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one green planet

There are many beverages on the market today that may seem inherently vegan at first, but actually aren’t. Whether it’s hidden animal byproduct ingredient in flavoring or dyes, or the wrong sugar choice, there are some non-vegan ingredients you should be looking out for.

The confusion on which sodas are okay to drink may make the vegan lifestyle appear to be more daunting than it really is. However, by paying a little more attention to beverage labels, and identifying a few ingredients to avoid, you’ll get the hang of it in no time. And while soda may not be the healthiest choice, it is considered to be vegan most of the time, with a few exceptions. Let’s take a look at what they are.

Non-Vegan Ingredients in Soda

  • Natural Flavors: Many times when an ingredients list mentions natural flavors, they are not always vegan. However, this is more common in food products, so it’s safe to assume that most soda flavors are not derived from animal products but it’s always best to check.
  • Ester Gum: This is a stabilizer made from glycerol, a type of sweetener. While it is possible to make ester gum in a lab, most soda companies use glycerol that’s derived from animals. Unless explicitly specified on the packaging, if you see this ingredient, it’s most likely not vegan. It’s most commonly found in orange sodas.
  • Cochineal: This is a red food dye that is obtained from bugs. It is extracted from crushed insects and should be avoided when looking for a vegan soda.
  • Vitamin D3: Vitamin D3 is usually derived from lanolin. Lanolin is a natural oil in the fiber of sheep’s wool, and is not vegan. While this ingredient is pretty rare in sodas, it is more common in sports and energy drinks.

Which Sodas Are Vegan?


According to Coca-Cola‘s company website, it reads “the vast majority of our drinks, including Coca-Cola, are suitable for vegetarians and vegans as they do not contain any animal derivatives.” While this is true for the original coca-cola beverage, many other Coca-Cola products such as Lilt, Lilt Zero, Honest Lemon and Honey, and Schweppes Orange Squash contain small traces of fish gelatine.


There are no animal products or animal product derivatives in the manufacturing and production of Sprite, making it a vegan-friendly beverage. Sprite is made from carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, citric acid, natural fruit flavor, sodium citrate, and sodium benzoate.

Dr. Pepper

Dr. Pepper is a vegan-friendly drink. It’s made from a combination of natural and artificial ingredients, however, it does not contain any animal products or byproducts in its manufacturing process. Dr. Pepper Zero is vegan as well.

Pepsi and Pepsi Max

PepsiCo made a statement saying “We can confirm that regular Pepsi and Pepsi Max are suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Diet Pepsi is only suitable for vegetarians as it contains traces of ingredients that are not suitable for people following a vegan diet.” They did not reveal the non-vegan ingredient in diet-Pepsi.

While these sodas are considered vegan according to their ingredients list, keep in mind that the larger corporations producing these products are not always vegan-friendly. Coca Cola for example which also produces Sprite, uses animal product derivatives in some of their other products. When determining which products to buy, you may want to consider researching a brand as a whole to find out whether it promotes humane animal treatment or not.

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Interested in joining the dairy-free and meatless train? We highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest plant-based recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals, and get healthy! And, while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet.

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