Figuring out whether Fig Newtons are vegan can be challenging.
Cookie makers often mask their ingredients behind vague terms such as “natural flavors,” and when they do provide a full list of ingredients, it can be hard to determine which ones are vegan.
To ensure that you are only eating food that aligns with your vegan lifestyle, I’ve investigated the ingredients and production process of Fig Newtons.
Here’s what I found out.
Are Fig Newtons Vegan?
No. Fig Newtons are not vegan.
Nabisco Fig Newtons are a popular soft-chew cookie. It was first introduced in the 1890s and has been a favorite snack of many since. The cookie is made with a fig filling that is enrobed in a pastry dough.
Unfortunately, vegans will not be able to enjoy this classic cookie because it contains non-vegan ingredients. The main non-vegan ingredient in Fig Newtons is sugar. Sugar is often processed using bone char, which is derived from animal bones, to make it whiter. As a result, many vegans choose to avoid sugar unless it is labeled “organic,” “raw,” or “unrefined.”
So, unless they say otherwise and their sugar and natural and artificial flavors are vegan, it’s safe to assume that Fig Newtons are not vegan.
Are Fig Newtons Cruelty-Free?
Yes. Fig Newtons are cruelty-free.
Fig Newtons are not tested on animals at any point in their production nor do they contain ingredients that are routinely tested on animals, like artificial colors.
In addition, Mondelez Int’l, the company that owns Nabisco, has a strict no animal testing policy.
Animal testing is an outdated and cruel practice that should be stopped. It only leaves innocent animals disfigured, maimed, or dead. Fortunately, many companies, including Mondelez Int’l, have turned their backs on it and are looking for more humane and ethical methods of product testing.
What Are Fig Newtons Made Of?
Here are the ingredients of Fig Newtons:
- Whole grain wheat flour
- Unbleached enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate [vitamin B1], riboflavin [vitamin B2], folic acid)
- Corn syrup
- Invert sugar
- Canola oil
- Palm oil
- Baking soda
- Calcium lactate
- Malic acid
- Soy lecithin
- Sodium benzoate (added to preserve freshness)
- Natural and artificial flavor
- Sulfur dioxide
Let’s break down each ingredient of Fig Newtons:
Fig paste is the main ingredient in Fig Newtons. Figs are a type of fruit that grows on fig trees. There are many different types of figs, but the most common type used in Fig Newtons is the black mission fig. Figs are vegan friendly.
Whole grain wheat flour
Whole grain wheat flour is made from grinding whole wheat kernels into a fine powder. It contains all parts of the wheat kernel, including the bran, germ, and endosperm. Whole grain wheat flour is vegan friendly.
Sugar is a sweetener made from cane sugar. It is often processed using bone char, a black porous substance made from animal bones, to make it whiter. As a result, many vegans choose to avoid sugar. Unless they say the sugar is raw, unrefined, or organic, it’s safe to assume that the sugar used is not vegan.
Unbleached enriched flour
Unbleached enriched flour is made by adding nutrients to white flour that were lost during the bleaching process. These nutrients include niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, and folic acid. Unbleached enriched flour is vegan friendly.
Corn syrup is a liquid sweetener made from cornstarch. It is often used in processed foods as a sweetener or to add moisture. Corn syrup is vegan friendly.
Invert sugar is a liquid sweetener made from sucrose. It is often used in processed foods as a sweetener or to add moisture. Invert sugar, like refined sugar, is mostly filtered using bone char, making it non-vegan.
Canola oil is a type of vegetable oil made from the crushing of canola seeds. Canola oil is vegan friendly.
Palm oil is a type of vegetable oil made from the fruit of palm trees. Palm oil is vegan friendly.
Salt is a mineral composed of sodium and chloride. Salt is vegan friendly.
Baking soda is a leavening agent used in baking. It is vegan friendly.
Calcium lactate is a calcium salt of lactic acid. It is often used as a food preservative or to add calcium to food. Calcium lactate is vegan friendly.
Malic acid is a type of fruit acid. It is often used as a food preservative or to add flavor to food. Malic acid is vegan friendly.
Soy lecithin is an emulsifier made from soybeans. It is often used in processed foods to help mix different ingredients together. Soy lecithin is vegan friendly.
Sodium benzoate is a food preservative made from sodium and benzoic acid. Sodium benzoate is vegan friendly.
Natural and artificial flavor
Natural flavors are extracts of plants or animals that are used to add flavor to food. Artificial flavors are chemicals that are made to mimic the taste of natural flavors. Natural and artificial flavors can be both vegan and non-vegan, depending on their source.
Sulfur dioxide is a preservative made from sulfur and oxygen. It is often used to preserve dried fruits. Sulfur dioxide is vegan friendly.
Why Aren’t Figs Newtons Vegan?
Fig Newtons are not vegan because they contain refined sugar, which is often filtered using bone char. Bone char is a black porous substance made from animal bones.
As a result, many vegans choose to avoid sugar. Unless the sugar used is raw, unrefined, or organic, it’s safe to assume that the sugar used in the product is not vegan.
Are Newtons Strawberry Cookies Vegan?
No. Newtons Strawberry Cookies contain refined sugar.
Newton Strawberry Cookies are not safe for vegan consumption.
Are Newtons Fat-Free Figs Vegan?
No. Newtons Fat-Free Figs Cookies contain sugar, invert sugar, and glycerin.
Newtons Fat-Free Fig Cookies are not safe for vegan consumption.
Are Newtons Whole Grain Cookies Vegan?
No. Newtons Whole Grain Cookies contain refined sugar and invert sugar.
Newtons Whole Grain Cookies are not safe for vegan consumption.
Are Mondelez International Nilla Wafer Cookies Vegan?
No. Nilla Wafer Cookies contain whey, eggs, and mono- and diglycerides.
Nilla Wafer Cookies are not safe for vegan consumption.
Vegan Alternatives to Fig Newtons
If you’re looking for a vegan-friendly alternative to Fig Newtons, there are several brands that make vegan fig bars. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Nature’s Bakery Blueberry Fig Bars
- Nature’s Bakery Raspberry Fig Bars
- Nature’s Bakery Apple Cinnamon Fig Bars
- Nature’s Bakery Original Fig Bar
- That’s it. Apple + Fig Fruit Bars
- LÄRABAR’s Apple Pie Fruit & Nut Bar
There may be no vegan fig newtons, but these fruity and nutty bars are a delicious and healthy alternative to Fig Newtons. You can find them at either your local grocery store or online. With so many delicious and vegan-friendly options available, there’s no need to miss out on your favorite childhood snack.
So, there you have it! Unfortunately, Fig Newtons are not vegan. However, there are plenty of delicious vegan-friendly alternatives on the market. So go ahead and enjoy a Fig Newton…or two! Just be sure to check the ingredients first to make sure they fit your dietary needs.