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Wondering whether ketchup is vegan? When following a plant-based diet, sometimes foods that you would assume to be vegan-friendly are typically not – mainly due to questionable additives and artificial ingredients. From sweets, to sauces and beverages, you have to be certain that you aren’t purchasing any animal products. And whilst some products like cheese and eggs, are far more obvious than others, we’ll have to analyse the ingredients of foods like ketchup, before we can reach an overall conclusion.
Table of Contents
- What is Ketchup made of?
- How to tell if Ketchup is Vegan?
- Other Ingredients Found in Ketchup
- Can Vegans Eat Ketchup
- Is Heinz Ketchup Vegan?
- Is there Dairy in Ketchup?
- Does Ketchup Have Milk?
- Vegan Ketchup Brands
- Home-Made Vegan Ketchup
- Vegan Condiments
- So is Ketchup Vegan?
What is Ketchup made of?
Ketchup is a sweet and tangy sauce that is commonly enjoyed with finger foods like French fries or tasty fritters. Its main ingredients consist of tomatoes with some sugars, vinegar, seasonings and spices. Although there are many varieties of sauces, the common ingredients include onions, garlic cloves, coriander, cinnamon, and cumin, plus plenty of salt. Previously, ketchup used to contain non-vegan ingredients like egg whites, oysters and mussels – however, these ingredients aren’t found in today’s ketchup recipes, which makes ketchup vegan in most instances.
How to tell if Ketchup is Vegan?
Typically we can safely assume that ketchup is vegan-friendly, because it doesn’t contain any dairy or meat products. That being said, there are other ingredients in ketchup that most vegans tend to avoid:
For ketchup to achieve its subtly sweet flavour, some are sweetened with honey instead of sugar, or corn syrup. Since honey is extracted from bee hives, it is an animal product that most vegans try to avoid.
Non-organic cane sugar is often filtered through animal bone char to whiten its crystals. So ketchup containing non-organic sugar may be a concerning element for most vegans. This is why many vegans would gravitate toward organic ketchup.
If you opt for a sugar-free ketchup, then it could be sweetened with an artificial sweetener like sucralose. Now whilst sucralose is an artificial sweetener, it was heavily tested on animals in its development stage, so while it is free of animal ingredients, some strict vegans would choose to avoid it.
Other Ingredients Found in Ketchup
Whilst we have established and analysed that most ketchup contains non-vegan ingredients like honey, sugar, and sucralose to sweeten the sauce. There are also vegan-friendly ingredients present in this condiment, and these include:
These sweet red fruits, are safe and encouraged to consume especially when following a plant-based diet. Not only are they a wonderful ingredient in both ketchup and most homemade salads, but these contain crucial minerals, and vitamins for the body.
Vinegar is an acidic solution from plant-based sources, like apples, and other fruits and grains including barley. All essential kinds of vinegar are vegan, however there are speciality bottles of vinegar, slapped with labels of elaborate ingredients that are not. Though the vinegar used in ketchup is almost always vegan.
Spices are extracted from plants, and are therefore always vegan when in their natural state. Any spice blends added to condiments like ketchup are vegan.
Salt is a mineral that comes from the earth, without the exploitation of animals involved in its production.
Can Vegans Eat Ketchup
The initial answer would be, yes absolutely! Naturally, certain brands are more vegan-friendly than others. With concerning ingredients like sugar, honey and sucralose, some vegans may feel that it is nearly impossible to avoid these elements when choosing certain condiments like ketchup. Comparing ingredients from other brands can help overcome these obstacles when purchasing ketchup as well as other sauces. But once you’re aware of the typically non-vegan friendly ingredients used in ketchup, it’ll create an easier path for alternatives. And if you’re still a tad uncomfortable with the ingredients in a common ketchup bottle, then perhaps you can try making your own!
Is Heinz Ketchup Vegan?
Yes Heinz ketchup is vegan-friendly. The main concern when it comes to ketchup brands that claim their ingredients are entirely plant-based, is when the sugars used in their product are filtered through bone-char. While sugar is plant-based the process of filtration isn’t. Typical ingredients found in Heinz ketchup include:
- Distilled vinegar
- High fructose corn syrup
- Corn syrup
- Onion powder
- Natural flavouring
Is there Dairy in Ketchup?
