Is peanut butter vegan? Vegan and non-vegan peanut butter explained

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4 min read

Of course, we know the basics of following a vegan diet – absolutely no animal products. This means no meat, no fish, no dairy products, and no eggs. But there are products that may catch you out, like honey or peanut butter.

Peanut butter is a wildly popular condiment and ingredient which is favoured for the rich taste it offers to a wide range of dishes, a delectably creamy texture, and a surprisingly impressive nutrient profile. 

Peanut butter is a highly versatile spread that works well in a range of recipes. From sweet treats like cookies and smoothies to savoury dips like satay, you may be wondering if a vegan can incorporate one of the world’s favourite things into their diet; and with so many brands on the market today, all offering different styles, you may be unsure which brands, if any, are vegan.

In order to help you get to the bottom of this dilemma, this article will discuss and investigate whether all commercially available peanut butter is vegan. So, is all peanut butter vegan? 

Most peanut butter is, indeed, vegan

In fact, most types of peanut butter in your local supermarket will be made from a few simple ingredients – roasted peanuts, oils, and salt. Some brands may decide to include other additives and ingredients in order to enhance the flavour or preserve the product for longer, and this can include molasses, sugar, or agave syrup – all of which are luckily vegan. 

This does indeed mean that many types of peanut butter that you see are free of animal products and can still be included as part of your vegan diet. Some brands of peanut butter that are vegan friendly include:

  • Meridian
  • Whole Earth
  • Sun-Pat
  • Pip & Nut
  • Manilife 

Please be aware that this is not an exhaustive list of all the brands of vegan peanut butter available in your local supermarket – many own brands and other brands not listed here are indeed vegan, just make sure to check the label! 

Some types of peanut butter are not vegan

Although a majority of peanut butter brands are vegan, some may actually include animal products for a range of reasons. One of the most common animal product additives is honey – which is typically excluded from vegan diets as it is produced by bees and, therefore, considered an animal product. 

Although less common, some kinds of peanut butter also have omega-3 fatty acid supplements, which are sourced from fish like anchovies or sardines. Furthermore, other brands use cane sugar in the product itself. Although sugar is vegan, cane sugar is sometimes filtered and bleached with bone char; rendering it non-vegan. 

Unfortunately, some brands of peanut butter may have completely vegan ingredients but are prepared in facilities that also process non-vegan products; increasing the risk of cross-contamination. Although some vegans don’t mind consuming products that may contain trace amounts of animal products, due to cross-contamination, many do choose to exclude these items from their diet. 

Is all peanut butter vegan? How you can know for definite

The easiest and fastest way to determine whether or not your favourite brand of peanut butter is vegan friendly is to check the ingredient list. Non-vegan peanut butter brands will include things like honey, fish oil, and even gelatine – all of which you should steer clear from if you’re following a vegan diet. 

Some products may also be labelled as certified vegan, which ensures they do not contain any animal products and have not been tested on animals, but also shows that they do not contain products that are filtered and bleached with bone char. 

Although some products may be labelled as vegan, they may be processed in facilities that also process animal products. In these instances, in order to qualify for vegan certification, these brands are required to verify that any shared machinery is thoroughly cleaned in order to prevent cross-contamination. 

If you aren’t sure whether a product is definitively vegan or not, another way to check is to get in touch with the company or manufacturer to directly address your concerns. 

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