Is Sprite Vegan? [All Flavors Analyzed]

I remember when I first went vegan, it was pretty confusing to figure out what ingredients were actually vegan. Sodas like Sprite contain so many chemical names like “sodium benzoate” and “sodium citrate.” Is Sprite actually vegan?

Sprite is generally considered vegan. It contains only six ingredients, none of which are derived from animals. In addition, Sprite Zero Sugar and the other Sprite flavors are generally considered vegan.

Below, I’ll break down the source of each ingredient in Sprite. I’ll also cover any “borderline” non-vegan concerns in all the flavors. As you’ll see, the most “iffy” issues are with the Sprite Lymonade flavor.

Breaking Down the Ingredients of Sprite

The original flavor of Sprite actually only has 6 ingredients. Five of them are definitely vegan, and the sixth ingredient is almost certainly vegan, as well. Let’s take a look:

  • Carbonated Water: Vegan. This is just water and carbon dioxide bubbles. Nothing animal-based here!
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup: Vegan. Unlike some cane sugar that gets filtered through animal bone char, high-fructose corn syrup is a 100% vegan type of sugar, as confirmed by the Vegetarian Resource Group (VRG).
  • Citric Acid: Vegan. Oddly enough, citric acid today is produced from black mold. Sugar is involved to feed the mold, but it’s generally all vegan sugar. Nothing even borderline here.
  • Natural Flavors: Probably Vegan. This term can be legally used to refer to flavors of plant or animal origin. But in the case of a lemon-lime soda, we would suspect it to be fruit-based.
  • Sodium Citrate: Vegan. This is just a salt of citric acid (listed above). You get it by reacting citric acid (which is vegan) together with sodium hydroxide (also vegan). Nothing bad here.
  • Sodium Benzoate: Vegan. This is a very common food preservative that I wrote a whole separate post about. But it’s just the sodium salt of benzoic acid, made with sodium hydroxide. Again, nothing fishy here.

Now let’s look through the other Sprite flavors and see if there’s anything else to be worried about.

Is Sprite Zero Vegan?

Sprite Zero Sugar is sweetened with aspartame and acesulfame potassium, rather than high-fructose corn syrup. It also includes a slightly different mix of other ingredients. Are any of these a cause for concern?

Sprite Zero Sugar is generally considered vegan. It contains no ingredients derived from animals. Here are the ingredients in Sprite Zero Sugar that we didn’t already cover in original Sprite above:

  • Potassium Citrate: Vegan. This is another salt of citric acid, just like sodium citrate that we mentioned above. It’s made with citric acid and potassium hydroxide. No animal ingredients involved.
  • Potassium Benzoate: Vegan. This is another salt of benzoic acid, to be used as a preservative—similar to the sodium benzoate above. Again, this is fine.
  • Aspartame: Vegan. This is an artificial sweetener. Although it’s possible to make aspartame using kidney enzymes from pigs, that’s not how it’s done today. It’s made from phenylalanine and aspartic acid, neither of which are from animals. Read more in this blog post.
  • Acesulfame Potassium: Vegan. This is another artificial sweetener. It’s another potassium salt with acetoacetic acid—no animal ingredients involved. (source)

Now let’s take a quick look at other Sprite flavors and what they contain.

More Sprite Flavors

The following flavors are less common, but I wanted to cover them for the sake of completeness.

Sprite Ginger

Sprite Ginger is considered vegan, as it contains no ingredients derived from animals. As you can see, all the ingredients are ones we already covered above:

Ingredients: “Carbonated Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Natural Flavors, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Benzoate (To Protect Taste).” (source)

Sprite Ginger Zero

Sprite Ginger Zero is considered vegan, as it contains no ingredients derived from animals. As you can see, all the ingredients are ones we already covered above:

Ingredients: “Carbonated Water, Less Than 2% Of:Citric Acid, Potassium Citrate, Natural Flavors, Potassium Benzoate (To Protect Taste), Aspartame, Acesulfame Potassium.” (source)

Sprite Cherry

Sprite Cherry is considered vegan, as it contains no ingredients derived from animals. As you can see, all the ingredients are ones we already covered above:

Ingredients: “Carbonated Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Citric Acid, Natural Flavors, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Benzoate (To Protect Taste).” (source)

Sprite Cherry Zero Sugar

Sprite Cherry Zero Sugar is considered vegan, as it contains no ingredients derived from animals. As you can see, all the ingredients are ones we already covered above:

Ingredients: “Carbonated Water, Less Than 2% Of: Citric Acid, Potassium Citrate, Natural Flavors, Potassium Benzoate (To Protect Taste), Aspartame, Acesulfame Potassium.” (source)

Sprite Lymonade

Sprite Lymonade is generally considered vegan, as it contains no ingredients derived from animals. However, unlike some of the other Sprite flavors, there are some different ingredients in this drink:

Ingredients: “Carbonated Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Clarified Lemon Juice From Concentrate, Citric Acid, Natural Flavors, Sodium Benzoate (To Protect Taste), Sodium Citrate, Potassium Sorbate (To Protect Taste), Modified Food Starch, Glycerol Ester Of Rosin, Yellow 5.” (source)

So, if you’re paying attention, the extra ingredients in Sprite Lymonade are the following: Clarified Lemon Juice From Concentrate, Potassium Sorbate, Modified Food Starch, Glycerol Ester of Rosin, and Yellow 5.

I’ve covered Potassium Sorbate and Yellow 5 on this blog before. Both are generally considered vegan, although some strict vegans may object to Yellow 5 due to ongoing animal testing concerns.

The only other suspicious ingredient here is Glycerol Ester of Rosin. The “glycerol” part is where you might be concerned. Glycerol can be made from animal fat or plant sources like soybean oil. However, VRG lists it as “Typically Vegan,” so I don’t worry about it too much.

Sprite Tropical Mix

Sprite Tropical Mix is considered vegan, as it contains no ingredients derived from animals. As you can see, all the ingredients are ones we already covered above:

Ingredients: “Carbonated Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Citric Acid, Natural Flavors, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Benzoate.” (source)

Sprite Winter Spiced Cranberry

Sprite Winter Spiced Cranberry is considered vegan, as it contains no ingredients derived from animals. As you can see, all the ingredients are ones we already covered above:

Ingredients: “Carbonated Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Natural Flavors, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Benzoate (To Protect Taste).” (source)

Two More Recommendations for Your Vegan Journey

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