Are Jelly Belly Jelly Beans Vegan?

Answer: … depends on your definition of veganism*

Jelly Belly jelly beans were Ronald Reagans favorite. He was not vegan, but these jelly beans are ALMOST strictly vegan. The sticking area is related to two products, both used for making the bean “shiny.” Yes, shiny. These two ingredients are beeswax and shellac. Beeswax obviously comes from bees, and shellac can come from crushed insects. Yeah. I’ve read on other sites that Jelly Belly jelly beans contain milk and gelatin. This is NOT true. These beans are free from these products. I’ve also read “reports” that the butter and cheesecake flavors contain dairy products. This is also NOT true. I reached out to Jelly Belly specifically on this issue. This their complete response:

Question: The “buttered popcorn” and other beans contain “natural flavor.” Are any of these natural flavors animal-derived (like actual butter)? Thank you.

Answer: There are no animal-derived products in our beans. The butter flavor is artificial in the Buttered Popcorn.

While not an animal, but an insect, we do use beeswax as a sealant for and to give the beans their shine.

Best Regards,
Scott
Consumer Affairs Representative
Jelly Belly Candy Company

There you have it. A few rumors dispelled. To see the official response from Jelly Belly about their product, check their faq. Specifically, check this entry about vegetarians and vegans.

* I hate having to use that disclaimer. But some vegans are pro honey. Not me, but some are. So whenever items like these come up, you’ll see the disclaimer.

17 comments for “Are Jelly Belly Jelly Beans Vegan?

  1. Heather M
    January 1, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    Dear Jelly Belly,

    Last time I checked, insects were in kingdom anamalia.

    Sincerely,
    A biologist.

    • Nao Interessa
      January 8, 2013 at 6:20 pm

      Oh, I spotted that too… awful.

  2. Jiya
    August 6, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    i just had some of those jelly beans last week; now i want to puke.

  3. Bub
    November 5, 2013 at 6:54 am

    “Vegans” who are pro honey aren’t vegans. Might as well be pro dairy, pro meat, etc.

  4. January 14, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    So basically….you’re saying they AREN’T VEGAN then.

  5. Striksette
    February 15, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    I feel like everyone in these comments is being a bit rude. Upon becoming vegan, you have to expect that not all foods are automatically going to be available to you. The author of this article was providing the information you searched for. Just because you consider insects animals, and perhaps that IS the biological fact, does not mean that everyone else’s diets exclude insects. Someone else could be vegan, but in the sense that they avoid meat and dairy. Insect product doesn’t fall into either of those categories.
    It’s a brilliant article and it answered your question, so there’s really no reason to be so harsh.

    • Heather M
      April 18, 2014 at 1:17 am

      If you look closely, there is only one person that made any sort of judgement. All I said is that regardless of your definition of veganism, bees are in Class Insecta, which is in Phylum Arthropoda, which is in Kingdom Animalia. That’s a scientific fact. Therefore, their assertion “While not an animal, but an insect” is incorrect. I wasn’t calling out anyone but Jelly Belly. In fact, I eat have no problem eating honey or using beeswax (and many vegans would sooner spit in my face than call me a vegan – I’m over them). But allowing manufacturers to skate by on things like this leads to lies on product packaging. Just tell me what’s in the product. I shouldn’t have to use the internet to figure it out (and for the record, no one here attacked the author of this website…I think it’s a great service. The problem here lies with Jelly Belly).

      Frankly, I feel like you are being a bit rude. You are so busy calling out others for being high and mighty you didn’t realize how high and mighty you were floating.

  6. Andrew Rininger
    April 13, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    Yeah right on @ Striksette. These people are causing more harm than good with there imposing veganism. You look like a bunch of self righteous religious zealots and it turns people off entirely. More people would go vegan if vegans were comical douche bags all the time. Question answered thank you.

    • Heather M
      April 18, 2014 at 1:29 am

      If vegans were comical douche bags? I don’t have any idea what that means. Also, *their imposing veganism…or possibly *they’re imposing veganism…either way doesn’t make sense.

      Want me to be a zealot? Learn to articulate yourself before you try to argue with the adults. How’s that?

      • Andy
        July 21, 2014 at 5:16 pm

        Learn how to articulate? From your response above to Striskette:

        In fact, I eat have no problem eating honey or using beeswax.

        So I assume this is your idea of proper articulation. Before ridiculing someone over their use or there versus their (as clearly “they’re imposing veganism” would be grammatically incorrect) ensure that your argument is correctly worded. Good day.

  7. April 13, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    If you eat fruit and vegetables, you have eaten insects.

    • Heather M
      April 18, 2014 at 1:24 am

      Guess what…I’ve eaten peanut butter too!!

      The issue here is not whether you have accidentally ingested insects, but intention. I try to do no harm. If you feel the need to judge someone, how about you pick on someone with a more belligerent life philosophy? I will never understand what it is about vegetarianism that causes people so much personal upset…Mind your own beeswax (corny pun intended).

      • Seraphim
        April 18, 2014 at 11:07 pm

        Heather you are on a fucking roll

        • Heather M
          April 20, 2014 at 12:16 am

          I can’t stand hypocrites, and I’ve had it up to here with the people that want to argue with me about what I eat. I’ve been a vegetarian for 24 of my 35 years, and 4 out of 5 times when someone finds out (I never volunteer this info, for the record), they try to
          1. convince me to eat meat;
          2. try to argue with me that humans have evolved to eat meat (I disagree);
          3. tell me I’d be fatter/thinner/healthier/less pale/ whatever other superlative you can think of (tanner…really??);
          4. tell me that there are insects in my peanut butter/fruits and vegetables/any other plant based product you can think of (thanks…I love to think about ground up insects in my food…especially while I am eating).

          It’s rude and I’m done. When people are rude to me, they are going to get it right back. I’ve got 24 years of pent of frustration and I can’t hold it in anymore. So yeah, I am on a fucking roll. ;)

  8. Caitlyn J.
    May 6, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    I agree with you Heather, many people insult me by making those types of comments, even more so since I am only eleven and everyone isn’t very mature. Although, I do think you are being very immature for a “35 year old biologist.” Your comments were unnecessary and you seem very stressed out, I think you should relax, take a deep breath, or take a break to lower your stress. Next time someone insults you, don’t take it to heart, they were probably just kidding or messing with you (and this is coming from an eleven year old, I think that says something).

  9. Dave
    August 20, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    Shellac is actually the resin secreted from the insect, not the insect iself. However, as it is removed from the tree, there can be no garentee that insects were not somehow mixed in or accidently caught, hence, it is not classed as vegan. You may be confusing it with carmine that is crushed up beetle shells.

  10. Detlef
    December 12, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    Oh My god…are you all serious? First …I believe it is great to be vegan. I am consider myself not a vegan but prefer a plant based diet most of the time. It is important that we are become more conscious what we are eating and how we treat living creatures. However I also believe it is ok to eat occasional animal products as long as they are not produced in an industrial environment. But again I have great respect who can stick to a 100 percent vegan diet. But please do not think if you eat occasional some insect, that you are not a vegan, this is really ridiculous, since you can never be 10 percent sure not to eat some small insect even if you eat a salad. Anyway be conscious and respectful and if you eat some meat or fish then send some prayers to nature and be thankful.

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