelly Bear
List of vegetarian Haribo
These Haribo sweets are vegetarian:
- Freaky Fish
- Funny Mix
- Giant Strawbs
- Giant Trees
- Jelly Beans
- Rainbow Spaghetti
- Rainbow Strips Zing/Sour
- Rainbow Twists
- Rainbow Twists Zing/Sour
- Soft Jelly Bear
- Sour Sparks
- Strawberry Twists
Popular Haribo sweets
Some Haribo sweets are really common and you’ll see them everywhere, yet other varieties are only available in a handful of shops or online. Here’s the lowdown on the most popular Haribo varieties.
Haribo Giant Strawbs
Haribo makes two varieties of Giant Strawbs – the regular ones and the sugar-coated ones, which are either called Gaint Strawbs Zing or Giant Sour Strawbs.
Haribo Giant Strawbs do not contain any gelatine and they are suitable for vegetarians. However, they are glazed with beeswax so they are not strictly vegan. Haribo Giant Sour Strawbs do not contain beeswax but they do contain gelatine so are not suitable for vegetarians or vegans.
Haribo Giant Strawbs ingredients (UK)
Glucose Syrup, Sugar, Starch, Acid: Citric Acid, Flavouring, Fruit and Plant Concentrates: Aronia, Blackcurrant, Elderberry, Grape, Lemon, Orange, Safflower, Spirulina, Caramelised Sugar Syrup, Glazing Agents: Beeswax, Carnauba Wax, Elderberry Extract
Haribo Giant Strawbs Sour/Zing ingredients (UK)
Glucose Syrup, Sugar, Gelatine, Dextrose, Acid: Citric Acid, Malic Acid, Flavouring, Fruit and Plant Concentrates: Apple, Aronia, Blackcurrant, Elderberry, Grape, Kiwi, Safflower, Spirulina, Elderberry Extract,
Haribo Starmix is not suitable for vegetarians or vegans because it contains gelatine and beeswax. Vegetarians avoid gelatine because it is made from animal bones, skin, tendons and ligaments. Vegans avoid beeswax because it is made by bees.
Haribo Starmix ingredients (UK)
Glucose Syrup, Sugar, Dextrose, Gelatine, Acid: Citric Acid, Flavouring, Fruit and Plant Concentrates: Safflower, Spirulina, Apple, Elderberry, Blackcurrant, Orange, Kiwi, Lemon, Mango, Passion Fruit, Aronia, Grape, Caramelised Sugar Syrup, Elderberry Extract, Glazing Agents: Beeswax, Carnauba Wax
Haribo Tangfastics are sour and fizzy chewy sweets in the shapes of cherries, dummies, cola bottles and crocodiles.
Haribo Tangfastics sweets are not suitable for vegans or vegetarians because they contain gelatine which is derived from the skin, bones, tendons and ligaments of pigs. They are also not halal.
Haribo Tangfactics ingredients (UK)
Glucose syrup; sugar; gelatine; dextrose; acid: citric acid, malic acid; caramelised sugar syrup; fruit and plant concentrates: apple, aronia, blackcurrant, carrot, elderberry, grape, hibiscus, kiwi, lemon, mango, orange, passion fruit, safflower, spirulina; flavouring; elderberry extract.
Haribo Chamallows are not suitable for vegetarians or vegans because they contain gelatine, which is made from the skin, bones, tendons and ligaments of pigs. These Haribo marshmallow sweets also contain carmine, which is a red food dye made from crushed insects.
Instead of Chamallows, you can get vegan marshmallows here.
Haribo Chamallows ingredients (UK)
Glucose Syrup, Sugar, Dextrose, Water, Humectant: Sorbitol Syrup, Gelatine, Natural Flavouring, Colour: Carmines
Haribo Soft Jelly Bear
The Haribo Soft Jelly Bear is an 11-inch tall yellow plastic bear filled with 1 KG of individually-wrapped soft candies. The sweets inside are suitable for vegetarians, vegans and Muslims.
As you can see from the ingredients below, the vegan Haribo sweets use pectin rather than gelatine. Pectin is a naturally occurring substance which is found in apples, berries and other fruits. No glazing agent is used.
Vegan Haribo Soft Jelly Bear Ingredients (UK):
Sugar, Glucose Syrup, Gelling Agent: Pectin, Humectant: Sorbitol, Acid: Citric Acid, Acidity Regulator: Trisodium Citrate, Fruit Juice Concentrates: Lemon, Orange, Strawberry, Apple, Fruit and Plant Concentrates: Black Carrot, Spirulina, Safflower, Radish, Apple, Flavouring, Invert Sugar Syrup.
Haribo Jelly Babies
Haribo Jelly Babies are not suitable for vegetarians as they contain gelatine which is made from the bones, tendons and ligaments of animals. They also contain beeswax which is not vegan.
Haribo Jelly Babies Ingredients (UK):
Sugar, Glucose Syrup, Gelatine, Acid: Citric Acid, Flavouring, Fruit and Plant Concentrates: Apple, Aronia, Blackcurrant, Carrot, Elderberry, Grape, Hibiscus, Kiwi, Lemon, Mango, Orange, Passion Fruit, Safflower, Spirulina, Glazing Agents: Beeswax, Carnauba Wax, Caramelised Sugar Syrup, Elderberry Extract.
Vegan Haribo alternatives
The good news is that there are a large number of chewy sweets which are suitable for vegans. You might be lucky enough to find some of these in your local supermarket, although they may not be where you expect. In my local Asda, the vegan sweets can be found hidden on a top shelf in the soft drinks aisle, nowhere near the rest of the sweets!
Some of my favourite vegan sweets which are available online are:
Candy Kittens are natural fruit sweets which come in lots of different flavours and this gift hamper is a great way to see which you like best. I’ve tried lots of flavours and loved them all so far. This pack contains strawberry, watermelon, mango and blueberry.
This huge 1 KG bag of vegan sweets offers great value for money and all the different kinds are delicious – there were none I didn’t like! The fizzy jellies are really sour and fizzy but not so much that they hurt your mouth, which is ideal.
Swizzels Retro Sweets
As a kid in the 80s, I grew up eating Swizzels drumsticks, dip dabs and love hearts. I had to stop eating them when I became vegetarian as a child as they used to contain gelatine. However, I’m thrilled that Swizzels have gone to such efforts to adjust the ingredients and make 18 varieties of vegan sweets that everyone can enjoy. Refresher bars have only recently become vegan and I’m enjoying them very much.
Most Haribo sweets contain gelatine from pigs so they are not suitable for vegetarians, vegans or those following a Halal diet. However, there are some Haribo sweets which do not contain gelatine, making them vegetarian and Halal. Of these, most contain beeswax, but some Haribo are suitable for vegans.
No Haribo sweets are certified as vegan as there is the potential for cross-contamination between vegan and non-vegan ingredients. However, some vegans will choose to eat the Haribo sweets that are free from animal ingredients.