Are Nutter Butters Vegan? (All Biscuits Analyzed)

Christiana Mikesch, CPT
Published by Christiana Mikesch, CPT | Senior Coach
Last updated: June 21, 2024
FACT CHECKED by Dr. Kristy Dayanan, BS, MD
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Nutter Butters are the original and most popular peanut butter biscuit. It’s a product that has put Nabisco on the map, and its salty but sweet flavor is a big hit.

But are Nutter Butters vegan-friendly? What goes into these peanut butter biscuit beauties?

As a certified personal trainer, I coupled with a few experts from the field to uncover whether Nutter Butters are vegan-friendly or not.

You can see the results down below.

Quick Summary

  • Nutter Butters are not considered vegan-friendly due to ingredients like sugar, palm oil, and artificial flavors, which are either animal-derived or ethically problematic for vegans.
  • The article highlights four main problematic ingredients for vegans in Nutter Butters: sugar, palm oil, artificial flavors, and natural flavors.
  • According to one of the studies from the National Center for Biotechnology Information website, when sugar-beet factories bleach massecuite to remove the color coating of crystalline sucrose and make white sugar, the phenols and betaine of bleached crystal sugar (BCS) are reduced to 144 and 244 mg/100 g, respectively.
  • Personally, as someone interested in veganism, I find the ethical implications of ingredients like palm oil and sugar processing methods particularly concerning for conscientious consumers.

Are Nutter Butters Vegan?

Vegan Nutter Butters

No, while the ingredients are all plant-based, many wouldn’t consider Nutter Butters to be vegan.

If you take a look at the ingredients list, a few problematic ingredients are marked in bold that put off most vegans.

If you don’t want to dive too deep into the debate and choose to ignore these warning signs, that is entirely your choice.

Another reason Nutter Butters won’t list themselves as a vegan is due to cross-contamination with milk in the factory where they are made.

"The food choices we make every day have a profound impact on the environment. Ingredients like palm oil, often found in processed foods, contribute significantly to deforestation and habitat loss, affecting countless species."

- Dr. Jane Goodall, a renowned primatologist and environmental activist

Ingredients List

  • Unbleached Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate {Vitamin B1}, Riboflavin {Vitamin B2}, Folic Acid),
  • Sugar, Peanut Butter (Peanuts, Corn Syrup Solids, Hydrogenated Rapeseed And/Or Cottonseed And/Or Soybean Oils, Salt, Peanut Oil), Canola Oil, Whole Grain Wheat Flour,
  • Palm Oil, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Salt, Leavening (Baking Soda, Calcium Phosphate), Cornstarch, Soy Lecithin,
  • Artificial Flavor

4 Problematic Ingredients

Before we look at some of the other Nutter Butter products, let’s first examine the ingredients we highlighted in bold. Why are these plant-based ingredients problematic for someone following the vegan lifestyle?

1. Sugar

The reason why many vegans will avoid sugar on an ingredient label isn’t just for health reasons.

Some sugar is bleached with bone char to get that pure white color, and while you’ll be glad to hear there isn’t any actual bone in the product, the processing still makes it non-vegan.

According to one of the studies from the National Center for Biotechnology Information website, when sugar-beet factories bleach massecuite to remove the color coating of crystalline sucrose and make white sugar, the phenols and betaine of bleached crystal sugar (BCS) are reduced to 144 and 244 mg/100 g, respectively [1].

2. Palm Oil

Palm oil as nutter butters ingredient

From my own journey to sustainable eating, I've learned that palm oil, while plant-based, often doesn't align with vegan ethics. The environmental destruction caused by palm oil plantations was a key factor in my decision to avoid this ingredient in my diet.

According to another study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information website, the indirect health impacts of oil palm cultivation are less contested; clearing land for plantations by slash-and-burn practices has led to recurring episodes of harmful haze in South-East Asia [2]. In the study, bleached crystal sugar (BCS) contained 144 mg/100 g of phenols and 244 mg/100 g of betaine.

I am avoiding this ingredient wherever possible is the only way to send a message and reverse this trend.

3. Artificial Flavors

In my experience exploring vegan-friendly products, I've found that artificial colors and flavors, despite being synthesized in labs, are not truly vegan. The ongoing animal testing associated with these synthetic ingredients is something I actively avoid in my personal vegan lifestyle.

Due to the possible harmful effects of these synthetic ingredients, they are always going through testing. This means that animals are tortured and killed for every label you see them on. Not just rats and mice either, cats and dogs too.

4. Natural Flavor

During my vegan journey, I've encountered the ambiguity of 'natural flavors' in ingredient lists. These can be derived from animal sources, and like many vegans, I've learned to be cautious and often choose to avoid products with this vague labeling.

Are Nutter Butter Bites Vegan?

No, Nutter Butter Bites are not vegan. While the ingredients are all plant-based, the cross-contamination with milk in the factory and problematic ingredients like palm oil and artificial flavors would have most vegans avoid the product.

