Red Bull is a famous energy drink marketed in a big slim blue-silver can. It’s an excellent option for people who want a solution for caffeine but don’t want coffee or tea. It provides convenience also. It’s being sold since the 1980’s such a number of vegans and vegetarians grew up enjoying the product and wanted to find out if they can continue to do so after changing over to a plant-based diet.
Is it vegan or vegetarian? Yes, Red Bull is both vegan and vegetarian.
It’s a mix of carbonated water, simple sugars, salts like sodium bicarbonate, magnesium carbonate, calcium pantothenate, vitamins, colours, flavours, and energy-providing elements like taurine and caffeine. None of these originates from animals.
We will check why each of the ingredients mentioned above is vegan. If a product is apt for vegans, it’s by default suitable for vegetarians also but not the other way around. So, we’ll be making use of the term vegan for the balance part of our article.
Table of Contents
Why Red Bull Is Generally Considered Vegan
Taurine In Processed Foods Is Vegan
This was not always been the same. Like with necessary micronutrients, it used to be obtained from the things available in nature including animal tissue, but it’s financially not feasible to get the ingredient this way when there are other methods to create the compound synthetically.
Elements like caffeine and taurine are added in these smart beverages which are sold as a solution to improve alertness and concentration.
Some ingredients are claimed to increase brain power are usually added to drinks that are marketed in the name of smart beverages despite the fact that there is hardly any research available to support such claims.
There may be some research available to back some particular ingredients like caffeine, but too little research has been done on smart drinks that claim to have a beneficial mixture of the right ingredients.
Ingredients mostly added to smart drinks that are believed to excite brain activities include amino acids like taurine, phenylalanine, choline, and L-cysteine.
However, taurine isn’t strictly an amino acid; It’s an amino sulfonic acid.
We are not telling that all taurine is vegan, but the type of taurine added in energy drinks and supplements is commonly prepared with chemical synthesis without getting it derived from animals and hence appropriate for vegans and vegetarians.
The Presence of Sugar Does Not Render a Food Non-Vegan
That’s true by almost all standards. Some extra vigilant vegans want to stop using any processed food products prepared with non-organic sugar as organic sugar is never manufactured using bone char.
Even PETA mentions that not taking foods containing processed sugar is not being vegan. In Peta’s article, ‘Is Sugar Vegan?’, they ask you not to overthink how sugar in any food product is manufactured.
They are trying to say that by stressing too hard about vague ingredients, we send wrong signals to potential vegans. i.e. It is pointless to think elements as vegan if produced in x way, but are non-vegan if made in y way.
That’s our summary of what they are saying. We may not be agreeing with that. If you have convictions about having non-organic sugar because of some use of bone char in its manufacturing and want to stop using it, we think that’s great.
But, it’s not expected from you as a vegan that you must avoid all the foods with sugar. We don’t purchase non-organic sugar in bulk for cooking or home use, but we also don’t go out of the way to avoid all processed foods with sugar.
The B Vitamins in Red Bull Are Vegan
Until a few decades ago, almost all the vitamins used in fortified foods and supplements were made from matter that contained the nutrients naturally. Factories used to extract concentrates or extracts from vitamin-rich food sources in a natural way.
At times they were from vegan sources, and at other times not so much. This still happens today with vitamins A and D often being derived from cod liver oil.
Nowadays, the latest technologies have allowed food and supplement producers to synthesize vitamins, which is cheaper than deriving the nutrients naturally.
Reasons for opting for synthetic vitamins include:
· The synthetic type is much cheaper
· The shortage of vitamins in natural sources, as compared to the artificial way
· Better taste and smell from synthetic vitamins
· Better shelf-life
· Lesser loss of nutrients during extraction
· Less damage to the molecules
Some vitamins like vitamin D are still extracted from lanolin found quickly in sheep oil. Red Bull uses B vitamins like Vitamin B3 or niacin, vitamin B6 or pyridoxine, and vitamin B12 or cobalamin, which are mostly synthetic.
Niacin can be manufactured by a mix of microbial and chemical processes.
Vitamin B6 or pyridoxine is prepared microbially or chemically from non-animal sources.
Vitamin B12 is exclusively made with microbial fermentation, so synthetic B12 in fortified foods and beverages is always vegan.
That was the fact file for the vegan status of Red Bull.
Thanks for reading.
You may also want to check out the following related articles:
- Giving Wings to People and Ideas. https://www.redbull.com/us-en/energydrink/company-profile
- (12 Cans) Red Bull Energy Drink, 8.4 Fl Oz. https://www.walmart.com/ip/12-Cans-Red-Bull-Energy-Drink-8-4-Fl-Oz/10316267
- Understanding Food: Principles and Preparation (Page 554). Amy Brown – Wadsworth Cengage Learning – 2011. ISBN-10: 0-538-73498-1
- Hollingsworth P. Redefining New Age. Food Technology 51(8):44–51, 1997.
- Taurine, Compound Summary. Pubchem. US National Library of Medicine. https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Taurine
- What Is Taurine? Benefits, Side Effects and More Rudy Mawer – https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/what-is-taurine
- Kosswig, K. (2000). “Sulfonic Acids, Aliphatic”. Ullmann’s Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry. Weinheim: Wiley-VCH. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/14356007.a25_503
- Is Sugar Vegan? https://www.peta.org/living/food/is-sugar-vegan/
- Jose L. Revuelta, Ruben M. Buey, Rodrigo Ledesma‐Amaro, and Erick J. Microbial biotechnology for the synthesis of (pro)vitamins, bio pigments and antioxidants: challenges and opportunities. MicrobBiotechnol. 2016 Sep; 9(5): 564–567. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4993173/
- Y. Tani. Microbial Production of Vitamin B6 and Derivatives. Biotechnology of Vitamins, Pigments and Growth Factors pp 221-230. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-94-009-1111-6_13