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Why honey just isn’t vegan

One of the first steps on your fantastic vegan journey is sifting through your cupboards, fridges and freezers, and understanding what foods are vegan and what aren’t. Honey is not vegan.

honey bee

The general rule of thumb is: if it comes from an animal or an animal was involved with the production of the product – then it’s not vegan. Having said this, certain foods/products can bring about some confusion.

Many people who are new to the plant based way of life will undoubtedly pick up a jar of honey that’s been laying round in the cupboard for ages and ask “is it vegan?” The best way to answer this question is to firstly ask: what is honey?

What is honey?

  • A sugary substance produced by bees
  • The bees make it by collecting flower nectar
  • The flower nectar is then broken down into simple sugars
  • Back at the hive, the nectar is ingested and regurgitated repeatedly in groups until the ‘honey’ can be stored in honeycomb cells
  • Once the honey is stored, the bees continue to process it by fluttering their wings to circulate air round it and evaporate the moisture out of it – this helps prevent fermentation
  • Wasps in certain areas of the world also produce honey
  • Honey is stored in the honeycombs as a nutritious food storage for the bees in the colder months

Honey might be healthy, but it’s just not vegan
You may hear from doctors, friends and relatives that honey is good for the body and is highly nutritious, antibacterial and antifungal. This all may be true, but as the number one natural health website states “it takes 60,000 bees…to make one pound of honey” so as it’s made by animals then it’s automatically not a vegan product/food.

The sad truth of honey is also that when an animal product is mass produced or extracted then animals are put on a production line and can often be mistreated. In the case of honey, even on small extraction processes from the hive, many bees can get injured and/or crushed. For more information on the honey industry check out this video.

What can I have instead of honey?

There are so many vegan friendly sweeteners out there, it’s crazy! No need to ever go near sugar or honey again. Some of the top ones are:
Mayple syrup
Agave nectar
Date syrup
Fruit syrup



Do you have something you wish to add to this article? Please include it in the comments below and we may add it to this piece. And if you enjoyed this article, maybe you will like our Vegan Survival Guide?

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1 comment

Hidden non-vegan ingredients in your food - Vegan Food UK December 18, 2017 at 8:21 am

[…] Honey – made by bees. Find out why it isn’t vegan here […]

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