Are you a lover of all things peanut butter? Want to know whether this silky treat is vegan-friendly? Read on to discover everything you need to know about whether peanut butter is vegan.
Peanut butter is a multifaceted ingredient that can be used in a variety of sauces, sandwiches, and even milkshakes!
As versatile as this delicious food is, you may be wondering if it is vegan and the good news is that, yes, peanut butter is most definitely vegan!
But Isn’t Peanut Butter Made From Butter?
You wouldn’t be the first to assume that peanut butter isn’t vegan-friendly due to the connotations associated with the name ‘butter’.
However, peanut butter doesn’t use any form of traditional butter in its formation and therefore doesn’t contain dairy milk. Instead, it is a nut butter that is made from peanuts alone.
Therefore, in your typical jar of peanut butter, you will usually find 100% peanut butter that is made from peanuts that have been ground up into a smooth and silky paste.
These organic products are wholesome, healthy, and vegan-friendly without the need for any additives.
However, as with the vast majority of mass-produced products, there could potentially be a number of other ingredients that have been used during the process and these irritating additions are often used in order to maintain the shelf-life of the product itself which, in turn, makes it cheaper to produce and supply.
Therefore, you should also check the label on your peanut butter carefully to ensure that none of these additional ingredients are unsuitable for your vegan diet.
Most Common Additives
The following ingredients are the most common additions that may or may not end up in your jar of peanut butter: salt, oil, sugar, and E numbers.
Whilst there are a variety of wholly organic peanut butter options out there to choose from, you may find these additions in cheaper forms of the product.
It is also important to note that some may use honey as opposed to sugar in order to sweeten the peanut butter and honey isn’t classified as vegan food.
However, the more commonly used additions are those that I have listed above.
Sugar is undoubtedly one of the most problematic additions to your jar of peanut butter as there is a high possibility that it has come into contact with bone char.
As weird as it may sound, animal bones are often used to purify and whiten your sugar and so it is always essential to find out whether sugar is used in the processing of your peanut butter.
You may not be able to specifically identify what type of sugar has been used in the making of your jar of peanut butter however if the product has been certified as vegan-friendly then you are safe to assume that it is safe to eat.
If you want to be certain about whether the sugar contained has come into contact with bone char, then you can contact the manufacturer or alternatively, switch to a brand that doesn’t need to use sugar in order to sweeten their product.
Oil is used in a wide variety of peanut butters and the type of oil that is used varies. Oil is typically added in order to bulk out the peanut butter as this makes it cheaper to produce.
Many manufacturers may state that they use oil in their product in order to improve the consistency of the peanut butter and/or increase its shelf-life. Sunflower and rapeseed oil are often used whilst some brands will use peanut oil to enhance the overall peanut flavor of the product.
None of these oils pose a problem for vegans, however, if you are following a vegan diet for health reasons then you should exercise caution with regards to the naturally high level of lipids that these products contain.
It is also important to note that the cheapest and most commonly used form of oil is palm oil and this may or may not be considered vegan depending on your perspective on ethically sourced ingredients.
E numbers such as E471 are often added to peanut butter as a stabilizing ingredient that helps to emulsify the product. Whilst these E numbers are typically sourced from plant-based sources like vegetable oil, they can also be produced by animal fats.
It is usually hard to determine whether the E471 that is used in any given product is vegan-friendly or not and this can pose a problem for vegans.
This is definitely an E number that should be treated with utmost caution if the product is not listed as being vegan.
Vegan Peanut Butter
The best way to make sure that your product is vegan-friendly is to buy a product that is either listed as vegan friendly or states that it is 100% peanuts.
There are a plethora of amazing, organic, peanut butter products and these can also be purchased from vegan specialist stores including online shops that will often sell their own brand of distinctly vegan peanut butter.
Of course, sourcing your peanut butter online is not a necessity as there are many wholly organic brands that are available for purchase in your local grocery store.
To conclude, peanut butter is typically a vegan product as it is a nut butter and therefore contains any dairy products in its ingredients.
However, you should always check the label carefully when purchasing a jar of peanut butter as there may be additional ingredients that are not suitable for vegans.
The safest way to ensure that you are purchasing a wholly vegan-friendly product is to buy a jar of peanut butter from a vegan specialist retailer or to purchase a 100% peanut variety of peanut butter from your local store.
This will give you the peace of mind that you desire and enable you to enjoy this silky snack until your heart’s content.
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