NO! Vegans Don’t Eat Honey.
With more and more people becoming conscious about the impact their diet has on the planet and on animals, veganism has seen a surge in popularity.
Beyond the obvious foods like meat, fish, eggs and milk, some people aren’t sure of some whether animal by-products can be eaten as part of a vegan diet.
Can a vegan eat honey? is perhaps one of the most common questions for new vegans. Read on to find out more! in this regard, with people unaware if can vegans consume honey as part of their diet.
There has also been debate about whether products such as avocados which rely on bees for cultivation are in fact vegan due to the migratory beekeeping involved.
Keep reading to find out why vegans abstain from honey, the exploitation and cruelty that is often involved in the production of honey and the best vegan honey substitutes.
Why Is Honey Not on a Vegan Diet?
Honey would not feature in a vegan diet as it is an animal product. Under the widely accepted definition of veganism, a person on a vegan diet does not eat food derived from animals and avoids the use of any animal products.
So let’s take a closer look…
The Vegan Society’s definition of veganism is that “In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.”
In practice, this means that a vegan would not eat any foods or use any products that contain ingredients that come from or are made by an animal including meat and fish, leather, fur, eggs and honey.
Is It OK to Eat Honey as a Vegan?
Whilst eating honey may not be considered the same as eating a direct animal product such as meat or fish, it would not be vegan to eat honey because it’s produced by an animal.
But it doesn’t stop there.
The reason why vegans abstain from eating honey is not just because it’s derived from animals, but also because the commercial production of honey involves cruelty to bees.
Percentage of Vegans Who Eat Honey
As there have been no surveys from reputable sources which ask those following a vegan diet whether or not they eat honey, it is difficult to say what percentage of people following a predominately vegan diet choose to include honey.
There is still an ongoing debate about whether people that eat honey would still be considered vegan and whilst in theory the answer would be no, the fact that its still a hot topic suggests that there is still some confusion amongst vegans and non-vegans.
Is Honey Cruelty Free?
We know what you’re thinking…
Bees create honey naturally, so what’s the harm in taking it?
At first, it can be difficult to imagine how exactly bees would be harmed in the production of honey.
Whilst it is true that bees create honey as part of their natural lifecycle, they rely on this honey as a food source to live and thrive within their hives and so taking it is harmful to the colony.
Honey provides bees with a source of energy and nutrients which keep them fed during the winter months.
But is it really that bad?
As well as taking their much needed honey, the practice of commercial beekeeping also includes many methods which many would consider cruel, these include:
- Queen bees may have their wings clipped so that they cannot leave the colony.
- Commercial hives impact the populations of other insect species including other wild bees as they are competing for the pollen.
- This can have a negative impact on the local environment and result in declining local bee populations.
- This is particularly worrying given that wild bee populations are being decimated globally.
- Bees are often selectively bred to maximise honey yields. This practice can make hives more susceptible to diseases.
- After taking the honey, beekeepers feed bees a substitute sweetener to keep them alive.
- Unfortunately, this substitute doesn’t provide all the nutrients a healthy colony needs. which can result in unhealthy hives or bees overworking themselves to replace the honey.
- Queen bees may be artificially inseminated to produce honey. Throughout this process, the male bee is likely to killed.
- There is also a thriving market for queen bees which can be ordered and shipped across the world. Transporting these animals can be extremely stressful for them and deaths in transit occur often.
- When removing honey from a hive, bees can of course become stressed and sting the farmer.
- Because of the anatomy of their stinger, most bees die after stinging.
- Another unfortunate and largely unavoidable consequence of removing honey from a hive is that the bees are crushed or injured due to handling.
- Whilst these methods are more prominent in commercial beekeeping, even small scale traditional beekeepers will use some of the same methods making it very difficult to limit cruelty to bees when buying honey.
Here’s what the Vegan Society says about honey…
Is Manuka Honey Vegan?
Manuka honey is a product that raises even more questions for new vegans as it is made from a nectar derived from the manuka bush.
However, Manuka honey is still created by bees and therefore would not be considered vegan.
In addition, other products created by bees such as royal jelly and beeswax which are often used in candles, creams and other beauty products would not be considered vegan.
Fortunately, there are many vegan alternatives to honey and other products.
These include candles made from soy and beauty products that use natural and cruelty free ingredients which also ensure no animal testing is carried out in their production.
Can I Call Myself a Vegan If I Eat Honey?
Under the accepted definition of veganism, somebody that consumed honey would not be considered vegan; this is because honey is an animal product.
Despite this, some would argue that eating a fully vegan diet with the exception of honey is still significantly better for animals and the planet compared to being an omnivore.
But the bottom line is this:
Whilst honey certainly isn’t vegan, there are so many alternatives to honey now available. This means that there’s really no reason you can’t get your sweet fix without harming the bees that are absolutely vital for food production our planet.
Best Vegan Honey
If you are looking for a vegan honey alternative, you’re in the right place. As people look to reduce the use of animal products in their diets and lifestyles, several alternatives have become available with many using products and ingredients such as:
- Maple syrup
- Golden syrup
- Syrup from fruits such as dates
- Stevia and sugar
- Agave nectar
So give it a go!
If you’re looking for a product that’s designed to taste exactly like honey, brands are now creating specially created alternatives to honey made from combinations of ingredients like sugar, apple juice, molasses and flowers.
Within our range, we have vegan substitutes for honey including the popular vegan ‘honea’ from Plant Based Artisan and coconut nectar which is produced by Cocofina and can be used exactly like traditional honey.
Can Vegans Eat Avocado?
The popular British quiz show QI (Quite Interesting) sparked a debate around whether certain fruits such as avocados are vegan when a question asked contestants if a list of foods (including avocados) were vegan.
Contestants were shocked when the presenter claimed that all the foods listed including almonds, avocados, kiwi, melon and butternut squash were not vegan for “the same reason as honey”.
The explanation given was that these crops are difficult to cultivate naturally and therefore rely on the use of bees which are transported long distances, this unnatural use of animals is the reason why they would not be considered vegan.
Here’s the truth:
Whilst there is a certain logic behind the statement, many vegan groups were quick to dismiss it, with The Vegan Society stating that many forms of farming involve indirect harm to animals and that vegans avoid using animals as far as is possible and practicable.
What’s more, unlike honey, bees do not produce avocados, melons and other fruits that they help pollinate nor rely on them as a food source and therefore, they are not considered to be animal products.
So, if you’re worried about bees or other animals being exploited in the production of your foods, the best way to reduce harm is to shop locally, use in season ingredients and promote the vegan movement to help more people live a cruelty free life.
Shop a Full Range of Vegan Products
We hope that this post has helped you understand why honey is not classed as vegan and opened your eyes to the amazing alternatives that are available.
If you are vegan or interested in eating more plant based foods, our vegan supermarket has everything you need to live a cruelty free lifestyle whilst also reducing your impact on the environment.
Honey is just one of the many products within our extensive range which includes household items, food and drink, cupboard fillers, beauty products and so much more!
Order now and get delivery straight to your home!