Is Soda Vegan? (Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Cream Soda, and more)

As you reach for that crisp can of sweet bubbly hydration calling your name, you wonder: Is soda vegan? The answer is: sometimes. We outline what you need to know about soda, which brands are vegan-friendly, and how to make your own healthier soda drink.
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Photo of a pink soda can without brand name and the question "is soda vegan?" written on it.
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Whether you call it soda, pop, or simply coke, everyone loves the fizzy sweetness of a chilled carbonated soft drink. What began as a health tonic in the late 1700s is now any everyday refreshment, available in all markets and restaurants across the globe.

Though simple in concept, there’s a lot going on behind the label that doesn’t make it to print. It begs the question: What are we really drinking in this bubbly beverage?

What Exactly Is Soda?

The basic definition for soda is very broad. It only takes three ingredients to qualify:

  1. Carbonated water
  2. Sweetener
  3. Flavoring

Many brands add coloring, caffeine, and other stabilizers to enhance shelf life. The particulars can be natural or artificial, high in sugar or sugar-free, and a wide range of options in between.

Is Soda Vegan?

For the most part, yes, soda is vegan! There are a few noteworthy exceptions.

  • Italian soda adds dairy-based heavy cream to create a richer drink that’s more like a dessert, typically found only in soda shops and cafés.
  • Ice cream soda and ice cream floats are similar, using a scoop of ice cream to add body to the soda base.

When it comes to bottled options, it can be a bit less obvious.

What Non-Vegan Ingredients Might Be In Your Soda?

Though uncommon, there are some key ingredients to avoid when seeking a vegan drink. The main suspects are dairy, carmine or cochineal (crushed bugs used for red color), honey, gelatin (used for filtering), and vitamin D derived from lanolin (sheep’s wool).

Is Coca Cola Vegan?

Good news for cola fans! The Coca Cola company has confirmed that all their soda options are free of animal products and derivatives. That means you can take a big swig of the following without any concerns:

  • Coke
  • Sprite
  • Fanta
  • Dr. Pepper

…And all the diet or zero-sugar versions of the classics, too.

Is Pepsi Vegan?

On the other hand, Pepsi isn’t so forthcoming about their ingredients and can only confirm that two of their sodas are completely vegan:

  • Pepsi 
  • Pepsi Max

We can only speculate what goes into the other options, but all we can say is that for the most part, Pepsi is not vegan-friendly.

Is Cream Soda Vegan?

Despite the suspicious title, cream soda is generally made of vegan ingredients! It gets its name from the full-bodied vanilla flavor that most people associate with rich scoops of ice cream and not from the actual components included. The most popular brands of cream soda in the US are all vegan.

  • A&W
  • Barqs
  • Mug

The famous root beer sodas made by these same companies are also vegan, too!

Is Mountain Dew Vegan?

This is a surprisingly controversial question without a clear answer. While the ingredients appear to be man made or plant-based, the inclusion of yellow 5 and other artificial colors raises some alarm bells for ethical consumers. These chemicals were tested on animals for safety. Whether you chose to accept that those tests were in the past, or simply opt out on principal is your call. The same is also true for any soda that is anything other than clear or brown.

Healthy Homemade Alternatives To Soda

One of the easiest healthy soda alternatives a mix of sparkling water (such as LaCroix) and real fruit juice (like apple juice). A 50-50 ratio is a great standard, but you can adjust the ratio to your liking, adding more juice for a sweeter “soda.” This simple swap has helped many people break their soda addiction without having to give up the fizzy comfort of a sweet bubbly beverage.

Here are some other fantastic drinks you can enjoy in place of soda.

Bubbly Strawberry Peach Sprirtzer Drink Garnished With Chamomile Flowers
Strawberry Peach Spritzer Soda
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  1. At home soda machines make it easy to make delicious soda.

  2. Andrea White says:

    i would’ve never guess it. this is so great to know though! thanks so much!

  3. This is a great guide! Was was asked the other day if soda was vegan and wasn’t quite sure … now I have this great article to share, thank you!

  4. I’ve always wondered if soda is vegan so thank you for this! I’m not a big soda drinker but I do occasionally enjoy a mixed drink so I’m glad to know most sodas are vegan-friendly!

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