Are Butterfingers Suitable For Vegans? Or Do They Have Milk?

When you take a bite off a Butterfinger bar there’s a sweet, peanut-y flavor that dissolves in your mouth. Combined with the crunchy texture and chocolate coating, you have a candy bar that is addicting and difficult to say goodbye to.

Though let’s face it. There’s a bunch of other candy bars that are equally delicious.

Are Butterfingers vegan? Unfortunately, the Butterfingers contain animal-based ingredients such as nonfat milk, therefore they’re not suitable for vegans. 

If you wish to learn why in more detail, just keep reading.

How Are Butterfingers Made?

The whole process starts with the freshly roasted peanuts being incorporated into the creamy peanut butter that becomes the base for the Butterfinger’s filling.

However, this chocolate bar snaps like thunder after each bite.

To get that texture, a special type of corn flakes is stirred into the peanut butter, making it one half of the core. Meanwhile, a mixture of molasses, corn syrup, sugar, and water is heated to 300 degrees and poured onto a cooling table to rapidly bring down the temperature.

This process causes the candy to crystallize and improves the filling’s consistency. Also, the molasses confers the chocolate with its orange tone.

Once those two components are complete, they’re layered together and folded onto each other to form an evenly distributed filling. Up until this point, the Butterfingers are vegan.

However, before they’re wrapped in plastic, a waterfall of milk chocolate coats the chocolate bar and ruins our fantasy.

What Are The Ingredients In Butterfingers?

Amira Azarcon, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0, via Flickr
Ingredients: corn syrup, sugar, peanuts, vegetable oil (palm kernel and palm oil), peanut flour, nonfat milk, and less than 2% of cocoa, milk, salt, yellow corn flour, soy lecithin, natural flavor, annatto colors.  

Aside from the obvious milk ingredients, there are questionable ingredients that might even make a vegetarian hesitate to buy Butterfingers.

Why Is Palm Oil A Questionable Ingredient?

Conventional palm oil farming is responsible for the destruction of rainforests and natural habitats. As such, several animal species are getting close to extinction because they can’t adapt to an environment outside their own.

Cunningchrisw, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The insatiable demand for palm oil keeps increasing, having even surpassed soy in terms of usage. That demand has fueled the forest destruction in Indonesia and Malaysia, two countries that account for 85% of the world’s palm oil production.

These two countries also happen to be the home of orangutangs, a primate species nearing extinction. Palm oil plantations are a danger to wildlife (orangutangs and tigers) and have also led to conflicts with local communities in Indonesia over land rights.

Locals have been evicted from their lands and local communities have been impoverished as a result of the exploitation of palm oil companies.

Sadly, Palm Oil Is In So Many Products.

Palm oil is found in baked goods such as cookies, chips, bread, as well as chocolate and milk.

It is also extensively used in cosmetics, and toiletries to add foam to the product. It’s an important ingredient in the manufacturing of shampoos, soaps, detergents, and toothpaste.

Alternatives To Conventional Palm Oil.

As a vegan, you’re already avoiding an unlimited number of products that contain palm oil.

However, you don’t have to completely abolish palm oil. You just have to search for products from companies that comply with sustainable palm oil policies. A safe bet is to search for products by companies certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil.

Additional Information: In 2018, Nestlé sold Butterfingers to the Ferrara Candy Company, a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. 

Why Is Sugar A Questionable Ingredient?

The problem with sugar (more specifically cane sugar) is that some companies use bone char to filter and bleach to remove its impurities. As a result, the sugar gains a pristine, white color.

Fortunately, not every sugar company follows that method, especially in some European countries, Australia and New Zealand where the use of bone char is banned.

Interestingly, sugar extracted from sugar beets does not go through the same process as cane sugar. Plus, both are used in equal amounts in the United States.

The Ferrara Candy Company operates in the United States (and Mexico) where bone char is pretty much allowed. Unless they source the sugar from a company situated in a country where bone char is banned. Though, let’s face it — Ferrara also produces gummies, which typically contain gelatin (a by-product of animal body parts).

Butterfingers Also Contain Artificial Colors

Artificial colors are not made from animals (with the exception of carmine), but they have been tested on animals in the past.

I don’t know if artificial colors are still tested today, but there’s a history of animal suffering behind it. Because of that, many vegans choose to not eat products containing any sort of artificial colors.

Make Butterfingers At Home

According to Katie, the person behind Chocolate Covered Katie, you can make butterfingers at home with just 6 ingredients, in 10 minutes.

homemade butterfingers

In just 10 minutes you can make between 12 and 16 bars, which sounds very satisfying. Not only can you save more money, but it’s also a healthier way of eating butterfingers.

Click here to check out this amazing recipe!

Verdict: Butterfingers Are Not Vegan

Butterfingers are not vegan. They are made using milk as well as other questionable ingredients such as palm oil and sugar.

The use of palm oil is debatable because, in 2018, Butterfingers were sold to Ferrara Candy Company, a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, which means the palm oil used to make butterfingers may not be as hurtful as non-certified palm oil.

However, it might also be likely that the sugar present in butterfingers may have been processed with bone char. The Ferrara Candy Company also produces gummies using gelatine, a by-product of animal cartilage, so it wouldn’t be unlikely for Ferrara to also source sugar processed with bone char.

This being said, this product is off-limits for vegans, and maybe for certain vegetarians.

Butterfingers FAQs

Are Butterfingers Gluten-Free?

The Original Butterfingers are gluten-free as they have no gluten-containing ingredients. However, the varieties of Butterfingers, are not gluten-free. 

Do Butterfingers Have Peanuts?

Yes, Butterfingers contain ground roasted peanuts, which means they’re not suitable for people with nut allergies.

Do Butterfingers Have Caramel?

While it may seem like caramel, the Butterfingers contain a peanut butter filling with a very buttery texture, though it may resemble caramel or toffee. 

Alexandre Valente

Hey there! My name is Alex and I've been vegan for more than five years! I've set up this blog because I'm really passionate about veganism and living a more eco-conscious life. Hopefully, I can use this website as a channel to help you out on your own journey!

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