Are Dots Vegan?

Dots are a type of gumdrops that are marketed by Tootsie Roll Industries. They were first launched in 1945 and have since become America’s bestselling gumdrop brand.

With so many people apparently loving the Dots candy, it’s understandable that people would be wondering if they are vegan. 

Interest in veganism has hit an all-time high in 2020, with many looking for vegan-friendly options and steering away from foods using animal products. Today we’re going to be looking into whether Dots are vegan-friendly or not. 

Ingredients in Dots

Corn Syrup, Sugar, Food Starch-Modified, Malic Acid, Natural And Artificial Flavors, Sodium Citrate, Artificial Colors (Including FD&C Red 40, Yellow 5, Blue 1).

A Breakdown of Ingredients

Dots do not contain any gelatin, which is the culprit for making most gummy candy not vegan. Moreover, all of the other ingredients are plant-based. These ingredients are for both Dots Original and Dots Tropical, so both of the candy types can be considered vegan. 

However, the ingredients list is still controversial for some people with some of the components being undesirable for a lot of vegans and meat-eaters alike. 


Sugar is the second ingredient on the list, making it the second most used ingredient in Dots. Sugar can be controversial in the world of veganism because refined cane sugar has been processed with bone char to bleach the sugar a white color. 

Although the sugar will not contain any bone char itself, the method of refining the sugar is enough to make some vegans avoid cane sugar altogether. 

Dots do not disclose the type of sugar used in the candy, so some vegans might want to steer clear of Dots in case refined cane sugar has been used. 

Moreover, sugar is not the best ingredient to put in your body anyway. Some like to follow a no sugar diet along with being vegan. 

Artificial Colors

Anything artificial is not good for your body, and colors are particularly controversial for vegans. Some food colors are tested on animals and therefore are not cruelty-free. As the colors are artificial, it can be assumed that they have been tested in some way before being used in the Dots formula. 

Whether these colors have been tested on animals or not remains a mystery. We would like to give Dots the benefit of the doubt, but it is up to you whether you decide to continue consuming their products.  

Natural and Artificial Flavors

Natural flavorings typically come from plants rather than animal products, so these are assumed to be vegan. However, artificial flavors have been created in a lab and, again, we have no way of knowing whether they have been tested on animals or not. 

It is your decision whether or not to avoid Dots now that you know more about the controversial ingredients that are within the formula. 

Dairy and Dots

Another thing that you should know about Dots is that they are not listed as dairy-free on their website. While there is no dairy within the ingredients, it is likely that they have some cross-contamination with other dairy products in the factory. 

So, while Dots are still technically considered vegan, it is up to you whether you want to continue consuming them once you know that they could be cross-contaminated with animal products. 

Moving onto Sour Dots

You might have noticed that we haven’t mentioned Sour Dots in our article yet. This is because the same information does not apply to the sour alternative to the candy. While they contain similar ingredients, there are a few others added that could be controversial to people following a vegan diet. 

Sour Dots are considered vegan, but there are a few ingredients that you should look into before purchasing them.

Ingredients in Sour Dots 

Corn Syrup, Sugar, Modified Food Starch, Citric Acid, Palm Oil, Malic Acid, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Sodium Citrate, Artificial Colors (FD&C Red 40, Yellow 5, Blue 1).

A Breakdown of Ingredients

The majority of the ingredients for Sour Dots are the same for Original and Tropical Dots. So, the same controversial ingredients that we mentioned earlier will still relate to the Sour alternative. 

However, there is one addition that can be very controversial. 

Palm Oil

You might have seen an advertisement a couple of years ago that showed the damaging effects of harvesting palm oil on rainforests and species that lived there. The harvesting of this oil is one of the main reasons for deforestation and orangutans are just one species going extinct because of it. 

Palm oil is used to prolong the life of foods and perishables and it is unfortunately in a lot of everyday products. However, many vegans prevent purchasing things with palm oil in them to prevent more palm oil from being harvested. 

Even if you are not a vegan, you should consider cutting palm oil out of your diet and lifestyle for good. 

Do Dots have gelatin?

Dots, also known as Mason Dots, do not contain gelatin. They are a type of gumdrop candy produced by the Tootsie Roll Industries. They began production after WWII and have become a beloved staple candy across America. 

The ingredients list includes corn syrup, sugar, food-starch modified, citric acid, palm oil, malic acid, natural and artificial flavors, sodium citrate, artificial colors (FD&C red 40, yellow 5, blue 1). Sour dots, regular dots, and tropical dots are all suitable for vegans. 

While they do not contain gelatin, many vegans are likely to choose not to eat Dots as they contain palm oil. This is known to cause severe knock-on impacts for rainforest life and so many vegans choose to avoid it. 

Do Dots contain dairy?

Dots are not specifically marketed as being dairy-free, despite containing no dairy ingredients. This is likely due to the manufacturing process and allergy requirements. 

Foods cannot be labeled dairy-free unless there is no risk at all for cross-contamination. The fact that these sweets are not specifically labeled dairy-free suggests that they are made in a factory that also handles dairy products. 

If you are very sensitive to dairy or have an allergy, we would recommend not consuming Dots. Many vegans will opt to eat products like this that are not explicitly labeled dairy-free due to the reasons mentioned above. 

What candies are vegan?

In 2021, there are hundreds of vegan candies to choose from! You will need to keep an eye out not only for gelatin and dairy but also carmine and shellac. Carmine is used to give some candies their red color and is produced by crushing female cochineal beetles. Shellac is also sometimes referred to as confectioner’s glaze. This is made from the resin-like excretions of insects. 

Good vegan candies include Airheads, Jolly Ranchers, Laffy Taffy, and Nerds. Pez, Pixy Stix, Red vines, Ring Pops, Skittles, Smarties, Twizzlers, and Sour Patch Kids are vegan too. 

Which Halloween candy is vegan?

There are a huge number of vegan Halloween candies. Some of our favorites include this Haunted Halloween 12 piece chocolate collection from No Whey Chocolate, these Halloween Chick-O-Sticks from Atkinson, and these skull lollipops from Wholesome. Other good options are the Fall Treats Oreo selection, Sjaak’s Vegan Pumpkin Spice Bites, and these candy witches. 

Simply Googling ‘vegan Halloween candies’ will throw back hundreds of great options for you to choose from. As veganism grows in popularity across the world, it has never been easier to find delicious themed candies for everyone to enjoy. 

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