Here is a little bit of a Heinz mystery for you.
First up, I was tagged in a post on Twitter alerting me to the fact that the No Added Sugar baked beans are not suitable for vegans.
This was further corroborated by the Vegan Wiki Twitter account that posted a photo of the following sign:
Vegans everywhere are scratching our heads because we can’t work out why these beans aren’t vegan.
The company advertise their No Added Sugar beans as suitable for vegetarians. There are no warnings about milk, eggs, or any animal derived ingredients on the label.
So, do us vegan police have it all wrong? Are these No Added Sugar Beans actually suitable for our lifestyle after all and this is a case of crossed wires?
Apparently not, according to the company itself.
This Twitter exchange in which Teen VGN asks the company to confirm has them confirming that the beans are NOT vegan (although in a somewhat confusing and elusive manner).
So, there we have it.
No Added Sugar beans by Heinz are not suitable for vegans but we don’t no why. The term ‘proprietary’ means that it is secret and they don’t want to disclose the ingredient.
One possibly is that the vinegar used is not vegan as that can sometimes be filtered with animal products in a similar way to some alcohol. However, if this was the case, the product would not be vegetarian either.
Until we find out how and why, the best you can do is stop eating the No Added Sugar beans and ask your local bean-serving restaurants and cafés if they are using the product for any of the vegan dishes.
Also, in absence of information we can do nothing but wildly and hilariously speculate what the hell is in these beans.
Sure, we might guess honey or even lanolin but I’m sure you can come up with something more inventive.
Answers in the comments below!
‘Naturally occuring sugars’ – lactose?
On the french label, it’s explicitely written “contains milk” for the flavour.
Most speculation seems to suggest honey. (Lanolin hadn’t occurred to me, but of course that could be used to make D3 in the mystery ingredient…)
It’s also possible that it comes from fruit coated with beeswax or shellac. And there are even various ways to use dairy products that don’t require allergy warnings – such as in lactose-free milk, or as a growth medium for xantham gum.
Either way, I guess I’ll be sticking to Sainsbury’s vegan-labelled “Basics” baked beans.
Castoreum can be listed as natural flavouring, but that would be quite a strange thing to use considering how hard is to obtain. Maybe someone at Heinz got a good deal on a job lot.
I emailed Heinz and they would not disclose anything!
‘Natural flavouring’ is always a concern as there is no knowing what is actually in it. Lots of horror stories, but manufacturers strangely not wanting to commit themselves to letting us know. It is very difficult to avoid though 🙁
Heinz have apparently now confirmed that they have honey in them 🙁
I’ve had a Twitter reply from Heinz in which they finally admitted that the mystery ingredient is “a proprietary natural ingredient, part of which is derived from honey amounting to less than 0.005% in the final recipe”… I asked them why they bothered with such a small amount instead of making the product suitable for all but funnily enough they never got back to me
A reply from Heinz, 30/4/2019
Our No Added Sugar Beanz include a tiny amount of a proprietary natural flavouring, part of which is derived from honey amounting to less than 0.005% in the final recipe.
This derivative from honey provides no sweetness to the recipe which is naturally sweetened with stevia plant extracts. The natural flavouring is used to match the signature taste of our standard Heinz Beanz. This means that our No Added Sugar Beanz are not suitable for Vegans but Vegans can continue to enjoy our standard Heinz Beanz.
…Which raises more questions than it answers, I think!