Is Soda Vegan? Or Is There No Such Thing As Plant-Based Pop?

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, which could result in us receiving a small commission if you make a purchase. This will not affect the price you pay, but it does help us maintain the site and keep the information you’re reading free of charge (learn more). Any quoted prices, features, specifications etc. are correct at the time of writing, but please do check for yourself before buyingThank you so much for supporting Happy Happy Vegan!

Is soda vegan? At first glance, when you’re reading the label on a can of that carbonated meal companion, it sure seems to be. After all, it’s not like there are pork chops in your Pepsi! But this question isn’t as silly as it might seem.

Animal products sure can be sneaky, and a lot of the ingredients on the back of those labels can be hard enough to pronounce, much less decipher.

So, is soda vegan? What about diet soda? What kinds of vegan beverages, vegan soft drinks, and vegan sodas are out there? We’ll dive into all of those questions in this article, and I’m sure you’ll emerge with the confidence to choose your can of carbonation.

What is soda exactly?

Soda generally refers to carbonated water that has been mixed with a sweetener as well as some sort of flavoring. Preservatives are also often used, in order to maintain freshness and extend shelf life. Caffeine is another common additive to soda.

Fun fact: Coca-Cola used to actually be cocaine based. That’s right, cocaine was the main stimulant used in the popular soft drink.

The “coca” in the name actually stands for the coca plant, the source of cocaine. The company changed the recipe in 1902, after pressure from the FDA. (1)

Caffeine then became the main stimulant in their soft drink, although it was present in the recipe before. That’s where the second half of the name comes from, as the original caffeine-providing ingredient was the kola nut.

Now you know!

If you’re interested in seeing how Coca-Cola is made, check out this video:

Is soda vegan?

Let’s dive into the big question right away. Is soda vegan, or isn’t it?

A look at the Irish Coca-Cola website tells us that some sodas are definitely not, but there’s no corresponding page for the US. The Irish page states:

“All of our Coca‑Cola and Schweppes brands are the same in that they contain no milk, no eggs, nor any products derived from mammals.

“If you’re a vegan or a vegetarian, you should know that a few of our drinks do contain small traces of fish gelatine (which is used as a stabiliser for the beta-carotene colour). These drinks are Lilt, Lilt Zero, Kia-Ora Orange Squash No Added Sugar and Schweppes Orange Squash.” (2)

Joshua Cuellar emailed Coke to ask for a definitive list of which sodas are and are not vegan. Essentially the answer is that most of them are. (3)

However some of the juices produced by Coca-Cola such as the Ruby Red Grapefruit Drink contain cochineal, a red dye made from crushed beetle shell, and some other juices contain dairy. If a juice contains cochineal or dairy it will be listed on the label. (4)

Assortment of vegan soda bottles against a white background

One more thing to note, however, is that some juice products from the company contain vitamin D3 that is derived from lanolin, which is in turn often derived from sheep’s wool.

Another noteworthy point is that it is in fact common practice in the juice supplier industry to clarify grape juice in a process that utilizes gelatin derived from bovine skin (see is jello vegan friendly for more on this disgusting ingredient). (5)

Then there’s the whole bone char and sugar issue, too.

All this is to say that, depending on how strict you would like your veganism to be, there is a little bit more to the question than just whether soda is vegan or not. Also, you’ve gotta keep an eye on your juices! (Although fresh squeezed is always the best option for juice drinking anyway, or powdered wheatgrass if you’re feeling brave!)

It’s important to note that I don’t advocate drinking soda at all, regardless of whether it’s vegan or not. There are tales on the internet of Coca-Cola being an effective drain cleaner, or very adept at cleaning the gunk off of an old, nasty penny.

Do you really want drain cleaner in your body?

What about diet soda? Is that vegan?

glasses of different iced vegan soft drink beverages

Let’s look at one example of a diet soda (and arguably the most popular example) – Diet Coke. The ingredients listed on the Coca-Cola website are carbonated water, sweeteners such as acesulfame K and aspartame, caramel color e150d, caffeine, and citric and phosphoric acids.

Taken individually, all of these ingredients are, in fact, vegan.

One thing to watch out for is the use of ester gum in sodas. This additive is often used as a food stabilizer, and it contains glycerol which can be derived from animal sources.

Another thing to take into consideration is that just because a company produces products that are technically vegan, that doesn’t mean that they are producing them in a manner that truly adheres to vegan morals and standards. That brings me to my next point…

What kinds of vegan beverage options are out there?

When I say vegan beverage options, or vegan soft drinks, or vegan sodas, or whatever you are looking for here, I’m referring to products that are not only technically vegan but are also produced in a manner that keeps vegan principles in mind. Luckily there are plenty of companies worldwide that have devoted themselves to creating delicious all natural and vegan soft drinks!

Probably the hottest of them all at the moment, however, is Zevia. Zevia has taken the plant-based world by storm since its inception way back in 2007, and they’re showing no signs of slowing down.

Even everyone’s favorite vegan-hater Joe Rogan is drinking the stuff!

Zevia have got loads different flavors to choose from, so finding the right one for you might take a little trial and error.

Luckily, there a solution…you can now pick up a Rainbow Variety Pack, which contains two cans of each flavor: Cola, Ginger Root Beer, Ginger Ale, Cream Soda, Grape, Black Cherry, Lemon Lime Twist, Orange, Mountain Zevia, Dr. Zevia, Caffeine Free Cola, and Grapefruit Citrus from Amazon.

