Is Nutella vegan? How to Choose a Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Spread
Necessity is the mother of invention, and Nutella is proof of that. After World War II, Nutella’s parent company, Ferrero, struggled to acquire cocoa. To make the most of what little cocoa the company had, Ferrero combined it with hazelnuts and sugar to create an iconic sweet spread. Today, Nutella is eaten for breakfast, dessert, or anytime in between.
Unfortunately for vegans, Ferrero’s Nutella contains additional ingredients, one of which is derived from non-vegan cow’s milk. Learn what’s inside Nutella and discover the plant-based alternatives available in our vegan guide.
Why Nutella is not vegan
Nutella contains relatively few ingredients and Ferrero is very transparent when it comes to ingredient sourcing information. While great for consumers, Nutella is still not a vegan spread.
The main non-vegan culprit is Nutella skimmed milk. Made from whole cow’s milk, skim milk (also known as skimmed and fat-free milk) has almost all of the milk fat removed. When the liquid is evaporated by a rapid spray-drying method, tiny milk particles remain. Powdered milk gives desserts fat content, texture and flavor without adding extra liquid.
Other Nutella Ingredients
Although the following Nutella ingredients are considered vegan, there are still some things plant-based consumers may want to keep in mind.
The sugar in Nutella comes from a mixture of beets and sugar cane. Beet sugar is always vegan because it only takes one process to turn root vegetables into table sugar. But cane sugar requires two steps, and the second step treats unrefined cane sugar with animal bone charcoal to whiten the crystals.
For this reason, some strict vegans abstain from processed foods containing sugar, as it is often difficult to tell the source from the label. However, most “practical and possible” vegans include sugar as a plant-based food.
Eco-conscious vegans can also avoid palm oil. The most produced and consumed vegetable oil in the world, oil palms grow in some of the most biodiverse forests on the planet. Unfortunately, farming and harvesting this versatile edible often destroys wildlife habitats.
Luckily, Nutella’s palm oil is 100% RSPO-certified sustainable, ensuring their products don’t contribute to deforestation.
Leticin is a common food additive and emulsifier that helps provide a smooth texture. It usually comes from non-vegan eggs or, as in the case of Nutella, from plant-based soy.
Did you know?
Nutella’s main ingredient, cocoa powder, also faces sustainability issues. These tropical plants only grow in equatorial regions, and as climate change creates warmer temperatures, the moisture these plants need to survive will disappear. Cocoa farmers, who are already under significant economic pressure, may have to choose between making a living and preserving otherwise undeveloped land.
Vegan alternatives to Nutella
Vegans don’t have to sacrifice their sweet tooth to indulge in a chocolate hazelnut spread. From easy-to-find grocery brands to emerging industry leaders, these plant-based options make vegan snacking a breeze.
Justin’s Chocolate Almond Hazelnut Butter
Related but unique, Justin’s Chocolate Almond Hazelnut Butter is a widely available vegan option. The blend of nut butters and thicker, grittier texture sets this spread apart from its peers. Justin’s also carries a Certified 100% Vegan label.
Organic Hazelnut & Cocoa Spread No Dairy Free Nocciolata
Nocciolata offers both vegan and non-vegan varieties of their Chocolate Hazelnut Spread. Certified organic and vegan, the dairy-free Nocciolata replaces sunflower oil with palm oil but otherwise resembles the classic version. This spread is known for its rich, nutty flavor with a fudge-like texture.
Nutiva Organic Hazelnut Spread
Available at many mainstream and specialty food stores, Nutiva’s Organic Hazelnut Spread also has vegan and fair trade certifications for its conflict culture ingredients. With 40% less sugar than Nutella, Nutiva’s spread isn’t as sweet and thinner in consistency, but still delicious.
tbh Hazelnut Cocoa Spread
New to the market, tbh contains only half the brand’s spreadable sugar and no palm oil. Organic cane sugar and cocoa powder mixed with pea protein give this vegan spread the benefit of having the most protein among popular hazelnut spreads. tbh also strives to use recycled plastic packaging.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Nutella dairy-free?
No. All Nutella products contain a derivative of milk, which makes them distinctly non-vegan.
Does Nutella contain eggs?
No. Nutella’s lecithin comes from vegan soy.
Will Nutella ever be vegan?
The Nutella brand is unlikely to ever be vegan. Still, with many plant-based alternatives readily available in markets, vegans can enjoy their Chocolate Hazelnut Spread.