If you are at the start of your veganism journey and you love honey, you may wonder about whether or not honey is vegan. In this article, we answer the question: “Is honey vegan?”
What is Honey?
Honey is a thick golden liquid popularly seen on our breakfast tables. We spread it on our bread, pancakes, add it to cereals, or use it to bake.
Honey is made from nectar that bees collect from flowering plants.
Actually, it is more complicated than that. Bees take the nectar through a lot of processes to make it honey. They return to the hive with the nectar and pass it on to other bees through regurgitation. It is then passed on to more bees until it gets to the honeycomb.
After, the bees fan the liquid to evaporate the extra water in the nectar.
So, Is It Vegan?
Whether honey is vegan or not is not straightforward. It depends on who you ask.
The Vegan Society, for example, says that honey is not vegan.
“Honey is made by bees for bees, and their health can be sacrificed when it is harvested by humans. Importantly, harvesting honey does not correlate with The Vegan Society’s definition of veganism, which seeks to exclude not just cruelty, but exploitation,” the organization states.
During commercial honey production, the queen of the colony is usually artificially inseminated, with her wings removed to prevent her from leaving to colonize another hive. This method of making honey is harmful to bees. Therefore, most experts agree with The Vegan Society and classify honey as not vegan.
However, some vegans disagree. Some vegans believe that vegans can eat honey that is not made by major commercial factories. Vegans who eat honey purchase raw honey locally to prevent participation in bee exploitation.
In conclusion, honey is generally considered as not vegan for ethical reasons. However, some vegans claim locally made raw honey is vegan.
Honey Alternatives For Vegans
Fortunately, there are several alternatives to honey for vegans who would like to consume something of similar taste.
The most popular honey alternatives are agave nectar and maple syrup.
Agave nectar is a sweet product produced by combining various species of the agave plant. Conversely, maple syrup is made from the xylem sap of sugar maple, black maple, and red maple trees.
Other honey alternatives for vegans include brown rice syrup, barley malt syrup, sorghum syrup, and coconut nectar.
To ensure you are consuming a product that is in line with your principles, it is always advisable to look into the method production.