Ingredients

Ingredients of Nutter Butter Bites
  • Unbleached Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate {Vitamin B1}, Riboflavin {Vitamin B2}, Folic Acid),
  • Sugar, Peanut Butter (Peanuts, Corn Syrup Solids, Hydrogenated Rapeseed And/Or Cottonseed And/Or Soybean Oils, Salt, Peanut Oil), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Canola Oil,
  • Palm Oil, Whole Grain Wheat Flour, Salt, Leavening (Baking Soda And/Or Calcium Phosphate), Cornstarch, Soy Lecithin,
  • Artificial Flavor

Are Fudge Covered Nutter Butters Vegan?

No, Fudge Covered Nutter Butters are not vegan. They contain nonfat milk and other problematic ingredients such as palm, sugar, and artificial flavors.

Ingredients

  • Sugar, Unbleached Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate {Vitamin B1}, Riboflavin {Vitamin B2}, Folic Acid), Peanut Butter (Peanuts, Corn Syrup Solids, Hydrogenated Rapeseed And/Or Cottonseed And/Or Soybean Oils, Salt, Peanut Oil),
  • Palm Kernel Oil, Palm Oil, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Whole Grain Wheat Flour, Cocoa (Processed With Alkali),
  • Nonfat Milk, Cocoa, Salt, Soy Lecithin, Cornstarch, Leavening (Baking Soda, Calcium Phosphate),
  • Artificial Flavor, Natural Flavor 

Are Nutter Butter Cream Patties Vegan?

Nutter Butter Cream Patties

No, Nutter Butter Cream Patties are not vegan. The ingredients list is entirely plant-based and more vegan-friendly than you might first think.

The product is made in a factory that also handles milk, and controversial ingredients like sugar and palm oil mean they’re not THAT vegan-friendly.

Ingredients

  • Unbleached Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate {Vitamin B1}, Riboflavin {Vitamin B2}, Folic Acid), Peanut Butter (Peanuts, Hydrogenated Rapeseed And/Or Cottonseed And/Or Soybean Oils, Salt, Peanut Oil),
  • Sugar, Palm Oil, Dextrose, Cornstarch, Salt, Soy Lecithin, Baking Soda

Is Nutter Butter Cereal Vegan?

No, Nutter Butter Cereal are not vegan.

It is generally could considered vegan, though concerns exist about ingredients like sugar processed with bone char and ambiguous natural flavors.

Ingredients

  • Sugar, Corn Flour, Peanut Butter (Peanuts, Dextrose, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (Cottonseed, Soybean, Canola), Salt), Dextrose, Whole Grain Oat Flour, Canola Oil, Salt, Calcium Carbonate,
  • Natural and Artificial Flavor, Red 40, Yellow 5, Blue 1, Yellow 6, BHT Added To Preserve Freshness.

FAQs

What Controversial Ingredients in Nutter Butters Should Vegans Be Aware Of?

Nutter Butter and Little Debbies Nutty Bars contain non-vegan ingredients such as milk and eggs, making them unsuitable for ethical vegans. This is important as ethical vegans strictly avoid all animal-derived products.

Are There Vegan Alternatives for Vitamins B1 and B2 Found in Nutter Butters?

Yes, vegans can find alternative sources of vitamins B1 and B2 in various nuts and plant-based foods. These alternatives provide the necessary nutrients without relying on animal products.

What Are the Key Ingredients in Nutter Butter Cookies?

Nutter Butter cookies are made with enriched flour, sugar, vegetable oil, peanut butter, and cornstarch, along with soy lecithin as an emulsifier. The soy lecithin used is derived from soybeans, making it a crucial component in the cookie's texture.

Is Nutter Butter Certified Vegan and Suitable for Vegans?

Despite their popularity among some vegans, Nutter Butter products, including nutty bars, are not certified vegan. The potential inclusion of animal-derived ingredients like sugar and palm oil makes their vegan suitability questionable.

What Allergen Information Should Consumers Know About Nutter Butter Products?

Nutter Butter products may contain milk and egg ingredients, posing a risk for individuals with allergies to these items. However, the soy lecithin used in Nutter Butter is not considered an allergen by the FDA.


References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5876190/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5876190/
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About The Author

Christiana Mikesch, CPT
Senior Coach
Christiana Mikesch, CPT is a personal trainer and author with contributions to publications like the Chicago Tribune and Yahoo. She emphasizes a holistic approach to weight loss, combining an energy-fueling diet, goal-oriented workouts, and daily habits. Her approach avoids short-term goals and fosters a lifelong commitment to health and well-being.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Kristy June Dayanan, BS, MD is an author with a BS degree from University of the Philippines and an MD from University of Perpetual Help System. Her ability to simplify medical science complexities and dietary supplement jargon for the average reader makes her a valued medical fact checker and reviewer.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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