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Ketchup is such a popular condiment and you don’t have to miss out on it when you’re vegan! Some ketchup isn’t vegan, but there are plenty of vegan ketchup brands and even vegan ketchup recipes you can make at home.
Is Ketchup Vegan?
The answer to this question is sometimes. This is because it depends on the brand or recipe! Ketchup is often vegan because it doesn’t contain any obvious animal ingredients, but there are still some ingredients to look out for.
Ingredients To Look Out For
The ingredients listed below can sometimes be tricky for vegans. That is because many ingredients are sometimes vegan, sometimes not, and there is often no way of confirming it. Asking the company is sometimes helpful, but many companies don’t respond or give vague answers.
So some vegans are okay with consuming the ingredients listed below. It’s up to you how strict you want to be!
Sometimes cane sugar is filtered through bone char, which is charred cattle bones. If you see “sugar” listed as an ingredient on ketchup, there is no way of knowing if it was filtered with bone char unless you contact the company and ask.
Beet sugar, coconut sugar, and organic sugar should not be filtered through bone char, so those sweeteners shouldn’t be an issue for vegans.
Ketchup is often just sweetened with cane sugar, but sometimes brands will sweeten their ketchup with honey. This is more common in ketchup that is marketed as “healthier.” Honey comes from bees, so it is not vegan.
“Natural flavors” is listed on many packaged products, including some ketchup. Natural flavors can be from plants or animals, and the only way to find out is to ask the company.
However, most companies are not able to reveal whether or not their natural flavors are plant-based, in which case you may want to avoid the product if that is a concern for you.
If a product is certified vegan, you know that any natural flavors in the product are plant-based. There are also some ketchups that don’t contain natural flavors.
A lot of ketchup includes vinegar as an ingredient. This is usually vegan, but some vinegar can be fined with non-vegan ingredients, such as isinglass (gelatin from fish).
Wine vinegars are more likely to be non-vegan than other types of vinegar because wine is often fined with non-vegan ingredients.
Many vegans will choose not to be concerned with this, but if it is something you are worried about, contact the company to ask if the vinegar they use comes in contact with any animal-derived ingredients during production.
Is Heinz Ketchup Vegan?
For vegans who are concerned about how sugar is refined, Heinz Ketchup is not vegan. Heinz has several sugar suppliers, some of which do filter their sugar through bone char. They cannot answer whether or not bone char was used in the sugar refining process of a particular product.
Heinz does have an organic ketchup, but when I reached out to confirm that the organic sugar they use is not filtered with bone char, they would not confirm it.
They were also not able to answer whether or not the natural flavors are plant-based in any of their ketchups.
So if you are a strict vegan who doesn’t want to consume bone char-filtered sugar or natural flavors that potentially come from animal ingredients, avoid all Heinz ketchup products.
If you are a newer vegan or you just find it too difficult to be concerned with these ingredients, that’s fine too.
Is French’s Ketchup Vegan?
I reached out to French’s and they confirmed that their ketchup is suitable for vegans. They do not use any sugar that is filtered with bone char and the natural flavor in their ketchup is plant-based!
This is a great option for strict vegans who do not want to pay for organic or certified vegan ketchups, which are often more expensive.
Organic Vegan Ketchup Brands
Not all organic ketchup brands are vegan, but many are! Here are some ketchups that are confirmed to be vegan, with no questionable ingredients.
- Sir Kensington’s Classic Ketchup and Spicy Ketchup (Certified by Vegan Action)
- Fody Ketchup (Certified by Vegan Action)
Make Your Own Vegan Ketchup
If you want to make your own vegan ketchup at home, check out these recipes:
- Easy Homemade Ketchup from The Vegan 8
- 2-Minute Healthy Ketchup from Simple Vegan Blog
- Homemade Ketchup from Detoxinista
If you are concerned about the questionable ingredients listed in the article above, make sure you check that any sugar or vinegar you use in ketchup recipes is not fined or filtered with any non-vegan ingredients. To do this, you will likely need to reach out to the companies that make the products you want to use.