Another firm favorite is Culture Pop Sparkling Probiotic Soda.

The dazzling flavors will no doubt have some of you raising a suspicious eyebrow, but you’re going to have to trust us on this one and take the plunge…you really won’t regret it.

Like Zevia, they have a variety pack to give you a taste of each.

Here’s what you’ll get: pink grapefuit with ginger and juniper, ginger lemon with turmeric, orange mango with chili and lime, wild berries with basil and lime, and last, but by no means least, watermelon with lime and raspberry.

Despite it’s live cultures, Culture Pop’s sodas are shelf stable, which means you don’t have to keep them in the refrigerator all the time. The convenience of this can’t be overstated when you’re fridge is packed out with plants! Oh, and there’s only 40 calories in each can.


There are plenty of other vegan beverages and vegan soft drinks out there – just keep your eyes peeled! Sneaky no-no ingredients on the label that you need to watch out for include cochineal and ester gum.

Which Of The Giant Soda Brands Are Vegan?

Here’s a rundown of the top soda brands and their vegan status:

Is Coca-Cola Vegan?

Yes, Coca-Cola original is vegan.

Is Pepsi Vegan?

Both the original Pepsi and Pepsi Max are vegan friendly.

Is Diet Pepsi Vegan?

Diet Pepsi and Diet Pepsi Caffeine Free are NOT vegan, although there’s an element of mystery about what the offending ingredient actually is. (6)

Is Diet Coke Vegan?

Yes, vegans can guzzle down a Diet Coke if they wish.

Is Dr. Pepper Vegan?

Yes, Dr. Pepper is considered a vegan beverage. Some ingredients may put plant-based practitioners off, though, such as Red 40 and caramel color.

Is Mountain Dew Vegan?

Yes, Mountain Dew is vegan. However, there are some questionable artificial colors included in their recipe that many vegans choose to omit from their diet.

Is Sprite Vegan?

Sprite is vegan. There isn’t even a concern over where their sugar comes from, as they use high fructose corn syrup. Not that that’s a good thing for your health, but it does make the drink a vegan-friendly beverage.

Is Red Bull Vegan?

Ingredients wise, Red Bull is vegan, but those who wish no harm for animals should think twice before chugging a can of this caffeinated beverage as the company are thought to support animal testing.

Is Fanta Vegan?

Yes, Fanta is vegan…all 16 flavors.

Is Sunkist Vegan?

No, Sunkist is probably not vegan. A wooly answer, I know, but it’s the presence of ester gum that causes concern…and the lack of clarity from the company. Best to avoid.

Is Gatorade Vegan?

Yes, Gatorade is vegan, but it does have some artificial colors present that may make some vegans think twice before they reach for this popular sports drink.

Is Sierra Mist Vegan?

Possibly. Sierra Mist make a big deal over the inclusion of “real sugar”, but there’s no indication as to what kind of sugar they’re using or whether or not it’s vegan-friendly.

Is 7-Up Vegan?

Yes, original 7-Up is vegan friendly. There’s the usual inclusion of the less-than-helpful “natural flavors” listed in the ingredients but, other than that, you’re good to go.

Is soda vegan? Answered!

So we dove right in to the soda world, and what did we find? Most sodas are, in fact, vegan, including the contemporary classics like Coke and Diet Coke. However just because it’s vegan doesn’t mean you should drink it!

If you’re looking for more natural soda options, Zevia are doing a great job of producing yummy, natural sodas. Sneaky ingredients to watch out for in sodas and other beverage options include cochineal and ester gum – these are not vegan!

What is your view on drinking soda? Do you have any favorite vegan or natural soda options? Let us know in the comments below!

About The Author:
Lisa Williams
Happy Happy Vegan editor

Lisa Williams is a committed vegan, passionate animal welfare advocate, and keen follower of too many v-friendly food blogs to mention. She started back in 2016 because she felt there was a need for more straightforward information on plant-based living.

Back then, too many sites seem to either concentrate solely on recipes or be too intimidating or inaccessible for the v-curious, and she wanted to change that. The landscape is certainly a whole lot different now!

Save to Pinterest!
Pinterest image of a glass of cola for a post on can vegans drink soda beverages
  1. Snopes Staff | Did Coca-Cola Ever Contain Cocaine? |
  2. CocaCola | Are all the drinks sold by Coca‑Cola IE suitable for vegans and vegetarians? |
  3. Joshua Cuellar | Coke’s Sodas Are Vegan & Coke’s Juices Are Not |
  4. Gwen Pearson | You Know What Makes Great Food Coloring? Bugs |
  5. PETA | What is gelatin made of? |
  6. Katie Pevreall | Pepsi Refuse to Reveal Secret Non-Vegan Ingredient |

2 thoughts on “Is Soda Vegan? Or Is There No Such Thing As Plant-Based Pop?”

Comments are closed.


Sign up for our FREE plant-powered newsletter

Important Disclaimer: All of the information found within Happy Happy Vegan is intended solely for educational and informational purposes only. None of the articles written by or associated with Happy Happy Vegan have been evaluated by the FDA or any other federal body. No information found within the site is in any way intended to replace your physician, doctor or healthcare practitioner nor is it intended to diagnose, cure, prevent or treat any illness or disease. Please always consult your healthcare provider before making any changes to your diet or adding supplements that may block, restrict, or interfere with any existing medication.

Happy Happy Vegan is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.