It could be a sign of our age, but many reading this will not remember this drink growing up. Known for a quick burst of energy, they are all the rage now, but are Monster Energy Drinks vegan? The answer is that the original line is.
However, there are plenty of exceptions which is why we are going to take a closer look.
They have 5 main lines to consider, which are made up of the following:
- Monster Energy (Original Line)
- Monster Hydro
- Monster Java
- Juice Monster
- Monster Ultra
We’re going to start with the original line, Monster Energy, here are the ingredients:
Carbonated Water, Sucrose, Glucose Syrup, Acid (Citric Acid), Natural Flavourings, Taurine (0.4%), Acidity Regulator (Sodium Citrate), Panax Ginseng Root Extract (0.08%), L-Carnitine L-Tartrate (0.04%), Caffeine (0.03%), Preservatives (Sorbic Acid, Benzoic Acid), Colour (Anthocyanins), Vitamins (B2, B3, B6, B12), Sodium Chloride, D-Glucuronolactone, Guarana Seed Extract (0.002%), Inositol, Sweetener (Sucralose)
As we expected, there are a lot of ingredients that are near impossible to pronounce, but are they vegan? Although likely to be plant-based, there are some questionable ingredients:
This is an issue for many vegans because it has a very broad meaning. Even the FDA describes natural flavors in the following way:
which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional.
This general overview means brands do not need to be specific and an ingredient could be derived from animals or plants.
L-Taurine and L-Carnitine
These amino acids are often found in red meat but because they can be synthesized cheaply, most taurine is vegan.
Plus, Monster Energy has confirmed that their Taurine is vegan.
Although these are plant-based, their inclusion is a matter of ethics. Red 40 and Yellow 5 are two of the most common artificial colors used in beverages and confectionary items which is quite alarming.
This is because they are routinely tested on animals. Red 40 has been tested on cattle and rodents in the last few years. Rats have been forced to digest large quantities of Red 40, and then euthanized after.
Because of this, many vegans will not go near a product that contains Red 40.
Is Monster Java Vegan?
The traditional version of Monster Jaza contains reduced-fat milk, making it nonvegan. However, there is a new version available in North America called Java Monster Farmers Oats.
It is made with oat milk to make it fine for a plant-based diet and it is even described as a vegan.
Is Juice Monster Vegan?
Yes, all flavors can be considered vegan, but not by everyone.
The questionable ingredients may not be so obvious.
Here are the ingredients for the Pineapple Punch version which is similar to the others:
Carbonated Water, Sugar, Glucose, Apple Juice Concentrate, Orange Juice Concentrate, Taurine, Citric Acid, Guava Puree, Panax Ginseng Extract, Sodium Citrate, Potassium Sorbate, Caffeine, Gum Arabic, Maltodextrin, Sodium Benzoate, Sucralose, Natural Flavors, Pineapple Juice Concentrate, Passionfruit Juice Concentrate, Niacinamide, Ester Gum, L-Carnitine L- Tartrate, Salt, Inositol, D-Glucuronolactone, Guarana Extract, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, RED#40, Cyanocobalamin and contains 16% juice.
Why might a vegan avoid this version? Sugar.
The sugar content may be a tricky ingredient for some. This is because many US brands use bone char to decolorize their sugar. Made from the charred bones of cattle and pigs, it is used to bleach sugar to make it a more desirable white.
Although there is no trace of it in the sugar, many vegans will avoid foods that use this method.
It can be difficult to see if a brand is using it or not because they do not need to disclose such information on the food label. The easiest way to be sure s to opt for products that use organic sugar, or sugar made from beets or coconut.
Is Monster Hydro Vegan?
For most people following a plant-based diet, these can be considered vegan. The ingredients of their different flavors are close to the following which is taken from the Blue Streak ingredients label:
Purified Water, Glucose, Erythritol, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Natural Flavor, L-leucine, Monopotassium Phosphate, Calcium Lactate, L-isoleucine, L-valine, Caffeine, Magnesium Citrate, Sucralose, Niacinamide (Vit. B3), Inositol, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vit. B6), Blue 1.
Is Monster Ultra Vegan?
Yea it is. But not everywhere. The US version is fine for a vegan to consume, but the UK recipe contains Carmine.
This is made from cochineal beetles. A common food dye, crushed beetles may be in your Monster Drink if you buy it from Europe, so be wary!
If you are unsure about drinking anything from the Monster brand, here are some vegan-friendly alternatives:
ASPIRE Raspberry Açai Energy Drink
Using natural caffeine and vegan-friendly ingredients, this is a good option that doesn’t have a long list of chemicals.
The ingredients make for pleasant reading:
Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Biotin, Calcium D Pantothenate (B5), Niacin (B3), Green Tea, Guarana Seed Extract, L-carnitine, Ginger Root, Natural Flavor, Taurine, Natural Caffeine, Sucralose, Carbonated Water, Citric Acid, Fruit and Vegetable Juice for Color, Sodium Citrate, Choline Bitartrate, Malic Acid, Calcium Lactate.
Ethans Organic Energy Drink – Blueberry
Full of organic ingredients and energy enhancing without copious amounts of caffeine, this is a kinder approach to an energy drink.
The ingredients are as follows:
Organic guayusa extract, organic cordyceps mushroom extract, organic lions mane mushroom extract, organic pomegranate juice, organic blueberry juice, water, organic xylitol, organic lemon juice, organic stevia.
Whilst there are several products that seem vegan-friendly from Monster Energy, the company themselves admit they are not certified vegan.
They say they do not use animal-derived ingredients, but we know that doesn’t always tell the whole story.