One of the ingredients that is the most difficult to track at the start of going vegan is sugar. Many people don’t realize that there is such a thing as vegan sugar and I’m often asked, “Isn’t all sugar vegan?” What many do not realize is that many types of sugar are processed with animal ingredients. It is a process that is unnecessary and it is also easy to avoid the brands that take part in this unnecessary animal cruelty.
So how is it possible that sugar is not vegan? It’s a plant based item. Similar to alcohol, it’s often a surprise that there can be vegan and non-vegan versions of a product that doesn’t typically contain animal ingredients. To learn more about vegan alcohol options, please read What Makes Alcohol Vegan. My guess is that, when you think of sugar, you think of the pure white sugar that we so often see (and that appears above). What you likely don’t think about is the fact that cane sugar naturally is not white and has to be processed in order to be visually pleasing.
A lot of sugars are processed with animal bones in order to bleach them to the white sugar that we are used to seeing on the market. Where do these bones come from? They are a by product of the meat industry.
This doesn’t just hold true with white cane sugar either. Brown cane sugar is frequently processed in this way too, then has molasses added later to turn the sugar a brown color.
The good news is that it’s really simple and easy to find vegan sugar that is not processed this way! You can find it in nearly every store, and it’s about the same price as sugar processed with animal bones. In fact, in my area, it’s actually cheaper!
Here are some places where you can find vegan sugar –
- Whole Foods 365 Vegan Cane Sugar is available packaged and often times in the bulk section
- Trader Joe’s Organic Brown Sugar
- Trader Joe’s Organic Evaporated Cane Juice Sugar
- Trader Joe’s Turbinado Raw Cane Sugar
- Rapunzel Organic Whole Cane Sugar (available online at Vegan Essentials)
- Woodstock Farms Organic Sugar – All Kinds
- Florida Crystals Organic Sugar – All Kinds
- Hain Pure Foods Sugar – All Kinds
- Wholesome Sweeteners Sugar – All Kinds
Some easy alternatives to look for are beet sugar, sugar made from cane juice, raw sugar, organic sugars, coconut palm sugar, and brown rice syrup. These are nearly always vegan options because they are not processed sugars. Just as with everything else, I suggest double checking first to be on the safe side and to ensure that you are an informed consumer.
Do you use only vegan sugar? If so, what are some of your favorite brands? If not, I’d love to hear your thoughts on vegan sugar and if it’s a change that you would make in your life!