If you haven’t heard of Nutella, you may be surprised to know that it is the world’s most
loved chocolate hazelnut spread. In fact, it is said that you can circle the earth 1.8 times
with the number of Nutella jars produced each year!
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Nutella spread is widely enjoyed with breakfast dishes such as toast, pancakes, bagels,
crumpets, and muffins. In addition to Nutella spread, a range of snack items, biscuits,
and chocolates are made with Nutella, with the delicious hazelnut spread now a
Is Nutella Vegan?
Unfortunately, Nutella contains one non-vegan ingredient: skim milk powder. For
chocolate lovers, the disappointment of the addition of skim milk powder is a feeling all
too familiar when reading the ingredient list at the grocery store.
Skim milk powder is derived from cow’s milk, and it seems to render several processed
foods unsuitable for anyone trying to avoid dairy.
Although some chocolate products are accidentally vegan, Nutella is not one.
Why Nutella Is Not Vegan-Friendly
Nutella has a thick, creamy consistency that comes from a blend of cocoa, hazelnuts,
and palm oil. Let’s take a further look at each ingredient. According to the official
website, Nutella contains just seven ingredients:
- Palm oil
- Skim milk powder
Sugar: Sugar is the main ingredient in Nutella. Sugar is typically derived from refined beet sugar
or refined cane sugar. Nutella, contains approximately 21 grams of sugar per two
tablespoons and is high in calories and fat.
The high sugar content gives the spread its sweet flavor and with over 5 teaspoons of sugar per serve, it is best enjoyed in moderation.
Palm oil: A controversial ingredient, palm oil, is a type of vegetable oil from the fruit of the palm oil tree. According to Nutella the palm oil used in the Nutella spread is 100% RSPO
Certified Sustainable Palm Oil from Malaysia and Indonesia.
Palm oil is not linked to plantations responsible for deforestation. Palm oil is one of the
world’s most-produced oils but is high in saturated fats, giving the desired texture to the
Hazelnuts: Hazelnuts are packed with nutrients and are a powerhouse of different vitamins, including copper, magnesium, thiamin, manganese, zinc, and vitamin E. Hazelnuts are also high in protein and antioxidants and may promote heart health. To benefit from the nutritional properties of hazelnuts, they are best consumed raw or roasted.
Skim milk powder: Skim milk powder is derived from cow’s milk which undergoes a quick heating and drying process to remove liquids and create a powder. The powder is not vegan because it is processed from cow’s milk and contains dairy. The water content is removed to increase shelf life, making skim milk powder the ideal ingredient in a range of processed food.
Cocoa Powder: Cocoa powder is high in phytonutrients and contains high zinc, selenium, and iron.
Cocoa powder is made from cocoa beans and offers a rich chocolate flavor and plenty of nutrients. Dark chocolate contains a higher concentration of antioxidants and is a healthier alternative to milk chocolate. Cocoa powder also can be made from cocoa butter, which is totally vegan despite the “butter”.
Lecithin: A commonly used food preservative made from soybean. Lecithin is a fatty substance
that can provide processed food like Nutella with a smooth texture and consistency, which prevents the product from separating. Lecithin can also be found in nutritional supplements as it is said to help increase good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol.
Vanillin: Vanillin is a synthetic vanilla extract that provides a similar flavor profile as natural vanilla extract (taste and aroma). It may also be called imitation vanilla extract and is ideal for cooking and baking recipes at a high temperature.
Why Is Nutella ‘Not Vegan?’
The addition of skim milk powder in Nutella is why this chocolate spread is not suitable for vegans. A vegan lifestyle encourages removing all animal products from the diet, including by-products such as dairy. In addition, skim milk powder is not suitable for those with a milk allergy.
Is Nutella Healthy?
Is Nutella a good option at the breakfast table? If you are looking from a nutrition point
of view, unfortunately, there is nothing much in Nutella to speak highly of. While
chocolate hazelnut spread might be delicious and suitable in moderation, it does
contain a high level of sugar, salt, and saturated fat.
Furthermore, the company Ferrero, which makes Nutella, was sued for false
advertisement stating that Nutella had certain nutritional and health benefits and could
be part of a healthy breakfast. As a result, the company paid $3 million in 2012, and the
brand has since had to make changes to its product marketing
The good news is that there are several plant-based alternatives to Nutella. A
plant-based option will not contain any animal-derived ingredients and suitable for
vegans and vegetarians. You might also like to consider a plant-based alternative if you
cannot consume dairy products such as milk or cream.
Here are our top three vegans hazelnut chocolate spread alternatives that are 100%
dairy-free and delicious:
- Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut and Almond Butter Blend
- Artisana Hazelnut Cacao Spread
- Nutiva Classic Hazelnut Chocolate Spread
Home-Made Vegan Nutella
Perhaps the best solution is a delicious homemade hazelnut spread to replace Nutella.
Making your own healthier version of hazelnut chocolate spread is so simple you can
make it with a few vegan-friendly ingredients and a food processor.
We recommend this super easy, vegan, gluten-free recipe by The Minimalist Baker.
Nutella is not vegan-friendly as it contains skim milk powder, but many plant-based
hazelnut alternatives are on the market. Even better, you can easily make a homemade
vegan Nutella spread with a few simple plant-based ingredients.