Sunny D is Vegan but not Cruelty-Free (3 Reasons Why!)

Yes, Sunny D orange juice is technically vegan however drinking it may not exactly align with a healthy, sustainable, and cruelty-free lifestyle. Let’s see why!

Sunny D orange juice ingredients

It’s quite a long list for a simple orange juice but here we go:

  • Water,
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • 2% or Less of:
    • Concentrated Orange Juice,
    • Concentrated Tangerine Juice,
    • Concentrated Apple Juice,
    • Concentrated Lime Juice,
    • Concentrated Grapefruit Juice,
    • Concentrated Pear Juice,
    • Citric Acid, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C),
  • Thiamin Hydrochloride (Vitamin B1),
  • Natural Flavors,
  • Modified Cornstarch,
  • Canola Oil,
  • Sodium Citrate,
  • Cellulose Gum,
  • Sucralose,
  • Sodium Hexametaphosphate,
  • Potassium Sorbate to Protect Flavor,
  • Yellow #5,
  • Yellow #6,
  • Calcium Disodium Edta to Protect Color

Why Sunny D is not the best choice for Vegans?

Let’s have a look at a few ingredients that seem to be just a little bit suspicious.

High Fructose Corn Syrup

Corn Syrup is just a sweetener that usually vegans can eat. However, it’s important to pay attention to where the syrup was produced and if it was genetically modified. Unfortunately, this information wasn’t provided by the producer.

Modified Cornstarch

Corn starch is a highly processed product made from corn but it does not contain any animal products. The manufacturing process, on the other hand, is not devoid of cruelty. Unless the packaging specifies otherwise, corn farming, especially in the United States, is virtually 100% GMO.

Canola Oil

Although Canola Oil is fully vegan and contains omega-3 and omega-6 acids it is not a fully healthy choice as it is a highly refined product. There are also many concerns about its safety for use.


Surlacose is a non-caloric artificial sweetener that is considered vegan friendly. It doesn’t contain any animal by-products. Many ethical vegans avoid using it since the manufacturing process involves animal testing

Also, not sure if you heard about Splenda which was quite intensively promoted by vegan YouTubers. If you haven’t have a look at this video (Splenda is largely relying on Surlacose):

As you can see, Sunny D is not a fully vegan-friendly product. Even though it doesn’t contain any animal products in its ingredients, the manufacturing process isn’t cruelty-free and many of the ingredients are not healthy choices.

If you’re looking for a vegan drink that aligns with your lifestyle, we suggest looking for something else.

Best Sunny D Alternative: Vegan Orange Juice Brands

A really vegan-friendly, healthy, and cruelty-free orange juice should have only one ingredient: ORANGE. Here’s a list of the best Vegan approved orange juice brands:

  • Tropicana Pure Premium OJ (Buy Here)
  • Minute Maid Premium Original Orange Juice (Buy Here)
  • Lakewood Organic Orange Juice (Buy Here)
  • Simply Orange (Buy Here)
  • Florida’s Natural Orange Juice, Some Pulp
  • Uncle Matt’s Organic Orange Juice
  • Trader Joe’s Organic Orange Juice, No Pulp

Some Questions You May Have

What does the D in Sunny D stand for?

D in Sunny D stands for Delight. The initial name for this juice was “Sunny Delight” which was changed to “Sunny D” in 1998. Many people believe it stands for Vitamin D because of the resemblance to an interjection, but it is incorrect.

Is Sunny D healthy to drink?

Sunny D is not a healthy choice for a beverage. When it comes to orange juice, there are several substances that you wouldn’t want to see in there such as corn syrup or cornstarch. It has a lot of vitamin C, however, it is synthetic same as the juice taste.

Is SunnyD good for you when you’re sick?

No, when you are sick or well, Sunny D is not good for you. It has a lot of Vitamin C, but it’s been added artificially; therefore, drinking real orange juice or eating a pepper will be better for you.

Can I drink Sunny D while pregnant?

Sunny D is not a good option while pregnant. It’s highly processed and includes a number of additives that you and your little one don’t need. Fresh-squeezed orange juice tastes much better than canned!

Does Sunny D have vitamin D?

No, sunny D does not provide enough vitamin D to be considered a viable source of this mineral. It’s just a misunderstanding because many people think “D” in the juice’s name stands for Vitamin D when, in reality, it refers to Delight

Why is sunny d banned in the UK?

Sunny D is not banned in the UK and is still being sold in major stores but it is not as popular as it was in the 90s. The main reason for this is the “Yellow Girl Gate”. Did Sunny D make people orange? I recommend you read this interesting article from Vice

Final thoughts

Overall, Sunny D is considered a vegan-friendly product but it contains unhealthy ingredients and ingredients that are not cruelty-free. There are many better vegan-approved drink options available on the market today.

I suggest looking for something else if you’re looking for a juice that aligns with your ethical beliefs.

Avatar image of Valeria Garcia
Written by

Valeria Garcia

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *