Is Nutella vegan?

Read Time:   |  14th February 2022

Although Nutella isn't vegan, there are some awesome vegan Nutella substitutes you can buy off the shelf or make yourself.

Spread it on pancakes. Smother it into bakes. Or, you know, spoon it straight into your mouth!

Nutella’s silky-smooth spread is the perfect blend of chocolate and hazelnuts, and if you’ve got a sweet tooth, it’s a certified cupboard essential.

But is Nutella vegan-friendly? And if not, what can vegans do to secure their fix?

In this article, we explain why Nutella isn’t vegan and show you what you can use instead.

Is Nutella vegan?

Despite Nutella being associated with dark chocolate and hazelnuts, did you know that the spread is actually primarily made from sugar and palm oil?

We also really hate to break it to you, but Nutella is not suitable for vegans. That’s because Nutella contains non-vegan ingredients like milk.

Why is Nutella not vegan?

According to its website, Nutella is made from the following ingredients: Sugar, palm oil, skimmed milk powder, cocoa, hazelnuts, lecithins, and vanillin.

Because Nutella contains skimmed milk powder it is not suitable for those who follow a vegan diet. This is because vegans do not consume animal products such as dairy due to the issues surrounding animal exploitation in intensive farming.

The milk powder in Nutella is used for a combination of functions within the product itself, including acting as an emulsifying agent which stops the product from splitting or curdling.

Additionally, palm oil is one of the main ingredients in Nutella, which many vegans choose to avoid for ethical reasons.

While palm oil is vegan, its production has a damaging impact on the environment and many species of animals. Because vegans choose to avoid products that harm animals and the environment, they will often opt for products that are palm oil-free.

Is there such thing as vegan Nutella?

Before you have second thoughts about your lifestyle and diet, you’ll be relieved to find out that plenty of vegan alternatives to Nutella exist!

Vegan chocolate hazelnut spreads, which are often referred to as Not-ella, are also made using hazelnuts and cocoa powder.

But, vegan alternatives replace the milk powder found in Nutella for an alternative emulsifier, such as soya lecithin, which is suitable for those following a plant-based diet.

Different brands of Not-ella use different ingredients to replicate the classic taste of Nutella.

Typically, the product will be heavy on cane sugar, but some brands, such as JimJams, opt to use natural sweeteners rather than sugar.

Certain brands will also use palm oil to make their product. Palm oil is inherently suitable for those following a plant-based diet, as no animals are involved in the production or manufacturing of the product.

However, as we mentioned before others may choose to avoid consuming products made from palm oil due to ethical concerns.

Got more burning questions about what’s vegan? Get the answers here:

Where can I buy vegan Not-ella?

You’ll be happy to know that vegan Not-ella can be found in most larger supermarkets these days.

Brands such as Vego, Nature’s Store, JimJams, Bonsan, Naturya, and Meridian all offer plant-based alternatives to Nutella.

Moreover, they can be found in the free-from aisles of most major supermarkets in the UK.

You’ll also find a selection of these products online at stores such as Ocado, Amazon, and some might even be hiding in your local independent health-food shop.

How to make your own vegan Nutella alternatives

If you don’t fancy buying Not-ella, there are plenty of absolutely delicious recipes for vegan Nutella you can make instead.

To make your own vegan chocolate hazelnut spread at home, you will need roasted hazelnuts, cocoa powder, olive oil, maple syrup, vanilla extract, salt, and a dash of hazelnut milk (or your favourite plant-based milk).

All you need to do then is to add the ingredients to a food processor and blend until you have a smooth and creamy paste. You can adjust the amount of maple syrup to make it sweeter, or add a splash more milk or oil if you’re struggling to blend the mixture.

Some recipes do require that you have a pretty speedy food processor or high-speed blender in order to achieve that smooth consistency.

But if you don’t mind the occasional chunk of hazelnut, any good food processor will do the job pretty well.

You can even make a tasty oil-free Nutella recipe if you are looking to cut down on your oil consumption.

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Written by

Charlotte Willis

Charlotte Willis is an Assistant Psychologist at the University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and has a MS degree in Clinical Neuropsychiatry from Kings College London. Charlotte is also a marketer for ethical brands, author of Vegan: Do It! A young person’s guide to living a vegan lifestyle, and a regular contributor to sustainability and plant-based publications.

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