Are Pop Rocks Vegan 2023? All Flavors Analyzed

Pop Rocks are a candy that has been around since the mid-1970s, right up to the present day. This product has enjoyed its popularity for being a unique popping candy. Most people may or may not remember the story of the little kid, who had their stomach blown apart. As the story goes, a little boy ate 5 packs of Pop Rocks and drank a can of Coke! As you might have guessed, the story was an early 70’s hoax that made this candy infamous. So, are Pop Rocks vegan?

Pop Rocks are not vegan. They contain lactose, which is derived from milk. Some questionable ingredients such as sugar and artificial colors can also be found in Pop Rocks.

Below is a table of all Pop Rocks Flavors and its vegan status.

FlavorVegan Status
Pop Rocks Original CherryNo, contains Lactose.
Pop Rocks StrawberryNo, contains Lactose.
Pop Rocks WatermelonNo, contains Lactose.
Pop Rocks TropicalNo, contains Lactose.
Pop Rocks Blue RazzNo, contains Lactose.
Pop Rocks MultipackNo, contains Lactose.
Pop Rocks Cotton CandyNo, contains Lactose.
Pop Rocks GrapeNo, contains Lactose.
Pop Rocks ChocolateNo, contains Lactose.
Pop Rocks ExtremeNo, contains Lactose.
Pop Rocks Green AppleNo, contains Lactose.
Pop Rocks Sugar-FreeNo, contains Lactose.
Pop Rocks Dips Sour StrawberryNo, contains Lactose.
Pop Rocks Dips Blue RaspberryNo, contains Lactose.
Pop Rocks Dips Sour AppleNo, contains Lactose.

Let’s delve into the ingredients of Pop Rocks to confirm why they aren’t vegan.

What Are Pop Rocks?

Pop Rocks Cotton Candy Explosion

Pop Rocks are small crumb-sized granules of highly entertaining candy that pops in your mouth. The colors appear to be neon-like and come in all sorts of fizzing and popping flavors.

Pop Rocks is created using pressurized Carbon Dioxide and rapid spinning while sugary mixtures are heated to 295 degrees Fahrenheit.

After this is finished, the mixing vessel is depressurized and the candy mixture shatters. This results in carbon dioxide granules that are then packaged and sold.

Pop rocks have only two factories in the world with one main factory in the US and one in Spain.

Among the flavors they create, these include a wide variety of new additions and seasonal releases.

  • Pop Rocks Original Cherry
  • Pop Rocks Strawberry
  • Pop Rocks Watermelon
  • Pop Rocks Tropical
  • Pop Rocks Blue Razz
  • Pop Rocks Multipack
  • Pop Rocks Cotton Candy
  • Pop Rocks Grape
  • Pop Rocks Chocolate
  • Pop Rocks Extreme
  • Pop Rocks Green Apple
  • Pop Rocks Sugar-Free
  • Pop Rocks Dips Sour Strawberry
  • Pop Rocks Dips Blue Raspberry
  • Pop Rocks Dips Sour Apple

Pop Rocks Ingredients

Pop Rocks Original Cheery Candy with white background

Sugar, Lactose, Corn syrup, Artificial flavor, Artificial colors: Red #40, Blue #1, Yellow #5, Gum base (Soy), Maltodextrin, Citric Acid, BHT Antioxidant, Malic acid, Lactic acid, Processed with carbon dioxide, and Cream of tartar (potassium salt of tartaric acid)

Questionable ingredients

As you can see, Pop Rocks does have some very suspicious ingredients that will be examined here. The first three listed here are very important in this case…


The main ingredient in Pop Rocks is sugar and is the stable of any candy ingredient. Since there are only two factories in the world that make this candy it’s easier to track their sugar usage.

As far as candy making is concerned, only refined sugar is used for making commercially sold candy. This is so colorization is less of a burden for adding highly attractive colors to a clear sugar mixture.

If both of these factories are using refined sugar (which is most likely), then Pop Rocks cannot be considered Vegan-friendly.

Lactose (sugar lactose)

This is a type of sugar that is created from dairy products such as milk. The lactose is extracted from the milk through a chemical process and white lactose crystals are the final product. With that being said, this is not a Vegan or Vegetarian product.

Lactic Acid

Among the many materials that go into making Lactic acid include different types of sugar crystals. These can include beet sugar or cane sugar or a mixture of the two.

There is no way of knowing how much is used or what the percentage in these formulas happens to be.

As these powders are white, it goes to say that processed cane sugar is being used. This would make lactic acid non-vegan or vegetarian-friendly.

Artificial Flavors

As there are no added fruits to make Pop Rocks, all of the flavors come from artificial flavors. This is different than natural flavors but in a way is similar. By definition, artificial flavor must be derived from plants or animals.

With so many flavors such as strawberry, watermelon, green apple, and grape it can be difficult to tell what’s used.

Whether these artificial flavors are derived from plant or animal is seldom revealed. It has been common in the past that some essential oils and scents from animals are used for creating select fruity flavors. It’s uncertain for the case of Pop Rocks but has yet to be proved otherwise.

Artificial Colors

All of the colors listed here including Red #40, Blue #1, Yellow #5, are continually tested on animals. Namely, it’s testing skincare products or makeup that has coloring in it.

The ethical question that comes to mind is terrible for the fact that animals are being exploited from these colors. Yellow #5 in particular has a serious side effect for animals and people including swollen and rash-like itchy skin.

These can be considered non-Vegan also.

BHT Antioxidant

BHT is used as an antioxidant for all sorts of products. Recently, the cereal company General Mills decided to remove this ingredient from kid’s cereals. They didn’t give a reason but some studies claim that it’s linked to cancer.

It did cause cancer in rat studies but within an organ that people don’t have. Despite being banned in Europe and the UK it’s considered safe to use in the US. Oddly enough, the Pop Rocks factory in Spain adds this ingredient.

Citric Acid

As you might already know, citric acid is largely produced in China. They are using GMO ingredients to produce this additive. As this can be considered skeptical in most cases, the Vegan and Vegetarian community is divided over GMO products.

It may or may not be considered vegan-friendly due to the usage of GMOs and the ethics behind their production.

Q & A

Pop Rocks Watermelon Popping Candy

Are Pop Rocks Vegetarian?

I would say that Pop Rocks are not vegetarian because the ingredients include artificial flavoring, artificial colors and the sugar might be refined cane sugar.

Are Pop Rocks Gluten-free?

Yes, they are and the company says this directly on their website in the FAQs.

Are Pop Rocks Healthy?

Not at all since most of the key ingredient is sugar. There’s nothing wrong with gas infused sugar since carbon dioxide is harmless. But too much sugar is bad for your general health.

Processed sugar that’s treated with bone char is certainly not healthy from an ethical point of view. Bone char is made from animal bones and helps make refined sugar appear whiter.

Does Pop Rocks Contain GMOs?

Pop Rocks does contain citric acid which is made using GMOs produced in China. This country is the largest producer of this additive which makes up over 70% of the world’s usage.

Our conclusion

Pop Rocks is sadly not Vegan because of these ingredients that it’s using to make this product. Their website does a fine job listing that it doesn’t include nuts, fish, shellfish, eggs, or gluten.

It’s very open about listing that their product contains lactose. This makes it easier for vegans to spot, however, I hope this quick guide helped you.

Recent Posts