Also referred to Lotus Biscoff — Lotus Biscuits are produced by Lotus Bakeries, a Belgian biscuit company, founded in 1932, with its headquarters in Lembeke, Kaprijke, in Belgium.
Lotus Biscuits’ main ingredients are wheat flour, sugar, oil, and cinnamon, which means they’re a vegan-friendly option for most vegans. However, the product contains ingredients such as sugar and palm oil which some vegans avoid due to their ‘indirect’ association with animal cruelty.
In this article, we’ll dive a bit deeper into the composition of the Lotus Biscuits and figure out whether or not you should worry about any ingredients.
Lotus Biscuits Ingredients
The ingredients in Lotus Biscuits are the following:
- Wheat flour
- Vegetable Oils (Palm Oil from sustainable and certified plantations, Rapeseed Oil)
- Candy Sugar Syrup
- Raising Agent (Sodium Hydrogen Carbonate)
- Soya Flour
- And Cinnamon.
Clearly, there are no flagrant animal ingredients, which means the biscuits are vegan-friendly. However, they still contain ingredients that some vegans often look to avoid, namely sugar, and palm oil.
Even though these ingredients are from plant-based sources, they may still be associated with animal cruelty, albeit not in a direct way.
Why Is Sugar Controversial?
Sugar generally comes from two sources: sugarcane and beets.
Both sugars are similar in taste and texture, but their refining processes differ. Beet sugar is extracted using a diffuser and mixed with non-animal additives to crystallize, which means it’s always vegan.
Cane sugar is made by crushing sugarcane stalks to separate the pulp from the juice and then filtering the juice with something called bone char.
What is Bone Char?
According to PETA, bone char is made from the bones of cattle from countries like Afghanistan, Argentina, India, and Pakistan. The bones are sold to traders in Scotland, Egypt, and Brazil who then re-sell them to sugar companies in the United States.
Bone char, also known as natural carbon, is used by the sugar industry as a decolorizing filter, which is what gives refined sugar its white, pristine color. Bone char can also be added to other forms of sugar.
For instance, brown sugar is created by adding molasses to refined sugar, so companies that use bone char in regular, refined sugar, also include bone char in brown sugar production.
For this reason, some vegans are hesitant to buy products that contain refined cane sugar, particularly if they know that the company sources from suppliers that rely on bone char, and unfortunately, that is still a common practice in North America.
However, I do believe that’s not the case with Lotus Biscuits, particularly because they’re produced in Belgium, a country that is a member of the European Union. In countries inside the EU, it’s not as likely for bone char to be used as a refining agent.
Why Is Palm Oil Controversial?
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.
The insatiable demand for palm oil keeps increasing, having even surpassed soy in terms of usage. That demand has fueled the massive deforestation 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 that is nearing extinction thanks to the handiwork of greedy humans.
For example, a study conducted by Cell found that between 1999 and 2015, 100,000 Bornean orangutans died because of the demand for palm oil and other natural resources.
Not only are palm oil plantations a danger to wildlife but they’ve also led to conflicts with local communities over land rights, particularly in Indonesia.
Locals have been evicted from their lands and local communities have been impoverished as a result of the exploitation of palm oil companies.
The good news is that Lotus Biscuits contain certified “sustainable” palm oil, and not one derived from conventional palm oil plantations, therefore, it should be way less harmful to both the environment and surrounding biodiversity.
Other Vegan Concerns With Lotus Biscuits
There is an additional concern that some vegans have when purchasing products, especially if they have some kind of allergic reaction.
Yes, you’ve guessed it, some vegans are particularly cautious about the potential for cross-contamination, so they will avoid any products that “may contain” animal ingredients.
Lotus Biscuits do not contain any animal ingredients, not even through cross-contamination.
Therefore, if you’re allergic to ingredients such as milk or eggs, these biscuits are safe.
Are Chocolate Lotus Biscuits Vegan?
There is also a chocolate version of the Lotus Biscuits that contains the following ingredients:
- Wheat flour
- Belgian Chocolate (sugar, cocoa mass, cocoa butter, skimmed milk powder, butter oil, emulsifier (soy lecithin and polyglycerol polyricinoleate))
- Vegetable oils (contains one or more of soybean oil, sunflower oil, canola oil, palm oil)
- Brown sugar syrup
- Sodium bicarbonate (leavening)
- Soy flour
- And Cinnamon.
Unfortunately, this version contains skimmed milk powder and butter oil, both derived from animal milk, therefore it’s not a vegan-friendly product.
The original Lotus Biscuits do not contain any animal ingredients so they’re considered suitable for vegans, despite not having it stated on the packaging.
You’ll find ingredients such as sugar and palm oil that have gained a bad reputation over the years in the vegan community, for different reasons, but you shouldn’t worry about them in this particular case. (We’ve briefly stated the reasons above).
Keep in mind, however, that only the original Lotus Biscuits are vegan— there’s a chocolate version that contains dairy, and that one isn’t vegan, of course.
Are Lotus Biscuits Gluten-Free?
No, Lotus Biscuits are not gluten-free because the main ingredient is wheat flour, which is typically the primary suspect in products that contain gluten.
Are Lotus Biscuits Healthy?
No, Lotus Biscuits cannot be deemed a healthy product because they contain considerable amounts of sugar, which we know it’s not healthy in the long term.
Do Lotus Biscuits Contain Nuts?
No, Lotus Biscuits do not contain nuts and are produced in a facility that does not handle nuts, so they should definitely be safe for someone with a nut allergy.
Do Lotus Biscuits Contain Caffeine?
Whilst Lotus Biscuits can be combined with coffee as a snack, the biscuits themselves do not contain caffeine, nor ingredients that contain caffeine.