Is Honey Mustard Vegan?


Is honey mustard vegan?

Most are aware that mayo is non-vegan, but what about honey mustard? Honey mustard is a popular condiment that’s commonly consumed with chicken (nuggets, etc.). Obviously, we don’t eat chicken, but the stuff is delicious and would go great with vegan-friendly mock chicken.

Is it vegan? No, honey mustard is not considered vegan. As the name suggests, it’s a blend of honey and mustard, usually mixed in a 1:1 ratio.1 Because honey is largely considered non-vegan, it rules out any condiment containing the stuff. However, there are vegan “honey mustard” specialty products which which we’ll discuss below.

Folks who ask this question are usually new to the subject of plant-based diets and aren’t yet quite sure what a vegan diet allows and omits. So, what we’ll do here is get into the various reasons why honey is considered off-limits by most vegans.

After that, we’ll get into the various honey mustard options you have as a vegan. Don’t worry, you don’t have to give up this tasty condiment altogether.

Why Honey Mustard Is Considered Non-Vegan

Above I said “most” vegans because I have known a few vegans in my time (even those who eat plant-based for ethical reasons) who did not actively avoid consuming the sweet nectar.

But, unlike some products that are controversial but not technically considered non-vegan, there’s a pretty large concensus that honey in the community that honey is unsuitable for vegan consumption.2

And, yes, this ingredient is considered by PETA to be non-vegan.3 Not that the organization has the final word or anything, but I mention their position as another example of the community-wide sentiment.

Why is it non-vegan? Honey is obtained from bee colonies, either wild or domesticated. On average, beehives put out somewhere around 65 pounds (or 29 kg) of honey per year.4

So, firstly, the honey is stolen. Bees produce honey for themselves, not for us. 

Secondly, the harvesting process involves a few practices that most consider inhumane. For one, beekeepers make heavy use of smokers for the purposes of pacifying the bees. Makes sense. After all, who wants to get stung a million times. I’ve seen the Rescue 911 episodes involving bee stings.

The smoke is effective in pacifying bees because it triggers a feeding instinct which makes the bees less aggressive, and also serves to obscure the pheromones bees need for communication.

Though it’s less common, harvesting used to be performed without the use of removable frames, making it necessary for bee colonies to be sacrificed in order to harvest the honey. The harvester would sequester all of the available honey starving the hive, and replacing the entire colony the next year.

Again, the introduction of removable frames has lessened the incidence of this unfortunate practice.

Other inhumane practices involve the snipping off of the queen bee’s wings which prevents it from leaving the colongy. The queen bee is then artificially inseminated. The queen bee is often artificially inseminated like cattle in factory farms.4

Sometimes beekeepers need to relocate a queen bee to a different colony. To do this, they trasfer the queen with a few bodyguards that are then killed off in the new colony.

Keep in mind that even if the collection process were completely humane, there’s a good chance that honey would still be considered non-vegan—at least, by most standards—given that any food involving direct exploitation of animals is supposed to be off-limits.

It is commonly used both on sandwiches and as a dip for finger foods such as chicken strips. It can also be combined with vinegar or olive oil to make a salad dressing.

Combinations of English mustard with honey or Demerara sugar are used in British cuisine to coat grilled lamb cutlets or pork chops.

Where to Get Vegan-Friendly Honey Mustard

Two options: one is to make your own which is super easy, and the other is to buy a specialty product.

The DIY Option

I’m not saying that the taste would be equivalent, but I’ve made my own—and so have many other vegans—and it the replacement comes pretty close.

There’s another naturally sweet nectar that comes from plants. You’ve probably heard of it, it’s called agave nectar. Like honey, it has a high water content and it’s nice and sticky. Again, not the same, but close.

It’s pretty sweet stuff and even has more fructose than honey. So, you’ll want to add a little agave at a time (to the mustard) until you get the taste just right.

Follow Your Heart Vegan Honey Mustard Salad Dressing

If you’re like me and too lazy to make your own in the long term, then this is a great option. I have a bottle myself and it’s very good.

Ingredients include:5

  • Expeller-pressed Canola Oil
  • Filtered Water
  • Brown Rice Syrup
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Soy Protein
  • Sea Salt
  • Mustard Flour
  • Lemon Juice Concentrate
  • Vegan Honey Alternative (Brown Rice Syrup, Maple Syrup, Agave Nectar, Natural Flavors)
  • Prepared Mustard (Vinegar, Water, Mustard Seeds, Salt, Turmeric, Spices, Natural Flavors)
  • White Wine Vinegar
  • Organic Dijon Mustard (Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, Water, Organic Mustard Seed, Salt, Organic Spices)
  • Onion
  • Whole Mustard Seeds
  • Xanthan Gum
  • Spices

Daiya Foods Inc Hon’Y Mustard Dressing

I haven’t tried this one, but Daiya puts out quality vegan replacements.

Ingredients include:6

  • Non-GMO Expeller Pressed Canola Oil
  • Filtered Water
  • Apple Juice Concentrate
  • Dijon Mustard (Water, Mustard Seeds, Apple Cider Vinegar, Sea Salt)
  • White Vinegar
  • Cane Sugar
  • Yellow Mustard (Water, Mustard Seeds, Apple Cider Vinegar, Sea Salt, Turmeric)
  • Sea Salt
  • Potato Starch
  • Potato Protein Isolate
  • Vegan Cultured Dextrose
  • Mustard Seeds
  • Mustard Flour
  • Lemon Juice Concentrate
  • Onion
  • Xanthan Gum
  • Vegan Natural Flavors
  • Spices

That’s it for the vegan status of honey mustard. Thanks for reading.

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

References

  1. Honey Mustard. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mustard_(condiment)#Honey_mustard
  2. Veganism As a Cultural Movement: A Relational Approach. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14742830600807543
  3. What’s Wrong with Eating Honey? https://www.peta.org/about-peta/faq/whats-wrong-with-eating-honey/
  4. “How honey is made”. US National Honey Board. 2018. Retrieved 29 June 2018. https://www.honey.com/about-honey/how-honey-is-made
  5. Follow Your Heart Dressing, Vegan Honey Mustard (12 Oz) https://www.instacart.com/products/485505-follow-your-heart-vegan-honey-mustard-dressing?utm_campaign=taurus&utm_content=retailer_product&utm_medium=web&utm_source=instacart_seo
  6. Plant-based Hon’y Mustard Dressing: Daiya Foods, Deliciously Dairy-free. https://daiyafoods.com/our-foods/dressings/hony-mustard-dairy-free-dressing/

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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