Are Hobnobs Vegan? (Here’s all you need to know)

Are Hobnobs Vegan? (Here’s all you need to know)

Hobnobs comes from the verb hob nob, which means to mix socially, generally with people from a higher class, so you’ll have people who say “hobnob” over tea or a biscuit.

Hobnobs is also a brand of British biscuits launched by McVities in 1985. They’re made from rolled and jumbo oats, and are marketed in some countries as a digestive biscuit.

Are Hobnobs vegan? The original Hobnobs sold by McVities do not contain animal ingredients, so from a technical standpoint, they’re suitable for vegans. However, other versions like the milk chocolate Hobnobs are not vegan as they contain several ingredients derived from milk. 

Hobnobs also contain palm oil, so there are vegans who will argue that not a single Hobnobs is vegan, even though palm oil is clearly extracted from a fruit.

Hobnobs Ingredients

There are several varieties of Hobnobs (the biscuits) which include the Original Hobnobs, Milk Chocolate Hobnobs, Dark Chocolate Hobnobs, and Chocolate Chip Hobnobs. You also have snack bars and flapjacks, but in this article, we’re going to strictly look at biscuits as they’re the most popular. 

Original Hobnobs

The Original Hobnobs contain:

  • Rolled Oats
  • Wholemeal Wheat Flour
  • Vegetable Oil (Palm Fruit)
  • Sugar
  • Partially Inverted Sugar Syrup
  • Raising Agents (Sodium Bicarbonate, Ammonium Bicarbonate)
  • And Salt.

There isn’t a single animal ingredient, other than the fact vegetable oil derived from palm fruit is highly controversial for its impact on the environment and animal habitat. 

Milk Chocolate Hobnobs

The Milk Chocolate Hobnobs contain:

  • Rolled Oats
  • Milk Chocolate [Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Cocoa Mass, Dried Skimmed Milk, Dried Whey (Milk), Butter Oil (Milk), Vegetable Fats (Palm, Shea), Emulsifiers (Soya Lecithin, E476), Natural Flavoring]
  • Wholemeal Wheat Flour
  • Sugar
  • Vegetable Oil (Palm Fruit)
  • Glucose-Fructose Syrup
  • Raising Agents (Sodium Bicarbonate, Ammonium Bicarbonate)
  • And Salt.

Unfortunately, it contains several ingredients derived from milk, so they’re not vegan. 

Dark Chocolate Hobnobs

The Dark Chocolate Hobnobs contain:

  • Rolled Oats
  • Plain Chocolate [Sugar, Cocoa Mass, Vegetable Fats (Palm, Shea), Butter Oil (Milk), Cocoa Butter, Emulsifiers (Soya Lecithin, E476), Natural Flavoring]
  • Wholemeal Wheat Flour
  • Sugar
  • Vegetable Oil (Palm Fruit)
  • Glucose-Fructose Syrup
  • Raising Agents (Sodium Bicarbonate, Ammonium Bicarbonate)
  • And Salt.

While it’s possible to find many dark chocolate products without animal ingredients, this one still contains butter oil, which is a milk-derivative. 

Chocolate Chip Hobnobs

The Chocolate Chip Hobnobs contain:

  • Rolled Oats
  • Wholemeal Wheat Flour
  • Sugar
  • Vegetable Oil (Palm Fruit)
  • Plain Chocolate Chips [Sugar, Cocoa Mass, Fat Reduced Cocoa Powder, Cocoa Butter, Emulsifier (Soya Lecithin), Natural Flavoring]
  • Partially Inverted Sugar Syrup
  • Raising Agents (Sodium Bicarbonate, Ammonium Bicarbonate)
  • And Salt

To be frank, it’s quite surprising that this product doesn’t have any dairy, which technically makes it vegan. 

Bottom line: The Original Hobnobs and the Chocolate Chip Hobnobs are suitable for vegans, while the Milk Chocolate and Dark Chocolate Hobnobs contain dairy, making them unsuitable for vegans.

Why Palm Oil is a Controversial Ingredient

Conventionally grown palm oil is present in many processed foods and is quite destructive – to both the environment and animal species. Because we bulldoze vast amounts of tropical forest, we take away critical habitats from endangered species and actively contribute to their extinction. 

For example, a study conducted by Cell found that between 1999 and 2015, 100,000 Bornean orangutangs died as a result of the growing demand for conventional palm oil. 

Because animals die as a result of the increasing palm oil consumption, many vegans choose to avoid it. However, replacing it with another source is not the answer because palm oil requires the least amount of resources. 

If you really want to make a change, the only way is to stop consuming it (which is certainly a tall order for many people), or you can opt for products that use sustainable palm oil – although that might not be a better option, according to this article by the Independent. 

While I find it extremely difficult to avoid palm oil, I do attempt to minimize its consumption, particularly because I make an effort to avoid processed foods (and many contain palm oil). 

Conclusion

The Original and Chocolate Chip Hobnobs don’t have animal ingredients, so they’re technically vegan.

However, because they contain palm oil, some vegans avoid consuming them.

Unfortunately, palm oil has a foul reputation – it’s a rather pollutive mono-crop, and because it’s required for critical habitats (rainforests) to be bulldozed, you have animals perishing as a result. 

Alexandre Valente

Hey there! My name is Alex and I've been vegan for more than three 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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