To find out the official answer, you’d have to figure out the ingredients used to make ketchup. With typical elements involving tomatoes, vinegar, salt, sugars, sweeteners, natural flavouring, and spices, we can infer that ketchup does not contain any dairy in this red splashed sauce whatsoever.
Does Ketchup Have Milk?
Naturally ketchup is non-dairy, as most of its ingredients rely on the flavours emanating from the tomatoes. These include spice blends, sugars, and sweeteners to add to the already sweet and tangy flavours. Therefore we can confidently say that ketchup doesn’t contain any type of milk.
Vegan Ketchup Brands
There are a variety of ketchup brands that contain more or less the same ingredients, with some opting for vegan-friendly alternatives to sugars and sweeteners. If you’re interested in the vegan ketchup brands, followed by the ingredients, then here’s some for you to try:
- Yo Mama’s Classic Ketchup
- Sir Kensington’s Classic Ketchup
- Primal Kitchen Organic Unsweetened Ketchup
- Annie’s Natural Organic Ketchup
- Frusano Organic Ketchup
Yo Mama’s Classic Ketchup
Yo Mama’s Classic Ketchup contains no added sugars and is sweetened with vegan-friendly monk fruit. And the best part is that they use non-GMO tomato and apple cider vinegar as the base of the sauce. Their ingredients include:
- Non-GMO Tomato Concentrate
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Sea Salt
- Onion Powder
- Garlic Powder
- Mustard Seed
- Bay Leaf
- Monk Fruit Extract
When comparing it to the classics like Heinz, this ketchup is less sweet, and tends to have an extra kick of heat, thanks to its array of spices. Some have compared its flavours to that of spaghetti sauce, which is great if you plan to use this sauce to drizzle over some vegan hot dogs or vegetable burgers. This is great for those on a keto diet, with 1g of carbs it’s a great condiment to incorporate in many diets.
Sir Kensington’s Classic Ketchup
For a ketchup with more of a classic ketchup taste, then Sir Kensington’s Classic Ketchup is the one for you. This ketchup uses organic cane sugar as a sweetener, which makes it entirely vegan, as opposed to the refined variety of cane sugar typically used in other brands of ketchup, which filter the sugar through bone char, making it completely non-vegan. In this case the ketchup is absolutely safe for vegans to consume. Adding this to the tomato base enhances the traditional flavours of the classic tomato ketchup taste. Take a look at the ingredients below:
- Tomato Paste
- Fair Trade Organic Cane Sugar
- Distilled Vinegar
- Lime Juice Concentrate
- Green Bell Peppers
Primal Kitchen Organic Unsweetened Ketchup
If you’re on the hunt for vegan and low sugar ketchup, then you might want to give Primal Kitchen Organic Unsweetened Ketchup a try. This ketchup doesn’t contain any sweeteners whatsoever, even so it manages to adopt the flavours of normal traditional ketchup. For those who prefer non-sweet condiments, this should work wonderfully. Even if you find yourself preferring a more sweeter ketchup flavour, you won’t be underwhelmed by the deep irresistible flavours balanced with spices that easily make up for the missing sugar. The ingredients are:
- Organic Tomato Concentrate
- Organic Balsamic Vinegar
- Less than 2% Salt
- Organic Onion Powder
- Organic Garlic Powder
- Organic Spices
Annie’s Natural Organic Ketchup
For ketchup with familiar, classic, and traditional flavours, then get your hands on Annie’s Natural Organic Ketchup. This organic ketchup has a more traditional recipe but uses organic cane sugar instead of refined sugars to keep the element of sweetness in this sauce. In fact all the ingredients used in this condiment are organic. It isn’t over powering in spices, but does contain a more vinegary flavour, than traditional ketchup. If your favourite part of ketchup is the sweetness, then you might not like the flavour of Annie’s.
- Tomato Paste
- Sugar (organic)
- Distilled White Vinegar
- Sea Salt
- Onion Powder
- Clove Powder
Frusano Organic Ketchup
If you’re not a particular fan of the ketchup that reminds you of spaghetti sauce, then perhaps you’d be inclined to try Frusano Organic Ketchup. This traditional style ketchup is created with glucose syrup instead of refined sugar. It doesn’t contain any overpowering ingredients like garlic, onions or spices. And the best part is, that all the ingredients are organic! The surrounding flavours emanating from a glop of this sauce are ripe tomatoes, with hints of vinegar and a touch of sweetness.
