Vegans often have to make compromises when it comes to condiments or toppings for their favorite foods. But there’s one condiment that they don’t usually have to compromise with: ketchup.
Due to its core ingredient, tomato, ketchup is typically considered vegan friendly, though this is not always the case. Like many foods or toppings, ketchup can be vegan depending on its unique ingredient list or the manufacturing processes used by its brand. But it can also be bad for vegans or even unhealthy.
Today, let’s take a look at whether Heinz ketchup is vegan and explore some alternatives in case you don’t like the flavor of Heinz ketchup in the first place.
Vegan Ketchup Explained
It’s tough to tell at a glance whether a particular type of ketchup is vegan, especially since most ketchup is naturally vegan so long as the brand doesn’t add anything extra to it. The basic formula for ketchup is tomatoes, salt, spices, a sweetener of some kind, and vinegar.
So, where’s the problem? It’s typically with the sweetener. While some types of ketchup use sugar, and others use high fructose corn syrup, the type of sugar used can determine whether a given ketchup brand is vegan friendly or not.
That’s right; not all sugar is vegan by definition. Most white sugar is bleached through a filtering process that uses animal bone char. You can tell from the name of the material that it is an animal byproduct. Bone char is a porous and black material derived from charred animal bones like cattle bones.
Brown sugar doesn’t necessarily get a ketchup brand off the hook, either. Most brown sugar is made by mixing white sugar and molasses together, so if the white sugar is made using bone char, the resulting brown sugar is also not vegan friendly. The only exception to this is if the brown sugar is organic.
So, bottom line: if your ketchup is made with regular sugar, it’s not vegan friendly. Additionally, if your ketchup is sweetened with honey, it’s not vegan friendly since honey itself is an animal byproduct.
If you want a vegan brand of ketchup, it has to be sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, a common sweetener that is always vegan. Aside from this, you’ll need to check the back of a ketchup bottle to make sure that it doesn’t include any non-vegan ingredients before adding it to your kitchen cabinet or refrigerator.
So, is Heinz Ketchup Vegan?
The million-dollar question is whether Heinz ketchup is vegan. Fortunately, this king of the ketchup industry is vegan thanks to its sweetener: high fructose corn syrup. Beyond that, regular Heinz ketchup is also made with plant-based ingredients.
However, certain types of Heinz ketchups are not vegan-friendly.
Are There Any Non-Vegan Ingredients in Heinz Ketchup?
Sometimes. Heinz makes several different ketchup varieties for different taste preferences or consumers. For example, Heinz Simply Tomato Ketchup is not totally vegan because it is sweetened with cane sugar. While it is difficult to tell whether the cane sugar is filtered through bone char, the possibility always exists.
So if you want to be on the safe side, you should only use regular Heinz ketchup if you’re a vegan.
Heinz Ketchup Alternatives for Vegans
Fortunately, there are alternatives to Heinz ketchup for vegans if you don’t prefer the taste of Heinz or want to avoid the possibility of consuming sugar filtered through bone char as described above. These alternatives include:
- Hunt’s Classic Tomato Ketchup
- Tessemae’s Organic Ketchup
- 365 Everyday Value Organic Tomato Ketchup
- Primal Kitchen Organic Unsweetened Ketchup
- True Made Foods Ketchup
- Sir Kensington’s Ketchup
Luckily, there are tons of different vegan ketchup choices you can make. In this way, you can always be rest assured that you’ll be able to enjoy your fries, burgers, or even your scrambled eggs with ketchup should you choose.
How to Tell if Ketchup is Vegan
Not sure whether a given ketchup brand is vegan friendly? You can do a few quick tests and examine the bottle to see if it is vegan beyond a shadow of a doubt.
Firstly, make sure that all the ingredients on the label are plant-based. If you don’t know whether a synthetic or scientifically named ingredient is plant-based, do a Google search. You should be able to find an answer pretty quickly.
Next, take a look at the sugars used in the ketchup bottle, if applicable. Any sugar products have to be certified organic and can be used with animal products. Remember, sweeteners like honey are not vegan by definition.
You can also look for non-vegan ingredients like activated carbon, which is made with the bone char process described above, nonorganic sugar, and more.
Why does checking for a certified organic label matter? The USDA says that bone char can’t be used to either recreate or improve the flavors or colors of any organically processed foods. Therefore, an organic food can’t use bone charring at any point of the process if it wants to keep the label.
You should instead target sugars like corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup if you want to adhere to the vegan diet perfectly.
Does Vegan Ketchup Taste Different from Non-Vegan Ketchup?
No, it shouldn’t. In fact, many Americans who aren’t even vegan probably consume vegan ketchup all the time. Most Americans consider ketchup to be a mildly sweet condiment, and the best vegan ketchup will contain at least one sweetener like high fructose corn syrup.
However, you might find certain types of vegan ketchup that are made without any sweetener at all. This type of ketchup will taste differently from regular ketchup, but it’s not because it’s vegan; it’s because it lacks any sort of sweetening ingredient. It may even seem more similar to a spice or vegan hot sauce!
All in all, Heinz ketchup can broadly be considered vegan friendly, especially if you get the classic or regular versions of the product. However, derivatives of Heinz’s core ketchup product or ones made with simpler ingredients are often not vegan friendly since they use cane sugar and other non-vegan ingredients.
Need inspiration? Check out some more vegan recipes here!