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Sometimes, it can be a little shocking when you hear that something isn’t suitable for vegans. Take Fanta, for example. How can a soft drink not be vegan? Well, there are some disputes over whether or not Fanta is vegan, with some vegans boycotting the Coca-Cola Company manufactured soft drink stating that the popular drink goes against their vegan principles.
This article considers each of the reasons why Fanta may or may not be considered vegan friendly so that you can make your own decision about whether to drink Fanta, avoid certain flavours or ditch Fanta altogether.
Fanta is vegan (for the most part)
For all practical purposes, Fanta is vegan. Fanta doesn’t contain any animal-derived ingredients and no animal testing was done specifically for Fanta sodas.
So what’s the problem?
The ingredients in Fanta are different for each flavour and also vary considerably by country. As most readers of this site are based in the USA and the UK, I will focus mainly on these countries when considering whether the ingredients in Fanta can be said to be vegan.
Let’s take a closer look at the ingredients of Fanta orange.
US Fanta orange ingredients:
Carbonated Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Citric Acid, Preservative (Sodium Benzoate), Natural Flavors, Modified Food Starch, Sodium Polyphosphates, Glycerol Ester of Rosin, Artificial Colors (Yellow 6, Red 40).
UK Fanta orange ingredients:
Carbonated Water, Sugar, Orange Juice from Concentrate (3.7%), Citrus Fruit from Concentrate (1.3%), Citric Acid, Vegetable Extracts (Carrot, Pumpkin), Sweeteners (Acesulfame K, Sucralose), Preservative (Potassium Sorbate), Malic Acid, Acidity Regulator (Sodium Citrate), Stabiliser (Guar Gum), Natural Orange Flavourings with Other Natural Flavourings, Antioxidant (Ascorbic Acid).
As you can see, the ingredients are quite different.
Why would some vegans avoid Fanta?
There are two reasons why strict vegans may consider Fanta not to be vegan. These are:
1. Artificial colours, sweeteners and preservatives used in Fanta were tested on animals
In the USA, Fanta commonly contains artificial food colourings such as Red 40, Yellow 5 and Yellow 6. These dyes have been tested on animals to ensure that they’re safe for humans. UK Fanta, however, uses natural colours such as carrot, sweet potato and pumpkin.
In the UK, Fanta contains artificial sweeteners such as acesulfame K, sucralose or aspartame, depending on the flavour. These have all been extensively tested on animals over the years. Artificial sweeteners are not needed in US Fanta as it contains high fructose corn syrup, a substance which is banned in the UK.
In both countries, Fanta contains preservatives such as potassium sorbate, which has been tested on animals.
It’s important to note that any animal testing was not done by the Coca-Cola company and was not done specifically for Fanta. Artificial colours, sweeteners and preservatives are used in a multitude of different food products.
2. Fanta contains sugar, which may contain bone char
In the USA, some sugar is refined using charred animal bones. There’s usually no way of knowing whether the sugar you consume contains bone char, as it is virtually impossible to track down the source to the sugar company and to know what processes they used. For this reason, some strict vegans in the United States choose to avoid sugar altogether.
In the UK, imported sugar is never made from bone char and it is always suitable for vegans.
Why do some vegans drink Fanta and others don’t?
The main principle of veganism is to avoid animal products and to avoid anything that causes harm to an animal.
This means that by the strictest standards of veganism, a product:
- must not contain any animal products
- must not contain any ingredients that have been tested on animals
As humans are animals too, some vegans may also avoid items like coffee, quinoa, bananas and cotton that are not fair trade, because these industries commonly involve violations of human rights such as the right to decent work conditions and an adequate standard of living.
Is Fanta tested on animals?
Fanta isn’t directly tested on animals. Nobody has given a can of Fanta to a rat or a monkey to see if they like it! However, Fanta does contains artificial colours, preservatives and/or sweeteners which have been tested on animals.
Unfortunately, animal testing doesn’t stop once these artificial ingredients are approved for use in human food. As these products have been linked to health effects such as allergies, hyperactivity and aggression, the animal testing continues.
Are artificial colours, sweeteners and preservatives vegan?
There’s certainly a grey area, and it’s up to each individual to decide what they’re comfortable with. People go vegan for a variety of different reasons, and there’s no on-size fits all approach say what’s right or wrong.
If you were to avoid everything that has ever been tested on an animal, the number of different things available to eat would drastically reduce. This could lead some people giving up on veganism, because it would be too difficult to maintain.
A good long-term approach to veganism is to do your best whenever you can. Articifical colours, flavours and preservatives do not contain any animal ingredients and consuming them does not lead to animals being harmed. Therefore, most vegans would accept that the infredients in Fanta are suitable.
Does Fanta contain fish?
Fanta doesn’t contain any fish products. However, in the past, it may have contained traces of fish gelatine. This was used as a stabiliser for the beta-carotene colour.
Other Coca-Cola products which contained fish in the past include Lilt, Five Alive, Kia Ora squash, Minute Maid orange juice and Schweppes orange crush.
Whilst Fanta once contained fish, it no longer contains any animal ingredients and is now suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
Vegan Fanta flavours
Fanta is sold in over 180 countries and comes in an incredible array of flavours, which vary by country, with over 90 flavours worldwide.
Whilst Fanta orange is the most popular favour across the globe, you’ll find other weird and wonderful flavours such as lychee, ginger beer, hawthorn and shokata (which is bright blue). Japan has the most Fanta flavours with 79 varieties to choose from with interesting-sounding names like tropical yoghurt, genius energy and hip hop.
You can see the full list of Fanta flavours on Wikipedia.
Of course, it would be virtually impossible to list whether every flavour of Fanta is vegan in every country, but here’s the lowdown on the most popular ones in the UK and the USA.
Is Fanta orange vegan?
In the UK, Fanta orange is considered to be vegan. Very strict vegans may wish to avoid Fanta orange as it contains artificial sweeteners (acesulfame K and sucralose) and a preservative (potassium sorbate) which have been tested on animals.
In the USA, Fanta orange is considered to be vegan. Very strict vegans may wish to avoid Fanta orange as it contains food dyes (Yellow 6 and Red 40) and preservatives (tartaric acid, potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate) which have been tested on animals. It also contains sugar which may or may not have been produced using bone char.
Is Fanta lemon vegan?
Fanta lemon is considered to be vegan in the UK. Very strict vegans may wish to avoid Fanta lemon as it contains artificial sweeteners (acesulfame K and aspartame) and a preservative (potassium sorbate) which have been tested on animals.
Is Fanta fruit twist vegan?
Fanta fruit twist is considered to be vegan in the UK. Very strict vegans may wish to avoid Fanta fruit twist as it contains artificial sweeteners (acesulfame K and aspartame) and a preservative (potassium sorbate) which have been tested on animals.
Is Fanta grape vegan?
Fanta grape is considered to be vegan in the US. Very strict vegans may wish to avoid Fanta grape as it contains food dyes (Blue 1and Red 40) and preservatives (tartaric acid, potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate) which have been tested on animals. It also contains sugar which may or may not have been produced using bone char.
Do you drink Fanta as a vegan?
The decision about what to eat and drink as a vegan is yours and yours alone. Never let anyone tell you that you’re not vegan or not a ‘real’ vegan because your view on what’s suitable is different from theirs.
Personally, I will continue to drink Fanta and other products which have artificial colours, sweeteners and flavours. I feel that removing these from my diet would be too challenging for me at the moment. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.