Is ketchup vegan? If you've just gone vegan, you might be wondering if this iconic sauce is ok to put on your veggie burger. Well, the answer is more complicated than it seems. In this article we'll do a deep dive into all things ketchup so that we can answer the question 'is ketchup vegan?'
Ketchup is arguably the most popular condiment in the world. This tomato based sauce is the classic sidekick to french fries and veggie burgers. Aside from being a popular condiment, you'll also find it featured in dishes like baked beans and meatloaf.
So, is ketchup vegan? Let's take a look at the ingredients.
What Is Ketchup Made Of?
A bottle of Heinz tomato ketchup (the most widely sold brand of ketchup in the world) contains the following ingredients:
- Tomato concentrate from red, ripe tomatoes
- Distilled vinegar
- High fructose corn syrup
- Corn syrup
- Onion powder
- Natural flavoring
You'll notice that Heinz ketchup contains a lot of high fructose corn syrup. In fact, it comes in third in the list of ingredients.
So, what's high fructose corn syrup? It's the sweetener that gives ketchup that oh-so-sweet taste that makes it a favorite condiment of kids worldwide. And, this is where it gets tricky. While high fructose corn syrup is vegan, some brands of ketchup use cane sugar as the primary sweetener, which is sometimes processed with bone char. Given that bone char is an animal derived product, that means that ketchup that's sweetened with cane sugar may not be strictly vegan.
The question of whether or not a vegan decides to include or omit cane sugar in their diet is personal. In fact, some cane sugar is not refined with bone char. Some companies choose to refine sugar with granular carbon, which does not contain animal derived ingredients. In addition, organic cane sugar is never refined with animal derived ingredients. The problem is that unless the sugar is specifically marked as organic, there's no way to tell what ingredients were used in the refining process.
So, Can Vegans Eat Ketchup?
Vegans can safely eat ketchup that doesn't contain sugar in the ingredients. However, some vegans may choose to avoid ketchup brands that contain sugar, given that some sugar is refined with animal derived ingredients.
It's worth noting that Peta says, "Don’t stress too hard about sugar if you’re unsure about how it was produced. You’re saving more than 100 animals per year by following a vegan lifestyle, and the effect will snowball as people around you, inspired by your choices, may start trying vegan meals once you’ve shown them how easy it can be." At the end of the day, it comes down to personal choice."
As far as ketchup goes, there are so many brands that aren't sweetened with sugar, that if you're in the subset of vegans that avoids cane sugar, you can still get your dose of ketchup in.
What Brands Of Ketchup Are Vegan?
Here's a list of ketchup brands that are definitely vegan:
✅Heinz Tomato Ketchup
✅Target's Market Pantry Ketchup
✅Organic Simply Balanced Ketchup
✅Fody Foods Vegan Tomato Ketchup
✅Annie's Organic Ketchup
✅True Made Food's Ketchup
✅365 Organic Tomato Ketchup
✅Westbrae Natural Organic Unsweetened Ketchup
✅Veg’d Organics Vegan All-Natural Ketchup
✅Hunt's Classic Tomato Ketchup
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, Heinz ketchup is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. Heinz says, "we can confirm that the product is suitable for a vegan diet."
Yes, ketchup does expire. It should be disposed of after 6 months.
There's no need to refrigerate ketchup. The acid in the vinegar will keep it fresh outside of the refrigerator.