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Is Sugar Vegan?

by Toni Olukiran

1min read

We use sugar in everything from coffees to cupcakes, but is it actually vegan? Find out here.

What is sugar made from?

Sugar is typically made from sugar cane or sugar beets, though the majority of the world’s sugar production comes from sugar cane. Sugar is extracted in its raw form from both plants before being milled and then refined.

Is sugar vegan?

Yes and no. Though it is plant-based, sugar is sometimes refined using bone char, which is the bone of cattle, thus making some types unsuitable for vegans.

Why is bone char used in the refining process?

Bone char is used as a means to decolourise sugar, giving it its white appearance as the char absorbs any remaining colour. However, only sugar from sugar cane is refined using bone char, while sugar from sugar beets doesn’t require this extra process. 

In the UK, most sugar is refined using an alternative means, meaning that a lot of sugar sold here is generally vegan. This includes big brands like Tate and Lyle and Silver Spoon, as well as store brand sugar from Tesco, Co-op and Morrisons. However, it’s always worth checking the label just in case!

It should also be noted that icing sugar is often not vegan though, as it uses dried egg whites.

Activated your sweet tooth? Have a go making these delicious cakes next. 

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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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