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Is Nutella Vegan and Cruelty-Free

Jason Hughes
Published by Jason Hughes
Fact checked by Markus Oliver, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: May 17, 2022

Originally created in Italy, Nutella is now enjoyed by people worldwide. Nutella is often used in recipes for cakes, cookies, and other sweet treats, thanks to its unique flavor. It can also be enjoyed on its own, spread on toast or pancakes.

What Is Nutella?

The Italian company, Ferrero, produces Nutella, a sweet cocoa and hazelnut spread. The company is also among the largest producers of chocolate. Ferrero founder Pietro Ferrero experienced a cocoa shortage during the Second World War. To solve this issue, he opted to combine hazelnut and chocolate to make a spread for consumers.

Most consumers use Nutella spread for breakfast dishes such as pancakes, toast, bagels, muffins, and crumpets. Some companies make their biscuits with the Nutella spread layer in the middle or as they bake the product. Many people use Nutella in place of peanut butter. They may be under the impression that it is vegan since it has hazelnuts as an ingredient. However, vegan consumers need to examine the rest of the ingredients before they think about consuming Nutella.

Is Nutella Vegan?

Most people have asked about the nature of Nutella. The products have several ingredients, and one needs to scrutinize them to see if they are vegan.

Major Nutella Ingredients

  • Sugar- If the sugar is refined using bone char, the sugar is non-vegan. Note that sugar makes up 57% of Nutella's content.
  • Hazelnuts- are purely plant-based. Every jar contains more than 50 hazelnuts.
  • Palm oil- Palm oil gives Nutella a creamy and spreadable texture. Palm oil is vegan since it is extracted from palm oil plants in various plantations in South East Asia, Latin America, and Africa.
  • Cocoa- Cocoa plantations in West Africa produce most of the cocoa in Nutella. The cocoa beans are processed and roasted into a dark and fine cocoa powder. The cocoa powder gives Nutella its rich brown color.
  • Lecithin- The Nutella manufacturing process uses soy lecithin. Soy lecithin is a fatty substance that doubles up as a filler while keeping the ingredients together. It helps in making Nutella smooth and spreadable in a uniform texture.
  • Skim Milk powder
  • Vanillin is an extract from vanilla beans; Ferrero uses synthetic vanillin.

When you take a look at the ingredients, you realize that Nutella contains lecithin even though the label on the jar claims that the product is purely vegan! However, the lecithin that Ferrero uses is soy-based. The product has one non-vegan ingredient- skim milk powder. Sugar, palm oil, vanillin, and cocoa are all plant extracts.

Nutella Contains Skim Cow Milk

For vegans who have been wondering if Nutella is vegan. The first clue is examining the origin of the skim milk powder used to make Nutella. The skim milk is produced by quick heating cow’s milk and drying it to remove liquid. The resulting powder is one of the major Nutella components.

Milk certainly is not vegan, but one of the seven items that Nutella has listed as part of its popular spread. Nutella is made up of milk, and therefore it is not vegan.

Does Nutella Contain Lactose?

Nutella contains skim cow milk. It is not dairy-free and does not contain lactose. Therefore, the product has a negative impact on those with lactose intolerance or lactose sensitivity.

What makes Nutella so delicious?

Nutella contains sugar, hazelnuts, fats, and chocolate. More than half of the world’s hazelnuts are incorporated into Nutella. The spread also contains skim milk, which makes it more delicious. The ingredients explain why most Nutella consumers can't resist taking more than one spoonful of the spread!

Which Ingredients Make Nutella So Addictive?

Nutella is rich in cocoa that has tryptophan, which is an addictive substance. Tryptophan is an amino acid precursor to serotonin which causes high feelings of elation. Therefore, when you consume a few spoons of Nutella, you are likely to feel excited and positive.

What Is Nutella’s Nutritional Value?

Two tablespoons of Nutella weigh approximately 37 grams and contain;

  • Fat: 12 grams
  • Sugar: 21 grams
  • Protein: 2 grams
  • Calories: 200 grams
  • Iron: 4% of the RDI
  • Calcium: 4% of the RDI

Note that Nutella’s iron and calcium content are quite low. After examining the high levels of sugar, palm oil, and skim milk in Nutella, by now, you are wondering if you can get an alternative.

Best Vegan Alternatives to Nutella

Skim milk is from a bovine source, but you can try other chocolate hazelnut butter. Others have less sugar and do not contain skim milk.

Dairy-free Nutella Vegan Alternatives

Peanut Butter

If you're looking for a delicious and nutritious spread that's both vegan and gluten-free, peanut butter is a great option. Peanuts are a type of legume, so they're packed with plant-based protein, fiber, and healthy fats. And since peanuts are naturally gluten-free, peanut butter is a great option for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities. Just be sure to check the label to make sure your peanut butter doesn't contain any added sugars or other ingredients that aren't vegan or gluten-free.

Peanut butter does not contain hydrogenated oil, excess sugar, and lecithin additives.

Two spoons of peanut butter typically contain

  • Carbohydrates- 11 grams
  • Fat: 13 grams
  • Calories: 170 grams
  • Protein: 2 grams
  • Iron: 2% of RDI
  • Calcium: 6% of RDI

Pyure Organic Hazelnut Spread with Cocoa

This spread is a better alternative to Nutella for vegans. It is also a more healthy spread because it has less sugar. The manufacturers use stevia for sweetening instead of sugar. The Pyure Organic Hazelnut spread does not contain palm oil as one of the ingredients. It is gluten-free and doe not have any tree nuts or peanuts.

  • Calories: 140
  • Sugar: 2 grams
  • Fats: 11 grams
  • Carbs: 19 grams
  • Calcium: 4% of RDI
  • Protein: 3 grams
  • Iron: 15% of the RDI.
    Nutiva Vegan Hazelnut Spread
    It is also a non-GMO vegan chocolate hazelnut spread. It is also a popular choice among vegans since it does not contain skim milk.
    Justin's chocolate hazelnut butter
    It has less sugar, is grainy, and is rich in Hazelnuts. It also has a rich chocolate and nutty flavor.
    If you are concerned, these shop-bought spreads might contain non-vegan ingredients; the best way is to make your homemade spread without the tons of sugar and Palm oil. Making your vegan chocolate spread eliminates most of the unnecessary ingredients and puts you in the driving seat regarding what you are consuming.

Easy Recipe for Vegan Nutella at Home

Ingredients for Home-Made Nutella

  • Nut Butter
  • Maple Syrup
  • Cocoa powder or dark chocolate
  • organic cocoa butter
  • Vanilla extract
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Coconut sugar

Instructions for Making Vegan Chocolate Spread?

Step 1: Put all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk well.

Step 2: Scoop a little of the mixture and taste it. Make adjustments to the ingredients that need to be added. If you want a sweet spread, you can add maple syrup. If you want a thicker spread, add more nut butter to the mixture and a few spoons of cacao powder. If the spread is too thick, you can add a few teaspoons of water and whisk until you get the best consistency.

Step 3: Rinse a glass jar and dry it thoroughly; then, put the vegan spread inside and refrigerate. If it becomes hard, you can whip it before using it.

Final Thoughts

Nutella contains skim milk powder, Which means that technically Nutella is not vegan. However, there are many plant-based alternatives to Nutella that are just as delicious. So, if you're looking for a vegan-friendly chocolate hazelnut spread, be sure to check out one of these options. Additionally, you can always make homemade hazelnut and chocolate spread, which could be even more delicious as it can be tailored to your taste.


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