Dr Pepper is a well-known carbonated soft drink with roots dating back to the 1880s. The soft drink company offers a variety of 23 flavors of Dr. pepper. With around 23 flavors combined into one, it’s natural to wonder if Dr. Pepper come from animals.
If you’ve been vegan for a while, you probably know that animal products can be found in the most unusual places. Checking labels is becoming a lifestyle for those committed to the vegan way of life, even if it’s worth it.
Below we’ll explain why each of these ingredients is debatable among vegans, as well as which Dr Pepper flavors they contain. We will also go through the ingredients for each Dr Pepper flavor one by one and see if the soda is vegan!!
Dr Pepper – Brand Overview
The oldest of the two flagship brands, Dr Pepper, was invented in Waco, Texas, at Morrison’s Old Corner Drug Store. Charles C. Alderton, a young pharmacist who worked for Morrison’s at the time, experimented with his own soft drink in 1885. He combined phosphorescent water, fruit juice, sugar and other components to create a new soda that hadn’t been tasted before.
Dr Pepper was first sold nationally in the United States in 1904 and is now available in Europe, Asia, the Americas. Dr Pepper is sold as an imported product in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Diet Dr Pepper and, from the 2000s, a range of additional flavors are among the variants.
However, some ingredients in the original Dr Pepper are of concern among vegans. For example, natural flavors are considered a gray zone ingredient in the vegan community.
In addition, artificial colorings are used in flavoring other foods. Despite the fact that these dyes contain no animal by-products, they are tested on animals and cannot be considered ethical or cruelty-free. But it’s unlikely that both ingredients are non-vegan for a can of soda.
Dr Pepper Ingredients
Each of the four ingredients below is a source of contention among vegans. We’ll explain here which ingredients in Dr Pepper flavors are the most controversial and why.
1. Natural flavors
Almost all Dr Pepper flavors contain “natural flavors”. It’s a catch-all term for a variety of ingredients used as, well, natural flavors. This means that it can be made from both animals and plants.
But it’s not a big concern for vegans. It may be animal-based, but natural flavors derived from animals are very rare. Likewise, the natural flavors are not a big concern for Dr Pepper either.
dr. Pepper has one flavor that uses real sugar as a sweetener instead of corn syrup or aspartame. However, this detracts from the drink’s vegan credentials.
It’s no surprise that bovine bone char is often used to purify and brighten white sugar. As a result, some vegans avoid areas where refined sugar is likely to be added. However, the difficulty in avoiding “butchery sugar” is that it is not labeled on the product.
Sugar extracted from sugar beets or coconuts is probably not processed with bone meal. Bone char is mainly used to filter traditionally grown cane sugar, confectioners’ sugar and brown sugar.
3. Red 40
Red 40 can be detected in Dr Pepper flavors such as “Cherry” and “Cherry Vanilla”. It is a petroleum-based artificial food coloring, not an animal coloring.
However, due to health concerns, it is still tested on animals. And the practice still continues and will not go away anytime soon. This causes many vegans to stop buying Red 40, meaning only a few vegans would also avoid the Dr Pepper flavors “Cherry” and “Cherry Vanilla”.
Recommended: Is Red 40 vegan, cruelty-free and halal dye?
4. Caramel color
Caramel color is present in all Dr Pepper varieties and is likely vegan in most cases. But we can’t say for sure because we can’t read the label. So it may not be vegan.
Caramel color is simply produced by melting and “caramelizing” or browning sugar or carbohydrates. There are generally no problems as the sugar origin is clearly vegan.
White sugar, on the other hand, can be used to make caramel colors. In that case, it wouldn’t be strictly vegan.
Dr Pepper flavors
1. Diet Dr. pepper
Diet Dr Pepper contains carbonated water, phosphoric acid, caramel color, caffeine, artificial and natural flavors, aspartame and sodium benzoate.
Most of the ingredients in both regular Dr Pepper and Diet Dr Pepper are the same. In the latter, aspartame replaces high fructose corn syrup.
Aspartame is a popular artificial sweetener found in most diet sodas that have twice the sweet taste of regular sugar or carbohydrates. It’s a safe sugar substitute in foods and drinks, and it’s vegan, just the way you’d hoped.
2. Dr Pepper Cream Soda
Cream and Dr. Pepper Soda are usually considered vegan. Carbonated water, HFCS, flavors, caramel color, caffeine, sodium benzoate and phosphoric acid are the main ingredients. In this case, aspartame replaces HFCS in diet soda.
You may be concerned about the components of high fructose corn syrup as most vegans think it is unhealthy.
It is also likely that the caramel color and natural flavors come from animal products, but this is unlikely. However, it is derived from corn and thus contains no animal ingredients.
3. Dr Pepper Zero Sugar
Dr Pepper Zero Sugar is presented as an addition to Dr Pepper’s aspartame-only diet, rather than a replacement, as it uses a combination of aspartame and acesulfame potassium.
Dr Pepper Zero Sugar tastes much more authentic than Diet Dr Pepper. The consistency is thinner and the sweetness has a flatness, with a slightly chemical taste that would usually go unnoticed. It tastes nothing like regular Dr Pepper.
4. Decaffeinated Dr Pepper
Decaffeinated Dr Pepper is also vegan. The ingredients are the same as in the regular drink, with the exception of caffeine, that’s a given.
If you’re curious about the ingredients, they are as follows: Carbonated Water, Caramel Color, HFCS, Sodium Benzoate, and Phosphoric Acid. It is likely that the caramel color and natural flavors come from animal products, but this is questionable.
In this case, sugar is extracted from other vegan components and caramelized to obtain the brown color.
5. Dr Pepper Cherry
Diet Dr Pepper Cherry is generally considered vegan. However, because Red 40 is still tested on animals, some vegans may avoid Diet Dr Pepper Cherry as a result.
Also, Red 4 is derived from beetles and has a similar red color to Red 3. It is also possible that the caramel color or natural flavors are derived from animal ingredients, but this is unlikely.
The Red 40 in this case is a dye from the petroleum industry, which makes it vegan-friendly.
6. Cherry Vanilla Dr Pepper
Yes, both regular and diet Cherry Vanilla Dr Pepper are vegan. Apart from the original formulation, it contains additional flavors such as cherry and vanilla as the name suggests.
Other vegan ingredients include red food coloring, malic and citric acids, and citric and malic acids. Malic and citric acids are organic acids that are industrially synthesized for use in foods and beverages.
Malic acid is derived from chemical synthesis and citric acid is derived from yeast fermentation, further confirming their vegan status.
The main issue here is whether Dr. Pepper is suitable for vegans, and the answer is yes. However, since it is free of animal ingredients and cruelty to animals, there is no need to include it in your diet on a regular basis.
Yes, there are puzzling natural and artificial flavors to contend with. However, artificial flavors are almost never non-vegan. Natural flavors can be non-vegan, but the most common natural flavors are unlikely to be found in soda.