Is Mountain Dew Vegan?

Many people’s favorite soda might not be so good for them in certain ways. But for those who follow a plant-based diet, the main question will be, is Mountain Dew vegan? The answer is yes, but it’s complicated.

As always, it will depend on how strict your vegan ethics are, as there are problematic ingredients, and a variety of flavors to consider. Time to take a closer look.

Mountain Dew Ingredients

It is difficult to explain the taste of Mountain Dew to someone else. It is distinctive, and could be labeled as “fruity.” Still, there are numerous artificial ingredients in each of the flavors, but let’s start by looking at the ingredient profile of the “original” version.

(CARBONATED WATER, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, CONCENTRATED ORANGE JUICE, CITRIC ACID, NATURAL FLAVORS, SODIUM BENZOATE (PRESERVES FRESHNESS), CAFFEINE, SODIUM CITRATE, ERYTHORBIC ACID (PRESERVES FRESHNESS), GUM ARABIC, CALCIUM DISODIUM EDTA (TO PROTECT FLAVOR), BROMINATED VEGETABLE OIL, YELLOW 5.)

There is nothing that is made from animal-derived ingredients, but this doesn’t mean it is off the hook. As a vegan, here are some of the ingredients that are cause for concern:

Artificial Colors

A problem for any vegan, these ingredients have a long history of animal testing. Because they are made from a byproduct of petroleum, many would instantly believe they are vegan. Although they are not made from animal-derived ingredients, there is still the question of ethics that many vegans cannot ignore.

For most people, it is a matter of opinion so the inclusion of Yellow 5 won’t be problematic for many. It has been linked to causing hyperactivity in children and is still tested on animals so many vegans will avoid it.

Natural Flavors

Again, this can be sourced from both plants and animals. Because Mountain Dew does not specify, it is down to the consumer to speculate. For a vegan, this can be problematic.

Glycerol Ester of Wood Rosin (Ester Gum)

This is included in some Mountain Dew varieties and is usually derived from animal fat as this is the most common way it is obtained. There is a chance that it can be plant-based, but the fact that it is more economical for companies to use the animal-derived version certainly raises some questions.

Are All Mountain Dew Flavors Vegan?

We could take a closer look at every ingredient list, but with so many available that contain similar ingredients, it is unnecessary.

There are no animal-derived ingredients in any of the Mountain Dew flavors, although the problem ingredients include different artificial colors.

These include Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Blue 1, Again, they are derived from byproducts of petroleum and are not animal-derived but the question of ethics concerning animal testing remains.

Is Diet Mountain Dew Vegan?

With a similar ingredient profile to the original flavor, there is nothing different to concern a vegan. The same ingredients might be problematic, and are as follows:

CARBONATED WATER CONCENTRATED ORANGE JUICE, CITRIC ACID, NATURAL FLAVOR, CITRUS PECTIN, POTASSIUM BENZOATE (PRESERVES FRESHNESS), ASPARTAME, POTASSIUM CITRATE, CAFFEINE, SODIUM CITRATE, ACESULFAME POTASSIUM, SUCRALOSE, GUM ARABIC, SODIUM BENZOATE (PRESERVES FRESHNESS), CALCIUM DISODIUM EDTA (TO PROTECT FLAVOR), YELLOW 5.

This version does however contain sucralose which is a sweetener, and a substitute to sugar that was tested on thousands of animals. Again, it is not animal-derived, but some issues make it potentially non-vegan.

How Is Mountain Dew Made?

It is made with the same process as other soda products, combining dry ingredients to make a syrup before mixing this with water and carbonating them via a soda siphon with food-grade carbon dioxide. 

Next, it is bottled and stored before being packaged and sent out to distributors around the world.

Vegan Alternatives

The unique blend of ingredients in Mountain Dew does make it a bit of a one-of-a-kind, but vegan brands are making fizzy alternatives. 

Here are some of the best:

IZZE Sparkling Juice

With a variety of flavors, there are no added sugar or preservatives to worry about. Made from 70% fruit juice, the ingredients list makes for vegan-friendly reading:

SPARKLING WATER, APPLE JUICE CONCENTRATE, GRAPE JUICE CONCENTRATE, NATURAL FLAVOR, BLACKBERRY JUICE CONCENTRATE, RASPBERRY JUICE CONCENTRATE, CITRIC ACID, ACEROLA JUICE CONCENTRATE, ASCORBIC ACID (VITAMIN C), NIACINAMIDE, PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B6)

New Wave Sparkling Soda Water Sweetened with Real Fruit Juice

With caffeine, this is a little closer to Mountain Dew but is completely vegan. There are 6 grams of sugar from fruit and no artificial flavors or colors.

Sparkling water, tangerine juice concentrate, pear juice concentrate, lemon juice concentrate, ascorbic acid, caffeine, natural flavor, beta-carotene (color)

Final Word

With some questionable ingredients, some will say that Mountain Dew is not vegan. However, none of the ingredients is animal-derived, so it is down to the individual.

There are vegan alternatives available, but these are not close to the taste of the popular thirst quencher.