Is Gelatin Vegetarian? (If Not, WHY?)

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Can vegetarians eat gelatin

Food FAQs


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Unfortunately, millions of vegetarians and vegans out there could be using animal commodities without knowing it; this is because the list of gelatin products seems to be multiplying every day.

Gelatin is brittle when dry and rubbery when moist – and for cooking, gelatin either comes as powder granules or sheets. But is gelatin vegetarian, or do they have to look for a substitute?

No, gelatin is not vegetarian and is not suitable for vegans because it’s usually made from animal products.

What Is Gelatin?

Gelatin is a translucent, colorless and flavorless food ingredient derived from collagen taken from animal parts.

It is a protein obtained from collagen, which is the most abundant protein found in all mammals’ skin, hair, nails, ligaments and even tendons.

Taking gelatin can improve the collagen make-up in the body, making bones stronger.

Gelatin is usually gotten by boiling skin, ligaments, tendons, and/or bones with water. It is generally gotten from cows or pigs.

Is Gelatin Vegetarian?

Gelatin is not vegan since the process of making gelatin begins by boiling collagen containing animal body parts mostly from animals like cows, pigs and buffalos.

However, there is a product called “agar-agar” which is marketed as “gelatin” but is vegan.  It is derived from a type of seaweed.

Why Is Gelatin Not Vegetarian?

Is Gelatin Vegetarian

Gelatin is made from animal bones. An animal is butchered, and then its bone is collected and crushed and is used to make gelatin.

Sometimes fish is used to make gelatin (kosher gelatin) since it comes from animals; gelatin is considered non- vegetarians.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can vegetarians eat gelatin?

Vegetarians cannot consume gelatin as it is made from parts of animals. Since the raw material for gelatin is animal body parts, and the application is not necessary for survival, it makes gelatin a non-vegan substance.

Can vegetarians eat gummy bears?

Vegetarians don’t consume gummy bears because these candies have gelatin in them, and since gelatin is made from meat, these candies are not vegetarian friendly. But that doesn’t wholly mean there’s no other way.

Some vegetarian-friendly gummy bears include;

  • Annie’s organic bunny fruits snacks
  • Surfs sweet organic fruity bar
  • Kanibi organic gummies
  • Smart sweet vegan sweet fish
  • Yum earth gummy bears and lots more

Are Animals killed for gelatin?

Animals are not killed explicitly for gelatin. Gelatin is made from decaying animal hides, boiled crushed bones, and hides and skin connective tissues. Gelatin is more like a by-product when the animal is killed either for its hides or skin, or when it needs to be euthanized.

Is agar agar the same as gelatin?

Agar-agar is a mix of carbohydrates extracted from seaweed, specifically red sea algae. It is considered the best substitute for gelatin as it is made from a plant source rather than an animal one.

Gelatin most times gives a creamy texture, while agar-agar gives a firmer one as it is much more powerful than gelatin because a teaspoon of agar is equivalent to 8 teaspoons of gelatin.

Agar can be found in the natural food section of any supermarket around you, healthy food stores, Asian groceries and even online. 

Is there gelatin in marshmallows?

A typical marshmallow contains sugar, corn syrup, gelatin, plus some air. Therefore, a vegetarian cannot consume marshmallows except if they go the extra miles in shopping for some vegetarian marshmallows like:

  • Yumallo vegan marshmallows
  • Dandies vegan mini marshmallows
  • Not guilty Marilyn mallows
  • Ananda’s coconut marshmallow

And even much more.

Is there gelatin in starburst?

Yes, starburst is pork-gelatin packed, making it not fit for a vegetarian.

Does ice cream have gelatin in it?

Yes, it does; although it is not used extensively as it once was before, gelatin is used in a few cases as stabilizers and also used to give it a soft texture and fresh appearance. The type of gelatin used in this case is commercial gelatin and fish gelatin at 0.1 – 0.5 concentrations.


While on a lookout for candies, as a vegetarian, be extremely careful because some candies may contain a tiny amount of gelatin. Some other candies that contain gelatin include; candy corn, gummy worms, red candies and lots more.

You could carry out a little more research on brands of either gummy bears or ice creams that do not contain gelatin and do well to consume those instead!

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