There is a misconception that a vegan diet may not provide enough vitamins and minerals. Whether it is true or not, this Coca-Cola-owned beverage sounds like a health kick, but is Vitamin Water vegan? The answer is yes.
However, there are questions to be asked about the various flavors, and we are going to take a closer look to find out more.
Vitamin Water Ingredients
The two main varieties are regular and zero sugar. There are different flavors for both, but we are going to start by taking a look at the following ingredient profile to start:
Refresh Tropical Mango
Reverse osmosis water, crystalline fructose, less than 1% of cane sugar, vitamins C, B3, B5, B6, B12, E (ascorbic acid, niacinamide, calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, cyanocobalamin, alpha-tocopheryl acetate), electrolytes (calcium and magnesium lactate and potassium phosphate), natural flavors, citric acid, lycopene and β-Apo-8′-carotenal (color)
There are some problematic ingredients, namely cane sugar, and natural flavors.
Because most brands are lapse when it comes to revealing how their sugar is processed, there is always a risk that a product is not vegan.
In the world of snacks and soft drinks, a lot of sugar processed in the US is decolorized using bone char. This process involves using the charred bones of cattle or pigs to bleach sugar, making it a more desirable white.
It raises questions of ethics, and the bones are imported into the US. When asked, many companies will say that their sugar comes from numerous distributors, making it difficult to determine whether or not their sugar is vegan-friendly.
These are problematic because they can be derived from both animals and plants. Brands are allowed to hide beneath the blanket term of natural flavors because the FDA has a loose definition:
“The term artificial flavor or artificial flavoring means any substance, the function of which is to impart flavor, which is not derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof.”
This gives brands a free pass, making it difficult to determine which type they use.
The ingredients here are problematic for a different reason than just sugar (although there is plenty of that).
reverse osmosis water, crystalline fructose, cane sugar, less than 0.5% of vitamins C, B3, B5, B6, B12 (ascorbic acid, niacinamide, calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, cyanocobalamin), electrolytes (calcium and magnesium lactate, potassium phosphate), citric acid, gum acacia, natural flavors, glycerol ester of rosin, stevia leaf extract, caffeine, guarana seed extract, beta carotene (for color)
It is the glycerol ester of rosin that makes it a questionable product for a vegan. It is used to keep oils in suspension in water and can be derived from animal fats as well as plant-based sources.
The fact that we cannot tell which is used makes this another version that is hard to label as vegan.
Zero Sugar Revive Fruit Punch
This product contains the same ingredients you may wish to avoid, including glycerol ester of rosin, and natural flavors although they have taken sugar out of the recipe. The ingredients are as follows:
REVERSE OSMOSIS WATER, LESS THAN 1% OF: ERYTHRITOL, MONO-POTASSIUM PHOSPHATE, AND DI-POTASSIUM PHOSPHATE AND MAGNESIUM LACTATE AND CALCIUM LACTATE (ELECTROLYTE SOURCES), CITRIC ACID, VITAMIN C (ASCORBIC ACID), FRUIT AND VEGETABLE JUICE (COLOR), STEVIA LEAF EXTRACT, NATURAL FLAVORS, VITAMIN B3 (NIACINAMIDE), VITAMIN B5 (CALCIUM PANTOTHENATE), GUM ACACIA, GLYCEROL ESTER OF ROSIN, VITAMIN B6 (PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE), VITAMIN B12 (CYANOCOBALAMIN)
Having taken a look at numerous ingredient profiles for different flavors, we haven’t stumbled across this, but their website does confirm that some versions of Glaciers Vitamin Water may contain Vitamin D that is non-vegan.
“Some variants from the Glaceau Vitamin Water range contain vitamin D and this may be sourced from lanolin in sheep’s wool meaning that they also may not be suitable for vegans.”
This is a common issue, but the information may be a little dated now as we cannot see any evidence of it.
Why Some Vitamin Water Is Vegan
Although not every version is vegan, Coca-Cola has confirmed that many of their drinks are suitable for vegans, bar a handful of products in Great Britain.
They state “The vast majority of our drinks, including Coca‑Cola, are suitable for vegetarians and vegans as they do not contain any animal derivatives.
The following drinks are not free from animal derivatives and therefore may be unsuitable for vegetarians and vegans.”
These drinks include Glaceau Vitaminwater Zero Sunshine and Multi V.
There are also details for their vegan drinks in Australia, but so far, it is difficult to find such confirmation for North America.
We are a big fan of openness as many brands fail to recognize the importance from a vegan viewpoint.
How Is Vitamin Water Made?
With a blend of c and b vitamins, it is fortified with electrolytes to make it a sports-style beverage. The flavors we looked closely at containing GMO crops and there is plenty of sugar in a lot of these drinks.
You may be mistaken for believing these are healthy drinks. Still, they do provide a vitamin hit, and numerous people have contacted the company directly, and have confirmation that their drinks are vegan.
Still, there is nothing on the label to confirm this, so their standards of what makes an ingredient vegan friendly might be different.
It is a similar story that many beans may choose to drink vitamin water because their ingredients are not confirmed as being non-vegan.
Whilst many people will be cautious about consuming Vitamin Water, we found most of their ingredient profiles to be fine.
It is another example of how a transparent supply chain will help make the vegan journey easier.