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Are Figs Vegan?

by Toni Olukiran

1min read

Though it might seem obvious whether figs are vegan or not, there is a lot of debate over it. We’ll break down both sides of the argument.

What are figs?

Figs are a fruit native to West Asia and the Mediterranean. They are sweet and delicate, and though not juicy, they still maintain a crisp and berry-like flavour.

Why don’t people think they’re vegan?

Figs mature in a way that has made people call into question whether they’re actually 100% plant-based. Figs are first flowers that are inverted, meaning that due to its shape it cannot be pollinated by the wind. Bees can’t pollinate figs either, as the hole in the flower is too narrow. Instead its pollinators come in the form of wasps. Female wasps crawl into fig flowers, and in the process lose their wings and antennae and become trapped. If the fig is male, the wasp lays eggs, which hatch and turn into larvae and then crawl out of the flower with pollen attached to them and continue the life cycle. If the fig is female, the wasp cannot lay eggs, but will have pollinated it. The female wasp, stuck, will die inside the flower. The fig however releases an enzyme that completely digests the wasp. 

So, are figs vegan?

Figs and wasps rely on this process for each other’s survival, and there are no dead wasps in figs. As a natural process, it doesn’t exploit wasps, so figs are generally considered to be vegan.

So there you have it. Have any more questions about vegan food? Let us know in the comments.

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Toni Olukiran
by Toni Olukiran

Toni is one of our lovely Content Marketing Assistants, and when she’s not writing posts about everything from Jamaican cooking to vegan champagne, she’s making a Spotify playlist (she was at 200, at her last count) or playing tennis in the park.

Read more from Toni


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