As a lover of Fig Newtons, you might want them to be a part of your new vegan lifestyle. Imagine the juicy fillings bursting in your mouth and tantalizing your taste buds for more. There is no end to delicious snacks like these. But are Fig Newtons vegan?
This question is tough. And even though you don’t want to know the answer, we’ll let you know now that you have finally landed on this article. Your beloved Fig Newtons may not be vegan.
Fall back, relax! Fig Newtons contain some problematic ingredients that may be considered non-vegan by some. Many vegans continue to consume these ingredients since they aren’t directly non-vegan.
There are many prevailing doubts regarding the ‘real’ ingredients of Fig Newtons. Many people believe that Fig Newtons contain some direct non-vegan ingredients. A portion of vegans doesn’t consider figs vegan altogether. Let’s take you through these insights so that you can decide better for yourself.
Do Fig Newtons contain whey?
Fig Newtons did contain whey as an ingredient in the past. According to their newest list of ingredients, they do not contain whey. There are no dairy-derived products in Fig Newtons. Although it is common for such chewy fruity candies to contain whey, this is not the case with Fig Newtons.
Do Fig Newtons contain gelatin?
It is very common to find gelatin in food products these days. Be it seemingly innocent frosted breakfast cereal or fruit-filled candy like Starburst. It is often surprising for vegans to find gelatin listed behind the most unexpected food items. If you begin counting how many packed foods you have eliminated because of the presence of gelatin, you’d come up with a new name every time you think you have listed all of them.
It wouldn’t be surprising if Fig Newtons did contain gelatin.
Gelatin is a substance made by boiling pig and cattle bones, tendons, ligaments, and skins in water. Fish are also often used in this process. This product of animal-cruelty is used by manufacturers to give their food a chewy and soft texture, just the way Fig Newton is on the inside.
But don’t worry, we have found out that Fig Newtons do not contain gelatin. Even though Fig Newtons have the perfect gelatinous texture, the manufacturers attain it through the fiber naturally present in the fig fruit.
Pectin is a plant-based soluble fiber extract that works just like gelatin in chewy foods. A small amount of pectin is also added to Fig Newtons.
This is good news if you presumed Fig Newtons do contain gelatin.
Do Fig Newtons contain egg albumin?
Many vegans ponder whether Fig Newtons also contain egg albumin to attain the gel consistency they are so popular for. Although it is extremely common for manufacturers to employ egg albumin in their food products, this is not the case with Fig Newtons.
Albumin is used as an aerator while making cookies and fruity candies to attain the ideal chewy texture. Neither the cookie portion nor the gel portion of Fig Newtons contains albumin.
Your major doubts about Fig Newtons are hence clarified. There are no direct non-vegan ingredients in there. So if you are a fan of these juicy gel-filled little cookies, you might as well carry on.
Fig Newtons do contain some problematic ingredients that drive many strict vegans away from them. Have a look at these.
These controversial ingredients in Fig Newtons might drive you away
Such ingredients are: Figs themselves, palm oil, processed sugar, natural and artificial flavors, and added colors.
Figs are a controversial fruit
While figs are a favorite fruit for many people, many vegans don’t consider it vegan. This is because figs contain remains of dead wasps.
A particular variety of wasps that is responsible for pollinating figs is often trapped inside the fruit in the process. The trapped insect is then broken down by the protein-digesting enzymes present inside the fruit. You are almost guaranteed to be eating dead insects when you are eating figs.
Strict vegans say that this is not the same as eating other fruits and vegetables. Insects are animals and these are dead bodies of insects that you are consuming in a fruit.
> Read more: Are figs vegan?
As an alternative approach, many vegans don’t think figs should be a topic of debate. You do not lose practicality while practicing veganism. The process by which the insect gets trapped in the fruit is natural and mutually beneficial to both species. This is quite unlike killing animals and consuming their meat.
Figs are very nutritious fruits and their consumption shouldn’t be a topic of debate. Many modern farms now cultivate a new commercial variety of fig that doesn’t contain any wasps. So the entire debate doesn’t lead anywhere. Figs are fruits, period.
Palm oil is ethically and environmentally dangerous
It is important for vegans to consider environment damage and ethical cruelty as equally devastating as animal cruelty. Palm is indeed obtained from palm plants, but that isn’t the complete story.
Palms are cultivated in very large scale commercial plantations that focus on profits at the cost of nonrenewable tropical rainforests. A lot of attention has recently been brought to the inhumane gross practice of large scale deforestation to clear land for capitalist palm plantations.
Not only does this factor contribute to global warming, but it also threatens the lives of many innocent inhabitants of these forests. Certain rare plant species have been completely lost to these plantations. Animals like the Orangutan have been rendered homeless and endangered. There’s a long list of animals that have been directly impacted by this change and have been pushed to the brink of extinction.
Palm oil is environmentally devastating. The plantations not only add to global warming, but their dead remains also release methane gas into the atmosphere which is more a culprit than carbon dioxide in causing the greenhouse effect.
If you look into the ethical responsibilities of brands before buying their products, you might as well have a look at what goes on in the palm plantations.
There are poor bonded laborers from underdeveloped countries who are hardly even paid in meager meals. Whole families toil and tumble in these plantations and even the children’s future is compromised. There is no escape from poverty and unfairness for these laborers. It is the ethical responsibility of vegans to not consume such products.
Processed sugar is a controversial ingredient
Fig Newtons are amongst the sweetest snacks you’d come across. They obviously contain a whole lot of processed sugar. You must be aware, quite many sugar mills in America use bone char for refining and filtering their cane sugar.
Bone char is a product of animal-cruelty made by burning animal bones at very high temperatures in combustion chambers. Bone char is used to absorb all impurities and unwanted colors from the original brown cane sugar. The final filtered and bleached sugar is thus pristine white in coloration.
Many vegans do not consume processed sugar for this very reason. They prefer organic or unfiltered sugar so that they don’t have to compromise. Since there could be bone char filtered cane sugar in packed food items, they choose to avoid their consumption altogether.
This may be considered an extreme step because not all sugar in America is filtered using bone char. Many sugar mills use granular activated charcoal instead of bone char. Some sugar factories do not produce sugar from cane at all. They use coconut and beet to obtain their sugar.
Since you never know where the sugar actually comes from, complete eradication of sugar may be an extreme step.
Natural and artificial flavors are hidden ingredients we never know about
It is a popular belief amongst vegans that natural and artificial flavors could be anything. The FDA has clearly stated that natural flavors can be derived from both plant-based and animal-based sources.
The rest is left to the conjecture of vegans. Natural flavors could be derived from anything that is edible and nobody knows what flavors go into Fig Newtons.
Fig newtons contain food dyes
Red 40 is often considered a vegan food colorant because of its basis of origin. It is obtained from petroleum. We hope you do not configure Red 40 with another food dye Red 4 which is obtained from crushed insects.
The problems with food dyes are larger than just their source of origin. All food colorants are tested on animals in laboratories to assess their safety for human use.
The animals often die from exposure. The ones that survive with complications are killed to avoid the hassle of treatment. These ruthless laboratories are in no way acceptable. Your so-called vegan food colorants undergo mandatory periodic testing on these animals.
So are Fig Newtons Vegan?
On the surface, Fig Newtons are completely vegan. Looking deeper into their list of ingredients, the problematic constituents may make you think otherwise.
Fig Newtons are vegan if you aren’t a strict vegan.