Are ICEEs Vegan?

Cindy Wilson Thumbby Cindy Wilson
BS, Dietetics and Nutrition

There’s a lot of debate surrounding whether or not ICEEs are vegan, but the answer largely depends on the ice cream itself. Some ICEEs may contain dairy products, so it’s best to read the ingredients list before eating one. If an ICEE doesn’t have any dairy products listed, it most likely is vegan. However, some ICEEs do use animal-derived ingredients such as gelatine which can make them not vegan.

Why ICEEs are Considered Vegan?

ICEE is a popular, fruity, frozen drink sold as an American fast-food restaurant that is completely vegan. And yes, it’s made from carbonated water and high fructose corn syrup in the US, so it’s safe for vegans!

In fact, almost all slushy machines use carbonated water to create their delicious icees. So if you have ever wondered if the soda machine at your favorite fast food place is vegan friendly: The answer is an astounding YES! Even if it has a small amount of sugar mixed with corn syrup and other sweeteners (which can be animal-based), chances are that the sugar you get from this machine is vegan unless specified otherwise.

Icee Flavors

  • cola
  • banana
  • blue raspberry
  • grape
  • orange
  • red cherry
  • green apple

Cola Icees

Cola flavor is the original flavor of ICEE, and it’s vegan. The ingredients are: high fructose corn syrup, water, citric acid, sodium benzoate, sodium citrate and artificial flavors. There are 45 grams of sugar per serving.

The colors used to make Cola ICEEs are commonly vegan. They’re made with either beet juice or turmeric oleoresin. Neither of these natural dyes have been tested on animals by the company that makes them

Banana Icees

Banana flavoring is often created by distilling and extracting the flavor from real bananas, which are a vegan-friendly food. However, the process of creating artificial banana flavoring can vary depending on the company that makes it.

Icee’s ingredient statement for Banana Icee does not list any ingredients containing milk or milk derivatives.

Blue Raspberry

icee blue raspberry

Blue Raspberry ICEEs are 100% vegan. This delicious ICEE flavour is made from a combination of water, high fructose corn syrup, malic acid, natural flavours and artificial flavours. Unlike other blue ICEE flavours like Blue Raspberry Lemonade and Blue Raspberry Fruit Slush, this one contains no animal bi-products whatsoever.

Grape Icees

Let’s look at the ingredients for grape icees: water, Sugar, citric acid, sodium benzoate (preservative), natural and artificial flavors, red 40, Blue 1. No animal products here. As a result, we can confidently say that Grape ICEE is vegan-friendly!

Orange Icees

Those who follow a vegan diet or lifestyle can feel confident knowing that Orange ICEE drinks are vegan. If you want to double-check, just take a look at the label on the cup to make sure there is no mention of any dairy. ICEE drinks are also free of high fructose corn syrup, so they’re a good choice for those trying to avoid this processed ingredient as well.

Red Cherry

icee vegan

Yes! Red Cherry ICEE is vegan. It contains Red Dye #40, which comes from crude oil. This ingredient is also not tested on animals, so it’s totally cruelty-free too. Another reason that you can feel great about enjoying a red cherry ICEE is that it uses real cherry juice, keeping the flavor of this drink natural and delicious.

Green Apple Icees

Green Apple ICEEs are a bright and refreshing drink to have on a hot summer’s day. But the ingredients that make this delicious treat contain some red flags for those following a vegan lifestyle.

What’s in Green Apple ICEE?

In addition to water, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), and citric acid, the ingredients in green apple ICEEs also include:

  • Artificial flavors
  • Artificial colors (yellow #5 and blue #1)
  • Potassium sorbate

Is it Vegan Friendly?

vegan friendly artificial flavors

The main problem with green apple ICEE is from the artificial colors yellow #5 and blue #1. Both of these colors are made from petroleum, which means they are not animal products, but they’re not plant-based either. Some vegans consider animal products off-limits even if they weren’t directly derived from animals themselves so that automatically rules out any non-vegan icees flavor in this category. However, many vegans will allow these colors into their diet as long as they aren’t involved in cruelty or abuse against animals themselves since there’s no real ethical reason why one wouldn’t want them included

Dietary Information about Icees

  • Dairy-Free: Nope, you’re good here too. The Icee website states that their products do not contain any dairy ingredients. We like to be thorough though and checked the ingredient lists of a couple of different Icee flavors, and they didn’t contain any dairy either.
  • Gluten-Free: From the ICEE website, “The ICEE Company does not use gluten in any of our products nor are there any gluten-containing ingredients in them. All ICEE products sold in the United States and Canada that have been tested for gluten meet the FDA requirement for being labeled as ‘gluten-free.’” While we haven’t specifically confirmed this ourselves, we also haven’t seen anything to indicate otherwise!
  • Vegan: ICEE is vegan because it doesn’t contain animal products such as meat, eggs or dairy and it isn’t processed with animal products (such as bone char used to process cane sugar).
  • Cruelty-free: The company does not test on animals nor do they utilize animal testing by suppliers.

When buying vegan products you should read labels to make sure the brand does not contain milk or milk derivatives

  • The best way to avoid accidentally buying non-vegan products is to check the ingredients label. There are many vegan and non-vegan products that look similar, so read all labels carefully before you buy. This goes for food, drinks, and even beauty products.
  • Some of the most common non-vegan ingredients include milk, cheese, butter, curds and whey (all dairy), gelatin (made from animal bones), egg whites and yolks (from eggs) casein (a protein in milk), albumin (a protein found in egg whites), cochineal/carmine (made from beetles), honey, beeswax (from bees) and lanolin (from sheep).
  • Be especially careful with these ingredients if you are a new vegan. They sometimes sneak into foods in unexpected places!

About Author

Cindy Wilson Thumb
BS, Nutrition & Food Science | Connect with on LinkedIn
Cindy Wilson

Hello, I am Cindy, and this a website where I inspect everything related to nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. I have a BS in Dietetics and Nutrition (Kansas State University) and have completed a dozen specialty courses related to nutrition, biochemistry, and food science. I am open to learning more, but foremost I would like to share all my knowledge with you.

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