Is Nesquik powder vegan? To answer this question are three issues we must address.
Does the product contain any animal ingredients? Should you support a company like Nestlé that is involved in several unethical practices, including animal exploitation? Also, should you consume the product even though it has controversial ingredients?
In this article, I give you answer to each of these questions below.
Does Nesquik Powder Contain Animal Ingredients?
According to its United States distributor, Nesquik powder has the following ingredients:
- soy lecithin
- natural flavor
- ascorbate (vitamin C)
- ferric pyrophosphate (iron)
- zinc oxide
- thiamin hydrochloride
- copper gluconate
- manganese sulfate
If we purely look at the ingredients on the label, we can conclude that Nesquik powder doesn’t have animal ingredients and thus is suitable for vegans.
However, it contains some controversial ingredients such as sugar, natural flavor, and biotin.
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Why is Sugar a Controversial Ingredient?
Unfortunately, there’s a chance that the sugar in Nesquik powder is not vegan.
Refined sugar — the one that is added to most products, including Nesquik powder — comes either from sugar cane or sugar beets. The two have an identical texture and taste, but they get processed differently.
To extract the sugar from sugarcane, they crush the stalks and separate the juice from the pulp.
They heat the juice to crystalize and filter it with bone char — a decolorizing agent that helps remove inorganic impurities like sulfates and ions of magnesium and calcium.
Bone char comes from charred animal bones, which are usually leftovers from the meat industry.
A common trend I’ve noticed in my research is that companies typically source their sugar from a mixed pool of suppliers, so it’s hard to trace the ingredient back to its source.
Most vegans ignore this issue because it’s near impossible to eradicate animal cruelty within the food industry, so this is a case where many vegans compromise.
However, let me also point out that many sugar refineries are using alternatives such as activated carbon and ion-exchange resins which help achieve the same goal.
If you want to learn more about sugar and bone char, read my article on it.
Nesquik Powder Contains Biotin
While biotin is available in nuts and seeds, biotin also exists in animal sources like meat, fish, dairy, and eggs.
When you see biotin on an ingredient label, it’s possible that it came from an animal source, but it’s usually synthetic – and suitable for vegans.
Like most ingredients, it’s much cheaper to produce it in a lab when you need to scale it to large volumes, so they’re less likely to extract it from animals.
Nesquik Powder Also Contains Natural Flavors
Natural flavors are tricky because they can come from plant and animal sources.
Here is what the FDA says about natural flavors in their guidelines:
Manufacturers can add animal ingredients to products and not have them labeled unless we’re referring to a major allergen like milk or seafood. The good news is that natural flavors are usually plant-based.
I’ve written an article about natural flavors, so please check it out if you’re interested in the topic.
Nestlé Owns Nesquik
Nestle is a billion-dollar company because they sell animal-based products.
They have exploited and continue to exploit animal lives.
If you’re vegan and buy Nestle’s products, you’re helping them profit and enable them to reinvest those profits into creating more products that contain animal products.
That is an argument some vegans have used to bring awareness to other vegans so that they stop consuming products from certain companies.
However, the other side of the coin suggests that purchasing vegan products from such companies will ramp up demand for more vegan products.
Here is what vegan activist Gary Yourofsky’s has to say about this topic:
So, should you continue purchasing “vegan” products from companies like Nestlé?
Well, I believe you should because you increase the demand for vegan products, and in doing so, you can influence the company to look for alternatives that may spur industry-wide changes.
Vegan Alternatives to Nesquik Powder
You have a couple of suitable alternatives that can replace your Nesquik powder.
Ghirardelli is the most popular of the bunch, but it’s owned by Lindt & Sprüngli, a multinational company that profits off animal products, so it’s probably not for you if you’re against “unethical” multinationals.
There are a bunch of options also emerging on the horizon, so finding alternatives won’t really be a big deal. It’s not in the present, and it won’t be in the future.
Nesquik Powder doesn’t contain animal ingredients, so it is technically vegan.
However, it contains controversial ingredients like sugar and biotin, which may or not be vegan depending on how they’re processed and their origin.
Also, Nesquik is owned by Nestlé’s a huge multinational company that we know profits off animal exploitation, and it’s also unethical on several other fronts, including plastic pollution, deforestation, irresponsible marketing, and human rights violations.
Therefore, I completely understand those who avoid Nesquik powder despite the absence of flagrant animal ingredients.
Is Nesquik cocoa powder?
While Nesquik is not made with milk and contains cocoa, it’s not classified as pure cocoa powder. Generally, cocoa powder is only made from dried and ground cocoa solids, but Nesquik contains several other ingredients.
Is Nesquik gluten-free?
Nesquik powder doesn’t contain wheat, so it’s technically gluten-free. However, it’s important to point out that Nesquik produces its products in facilities all around the globe, which means the ingredients may vary based on the country or location, and may sometimes not be gluten-free due to cross-contamination. Therefore, it’s important to always look at the list of ingredients before buying.
Is Nesquik cereal vegan?
Nesquik cereal is not vegan because it contains vitamin D3, an ingredient that is derived from lanolin, an oil extracted from sheep’s oil. Also, Nesquik cereal contains palm oil, which some vegans refuse to consume because of its link to deforestation.