Are Nutter Butters Really Vegan? The Bottom Line


Are Nutter Butters Vegan?

Nutter Butter is a popular brand of cookie that’s been around for a long time—since the late 1960s. It’s currently owned by Nabisco, a subsidiary of Mondelez International.1,2 It’s one of the best-selling peanut butter cookie varieties in the US, and it’s estimated that around a billion are eaten each year.3,4

Because they’ve been popular for so long, vegans often wonder if they have to give up the tasty treat after transitioning to a vegan diet.

Are they vegan? Yes, Nutter Butters are 100% vegan. They’re mostly made of enriched flour, simple sugars, peanut butter, and various plant oils, all of which are non-animal-derived.

What we’ll do here is go over the various ingredients and why they’re considered vegan.

Why Nutter Butters Are Considered Vegan

Nutter Butters Contain Plant-Based Ingredients and Vegan-Friendly Additives

Ingredients for Nutter Butters include:5

  • Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Folic Acid)
  • Sugar
  • Peanut Butter (Roasted Peanuts, Corn Syrup Solids, Hydrogenated Canola, Cottonseed And Soybean Oils, Salt)
  • Soybean Oil
  • Rolled Oats
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Partially Hydrogenated Soybean And Cottonseed Oils
  • Salt
  • Leavening (Baking Soda, Calcium Phosphate)
  • Cornstarch
  • Soy Lecithin (Emulsifier)
  • Vanillin (An Artificial Flavor)

Nutter Butters Don’t Contain Honey or Lactose

A number of sugar sources are commonly used in bread products. Granulated sugar, brown sugar, molasses, maple syrup, and honey are the most common sweeteners used in bread flour mixtures.6

Lactose is another common simple sugar added to bread products. It’s the natural sugar found in milk. Unlike lactic acid which tends to be produced by fermentation of LA-producing bacteria, lactose is always non-vegan.

The added sugars help bring out the flavors of the other ingredients when used in bread products ranging from yeast breads to cookies and other sweets. The sugar content of bread products also caramelizes during the cooking process helping give the end product a nice brown color.6

For whatever reason, honey tends to be a popular sweetener in peanut butter flavored snack foods. If you find a PB-flavored granola bar, for example, you definitely want to check to see if honey is in the mix. Fortunately, honey is not used in this PB food product.

Both substances (honey and lactose) are non-vegan. Lactose is the only sweetener that’s truly of animal origin.7

Honey is also considered animal-derived because, though it’s produced from the nectar of flowers, it’s harvested from bees.7

Luckily there are other vegan-friendly sweeteners that tend to be used in processed food products. Nutter Butters make use of sugar and high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

I say luckily because for a long time the world depended primarily on honey as a sweetener in food products.9

Bone char can be used in sugar, but not all sugar contains the stuff and the food product is largely considered to be suitable for vegan consumption.8

HFCS is also a vegan-friendly food product. Syrups are solutions of water and sugar that vary widely in viscosity due to their varying degrees of carbohydrate concentration.

Nutter Butters Don’t Contain Palm Oil

Palm oil is a very common oil used in processed snack foods. Nutter Butters contain other plant-based oils like soybean, canola, and cottonseed oil.5

Keep in mind, that even if palm oil was present in Nutter Butters, that wouldn’t render the product non-vegan by most standards.

Palm oil is a very controversial topic, even among very strict vegans. Not all vegans avoid consuming the product, but many in the community do consider it non-vegan or, at the very least, try to limit its intake.

It’s controversial due to its impacts on the environment.10,11

Habitat loss due to deforestation is one concern, and is thought further threaten already critically endangered species like the orangutan.12-15

Then there’s the issue of greenhouse gas emissions.11,16-18  Palm oil cultivation necessitates the clearing of vast areas of land which contributes directly to rising levels of greenhouse-gas emissions.16,19

Again, it’s not considered to be non-vegan by most standards, but it’s nice to know when a commonly consumed food product doesn’t contain the stuff.

That’s about it for Nutter Butters. Thanks for reading.

You may also want to check out the following related articles:

References

  1. Kundu, Rhik (2 November 2018). “Mondelez set to bring global offerings to India”. LiveMint. https://www.livemint.com/Companies/C08aIpijzW1P3AUv7WnljN/Mondelez-set-to-bring-global-offerings-to-India.html
  2. “Oreos vs. Nutter Butters: The Showdown”. Carter Blood Care. 30 June 2016. http://www.carterbloodcare.org/oreos-vs-nutter-butters-the-showdown/
  3. “NUTTER BUTTER”. Mondelez International Foodservice. https://www.foodservice-snacks-desserts.com/ProductsandBrands/OurBrands/NutterButter
  4. Stall, Sam; Harry, Lou; Spalding, Julia. The Encyclopedia of Guilty Pleasures: 1001 Things You Hate to Love. Quirk Books. p. 193. ISBN 1931686548. https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=LqaOE25UiMsC&pg=PA193&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false
  5. Nutter Butter Ingredients. https://www.nutritionix.com/i/nabisco/nutter-butter-cookies/559e9f1d6a3f6ac44eb3eb1a
  6. Understanding Food: Principles and Preparation (Page 419). Amy Brown – Wadsworth Cengage Learning – 2011
  7. Understanding Food: Principles and Preparation (Page 436). Amy Brown – Wadsworth Cengage Learning – 2011
  8. Is Sugar Vegan? https://www.peta.org/living/food/is-sugar-vegan/
  9. Understanding Food: Principles and Preparation (Page 439). Amy Brown – Wadsworth Cengage Learning – 2011
  10. Clay, Jason (2004). World Agriculture and the Environment. p. 219. ISBN 978-1-55963-370-3.
  11. “Palm oil: Cooking the Climate”. Greenpeace. 8 November 2007. Archived from the original on 10 April 2010.
  12. “The bird communities of oil palm and rubber plantations in Thailand” (PDF). The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). Archived (PDF) from the original on 6 October 2016.
  13. “Palm oil threatening endangered species” (PDF). Center for Science in the Public Interest. May 2005. Archived (PDF) from the original on 17 September 2012.
  14. Shears, Richard (30 March 2012). “Hundreds of orangutans killed in north Indonesian forest fires deliberately started by palm oil firms”. Daily Mail. London. Archived from the original on 20 April 2013.
  15. “Camera catches bulldozer destroying Sumatra tiger forest”. World Wildlife Fund. 12 October 2010. Archived from the original on 16 January 2013.
  16. Foster, Joanna M. (1 May 2012). “A Grim Portrait of Palm Oil Emissions”. The New York Times. Archived from the original on 16 January 2013.
  17. Yui, Sahoko; Yeh, Sonia (1 December 2013). “Land use change emissions from oil palm expansion in Pará, Brazil depend on proper policy enforcement on deforested lands”. Environmental Research Letters. 8 (4): 044031. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/8/4/044031. ISSN 1748-9326.
  18. “Researchers warn against high emissions from oil palm expansion in Brazil”. phys.org. 13 November 2013.
  19. Rosenthal, Elisabeth (31 January 2007). “Once a Dream Fuel, Palm Oil May Be an Eco-Nightmare”. The New York Times. Archived from the original on 9 September 2017.

Drew Davis

Hi! I'm Drew and this is the place where I nerd out about vegan and plant-based diets. I have a BS in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Alabama and have taken dozens of classes in areas like organic and biochemistry, food science, medical nutrition therapy, nutritional genomics, and vegetarian diets. I'm still learning every day, and on this blog, I'll be sharing everything I discover about vegan diets as I go.

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