- Organic Tomato Paste
- Organic Glucose Syrup
- Organic Vinegar
- Organic Lemon Juice Concentrate
- Organic Spices
Home-Made Vegan Ketchup
Knowing that there are vegan-friendly brands that provide the same purpose as the classic ketchup brands, might not be the amazing result for everybody. Some might stick to their scepticism, instead learning to make their own brilliant tomato ketchup at home. With organic and traditional ingredients that work best for them, which is equally as great as opting for organic brands of ketchup. Ketchup is great to have as a side, or dipping sauce for fried foods like potato fritters, French fries, deep-fried veggies, or veggie burgers.
- 1/2 cup sun-dried tomato halves, soaked 1-2 hours
- 1 medium tomatoes
- 2 medium medjool dates
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp water from soaked sun-dried tomatoes
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp onion powder
- 1/16 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp guar gum
- Cover the sun-dried tomatoes with water and soak for 1 to 2 hours
- Drain the sun-dried tomatoes, reserving 1 ounce of the water
- Blend everything until smooth
Going vegan might prove to be a challenge for most, especially when relying on meat to bring forth potent flavours; whilst those who have been vegan for most of their life would quite enjoy the simpler foods, with an abundance of flavours. Regardless of the meal you plan to eat with your favourite condiments, it’s great to have alternatives to fall back on, when finding out that your favourite sauce isn’t very vegan-friendly. Let’s take a dive at some of these sauces, that’ll be perfect to dollop over your plain pasta, or veggie tacos:
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Barbecue Sauce
A condiment that many will find in their cupboards, despite the variety of sauces that exist with delicate, and fiery flavours, everyone loves a bit of traditional sweet and tangy ketchup every once in a while. Some brands of ketchup use refined sugars, however brands like Heinz and Annie’s use organic sugars in their sauces, allowing vegans to safely enjoy the traditional flavours of ketchup.
Mustard is an essential sauce to have, especially when looking to top your vegan hot dogs and burgers. When looking for vegan-friendly mustard, watch out for ingredients like egg-whites and dairy.
While there are vegan options for Worcestershire sauce, most brands get their potent flavours from anchovies. Always double check the labels before buying the sauce. This sauce is great for veggie stir fries and veggie meat loaf.
The ingredient that is a common cause for concern in the much-loved barbecue sauce is honey. You can most certainly find vegan-friendly BBQ sauce, that goes great with roasted cauliflower or broccoli.
Unfortunately traditional mayonnaise uses eggs as their main ingredient, making most store-bought mayo brands non-vegan. However there are alternatives, with some vegan mayo brands using vegan-friendly ingredients like soy milk and plant-based oils.
Hummus is always vegan, and is a favourite amongst many following a vegan diet because it is both filling and so easy to make. The primary ingredient of every hummus recipe is ground chickpeas. Then tahini is added to capture that rich flavour, followed by lemon juice, olive oil, and other optional flavours.
Hot sauces like Sriracha are entirely vegan, which is great because this versatile sauce can be added to almost anything for that tiny splash of flavour. You can make your very own sriracha sauce using a combination of vinegar, peppers and spices.
So is Ketchup Vegan?
Whilst ketchup doesn’t contain the obvious non-vegan ingredients like meat or dairy, there are some versions of ketchup that can be considered vegan-friendly by some, whilst stricter vegans will steer clear of them. Ingredients like refined sugar and honey are extracted from animals, essentially concluding that they aren’t vegan-friendly. Thankfully there are ketchup brands that are entirely made up of organic ingredients, perfect for those following plant-based diets.
Why is Heinz Ketchup not Vegan?
Heinz ketchup is vegan, with plant-based ingredients making it suitable for those on a vegan diet. The only cause for concern would be the sugars, however they are not refined, meaning that this brand of ketchup is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup – which is always vegan.
What Condiments are not Vegan?
Other beloved sauces that are not considered vegan include: horseradish, fish sauce and mayonnaise, however there are vegan alternatives to these.
Is McDonalds Ketchup Vegan?
McDonalds make their own ketchup using ingredients like: tomato concentrate from red tomatoes, distilled vinegar, high fructose, corn syrup, water, salt and natural flavours.