Soy sauce can add the perfect touch to a multitude of meals. Traditional soy sauce is known for its salty flavor and has many uses depending on what you are cooking. From a dipping sauce to a perfect topping for your fried rice or noodle dish, it can add that umami flavor to many savory dishes. Ingredients vary according to what soy sauce brand you are using, but is soy sauce vegan?
The answer to this question is, yes. While what is contained in each brand can vary, the one thing they have in common is that they are vegan.
However, being a vegan isn’t just about avoiding dairy, animal byproducts, and meat. Veganism is a lifestyle that avoids companies that do not treat animals ethically or use them as test subjects. Any company that makes a product and abuses animals are not classified as vegan… even if they meet the food standards.
What Is In Soy Sauce?
Soy sauce originated in China. It is made of fermented soybeans like tempeh and tofu. The basic added ingredients include grain products, water, salt, and a preservative. To make this condiment, the product goes through an aging and fermentation process. Generally, it is a three-month-long process.
There are several different soy sauces on the market. Some aren’t soy sauce at all but have the label. A popular soy sauce brand Kikkoman’s All-Purpose Soy Sauce contains:
Wheat, water, soybeans, sodium benzoate, salt, 1/10 of 1% of a preservative.
Kikkoman soy sauce is also available preservative-free, but this doesn’t change the vegan status. However, the pricing is more than is found in stores.
Less expensive manufacturers include La Choy. La Choy includes colorants and sweeteners in its formula. This brand simulates the soy sauce experience but is not directly soy sauce. Most customers say that it isn’t the best in terms of taste. However, it is technically a vegan soy sauce, so it makes our list.
La Choy’s ingredients are as follows:
Salt, water, corn syrup, hydrolyzed soy protein, caramel color, and potassium sorbate which is a preservative.
Is There Lactic Acid in Soy Sauce?
It may sound laughable or suspicious, but lactic acid is indeed found in some brands of soy sauce. Generally, “lactic” tends to raise eyebrows as it becomes confused with “lactose”, but it isn’t. Lactic acid is a type of bacteria used in the fermentation process. Even though it is still used, it is vegan safe.
Lactic acid is not created from any form of dairy or milk. It is generated from carbohydrates such as cornstarch instead.
Therefore, these types of soy sauce can be consumed if you are a vegan, and lactic acid can safely be eliminated from the questionable list.
Is There Fish, Meat or Shellfish in Soy Sauce?
While it does have a faint fishy or ocean-tasting flavor, it is due to the fermentation process. Soy sauce does not contain any fish whatsoever. There are no soy sauces that list dairy, meat, animal byproducts, or shellfish at all. The main ingredients of soy sauce are water, wheat, soybeans, and water which are vegan friendly.
Different Soy Sauce Brands: Are They Safe?
Here are some common brands of soy sauce. We go in-depth to see what is in them and whether they can, and should be consumed by vegans.
For a while, this manufacturer was engaged in animal testing. This allowed them to make questionable health benefits about their product. Thanks to PETA, which is a vegan activist group, they were forced to end this practice.
Again, any manufacturer who does animal testing or is cruel to animals is not considered to be vegan. It attacks the very core values of veganism. As mentioned above, even if the company doesn’t use any animal ingredients in their product, but still abuses animals, they are not considered vegan. Therefore, their product should not be consumed.
While many in the vegan community found Kikkoman’s actions deplorable, they did change their ways. They are still classified as a vegan since they have not labeled any animal products in their ingredient list.
La Choy Lite Soy Sauce and La Choy Soy Sauce are both vegan products. They do not contain any animal-based products in their brand. The lite version does list lactic acid, but again, this is a cornstarch fermentation process and nothing more.
While most people find it is not the tastiest, it is still safe for vegans to consume.
Amoy Soy Sauce
While this sauce is sweeter due to the sugar which is included in its ingredients, it is debatable as to whether it is vegan or not. There is some question as to whether it was made with bone char or not as a trace ingredient.
It doesn’t blatantly list animal ingredients; the simple response is that it is vegan friendly. Some versions of this product contain lactic acid, but as stated, this is of little concern to vegans.
Fusia Soy Sauce
Fusia Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce has sugar in it just like Amoy. However, there is no animal by-products or products found in it. So far, it appears to be vegan friendly.
There are no animal products located in Blue Dragon and it is advertised as vegetarian/vegan friendly.
Alid Soy Sauce
This is vegan as well, and the ingredients are similar to the others mentioned on the list. It is speculated that it is a private label from a larger manufacturer, however, that is just a rumor so far.
Is Dark Soy Sauce Vegan Friendly?
Dark soy sauce is similar in content to regular soy sauce. The difference is that it is aged for a longer time. It is also made to be more concentrated and thicker. It is still vegan.
Additionally, soy sauce-like Nama Shoyu is vegan. It is an unpasteurized soy sauce, but it is just as tasty as the regular types. Traditional raw vegans may avoid this product because it is heated over 115°. This is above the limit for the raw food lifestyle. However, vegans do enjoy this product and raw vegans aren’t generally concerned about this aspect.
Soy Sauce is completely safe for vegans and does not contain any animal byproducts. From the fermenting process to production, this product is completely safe from dairy, milk, meat, and meat byproducts. Those listed in this article do not engage in any animal testing or cruelty to animal practices.
There you have it, in short, yes, soy sauce is generally vegan friendly. It is a fermented soy product which comes with many health benefits. And lastly, soy sauce is great with our kimchi buns recipe if you are looking to do something with your verified vegan friendly condiment.