Is Bisto gravy vegan or vegetarian?

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Choosing gravy can be a bit of a minefield for vegans and vegetarians. While gravy was traditionally made from meat juices and used to pour over a Sunday dinner, modern gravy granules are often made only from plant-based ingredients.

But is Bisto vegan? What about Bisto chicken gravy or Bisto Best? Read on for a list of all the Bisto gravy flavours and which ones are vegan and vegetarian…

Bisto gravy is vegan

Is Bisto vegan?

Out of the 18 different varieties of Bisto gravy, ten are suitable for vegans. The original Bisto in the red container is vegan-friendly, as are the onion gravy and vegetable gravy varieties. Other flavours of Bisto gravy contain meat.

Bisto gravy is not certified as vegan as there is the potential for cross-contamination with milk during the manufacturing process. While most vegans accept that this happens, the strictest vegans may still wish to avoid Bisto.

Is Bisto vegetarian?

Most varieties of Bisto gravy are suitable for vegetarians, including the original Bisto gravy in the red container. However, vegetarians should avoid Bisto chicken gravy, Bisto turkey gravy and any of the meat-flavoured Bisto Best gravy granules.

How to tell if Bisto gravy is vegan or vegetarian

Knowing which Bisto is vegetarian is easy as the varieties of Bisto gravy which are suitable for vegetarians carry a vegetarian label on the back of the packaging.

Whilst no varieties of Bisto are labelled as vegan, those which are labelled as vegetarian are generally suitable for vegans too, as they have no non-vegan ingredients such as milk or eggs.

If you’re a very strict vegan who wishes to avoid all potential cross-contamination, then you should be aware that there is possible cross-contamination with milk products during the manufacture of vegetarian Bisto gravy. This is why Bisto cannot be labelled as vegan, even though many vegans would deem it safe to eat.

Suggested read: Is food that ‘may contain milk’ vegan?

Statement from the manufacturer or Bisto

I emailed Premier Food, the company which makes Bisto, to ask them if Bisto is suitable for vegans. This was their response:

As a responsible manufacturer, we are committed to providing accurate information on the labelling of our products. It is our policy that a product labelled as ‘vegan’ means that the product is not made from or contains ingredients derived from animals, has not been contaminated with non-vegan foods and that we can demonstrate this via scientific testing. Products meeting this policy will carry a “vegan” flash on the pack.

Faye Smith, Customer Relations Adviser, Premier Foods

This email confirms that the reason why Bisto isn’t vegan is that it has not been scientifically demonstrated that there is no cross-contamination with non-vegan ingredients.

Does Bisto contain palm oil?

Bisto gravy contains palm oil. Some vegans choose to avoid palm oil because unsustainable palm oil production causes deforestation. However, palm oil is in itself vegan and when it’s sustainably sourced it doesn’t have the same negative impact on the environment.

Premier Foods is a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and since 2015 has sourced 100% of its palm oil from sustainable sources (Source).

Therefore, the use of palm oil should not be a reason for vegans to avoid Bisto.

Is the E635 in Bisto vegan?

Bisto gravy contains the flavour enhancer E635, which is also known as ‘disodium 5-ribonucleotide.’

E635 can be made from plants or animals. The E635 that Premier Foods use in Bisto is derived from a vegetable source and so it is suitable for vegans. The use of E635 is not a reason for vegans to avoid Bisto gravy.

Which varieties of Bisto gravy are suitable for vegans and vegetarians?

There are currently 18 varieties of Bisto gravy. The table below lists them all, along with which are suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

Bisto gravyPackaging colourIs it vegan?Is it vegetarian?
Bisto Favourite Gravy GranulesRedYesYes
Bisto Vegetable Gravy GranulesGreenYesYes
Bisto Chicken Gravy GranulesOrangeNoNo
Bisto Onion Gravy GranulesBrownYesYes
Bisto Turkey Gravy GranulesPurpleNoNo
Bisto Reduced Salt Gravy GranulesRedYesYes
Bisto Reduced Salt Chicken Gravy GranulesOrangeNoNo
Bisto Best Beef GravyRedNoNo
Bisto Best Vegetable GravyGreenYesYes
Bisto Best Chicken GravyOrangeNoNo
Bisto Best Onion GravyBrownYesYes
Bisto Best Lamb GravyGreenNoNo
Bisto Best Pork GravyBlueNoNo
Bisto Best 25% Less Salt Beef GravyRedNoNo
Bisto Gravy PotsRedYesYes
Bisto Original Gravy PowderBrownYesYes
Bisto Southern Style Gravy GranulesRed, White & BlueYesYes
Bisto Gluten Free Gravy GranulesRed & GreenYesYes
If you accept the risk of cross-contamination, then the Bisto gravy marked as ‘Yes’ in this table is vegan.
vegan gravy granules

Which Bisto gravy is vegan?

The following varieties of Bisto are suitable for vegans based on the ingredients:

  • Bisto Favourite Gravy Granules
  • Bisto Vegetable Gravy Granules
  • Bisto Onion Gravy Granules
  • Bisto Reduced Salt Gravy Granules
  • Bisto Best Vegetable Gravy
  • Bisto Best Onion Gravy
  • Bisto Gravy Pots
  • Bisto Original Gravy Powder
  • Bisto Southern Style Gravy Granules
  • Bisto Gluten Free Gravy Granules

Which Bisto gravy is vegetarian?

The following varieties of Bisto are labelled as suitable for vegetarians:

  • Bisto Favourite Gravy Granules
  • Bisto Vegetable Gravy Granules
  • Bisto Onion Gravy Granules
  • Bisto Reduced Salt Gravy Granules
  • Bisto Best Vegetable Gravy
  • Bisto Best Onion Gravy
  • Bisto Gravy Pots
  • Bisto Original Gravy Powder
  • Bisto Southern Style Gravy Granules
  • Bisto Gluten Free Gravy Granules

Is Bisto Chicken gravy vegetarian or vegan?

Bisto Chicken gravy is not suitable for vegans or vegetarians. This variety of gravy contains ‘flavourings’ which are made from chicken and milk.

Bisto Chicken gravy ingredients:

Potato Starch, Maltodextrin, Palm Oil, Salt, Wheat Flour (with added Calcium, Iron, Niacin, Thiamin), Flavourings (contain Milk), Sugar, Flavour Enhancers (E621, E635), Colour (E150c), Emulsifier (E322) (contains Soya)

Is Bisto Turkey gravy vegetarian or vegan?

Bisto Turkey gravy is not suitable for vegans or vegetarians. This variety of gravy contains turkey powder, chicken powder and flavourings which contain milk.

Bisto Turkey gravy ingredients:

Potato Starch, Maltodextrin, Palm Oil, Salt, Wheat Flour (with added Calcium, Iron, Niacin, Thiamin), Colour (E150c), Flavourings (contain Milk), Flavour Enhancers (E621, E635, E627), Turkey Powder, Emulsifier (E322) (contains Soya), Chicken Powder

Is Bisto beef gravy vegetarian or vegan?

The standard Bisto gravy granules that come in a red container are suitable for vegetarians and would also be acceptable to most vegans as they do not contain any animal-derived ingredients. However, Bisto Best Beef gravy is not suitable for vegetarians as unlike the Bisto in the red container, Bisto Best contains meat.

Vegan gravy granules

If you’re a strict vegan who wishes to avoid anything that may have potentially come into contact with animal products, then you should look out for gravy granules which are marked on the packaging as being suitable for vegans.

These gravy granules are 100% vegan:

Goldenfry vegan gravy granules

Conclusion

There are currently 18 varieties of Bisto gravy, of which ten are suitable for vegans and vegetarians. None of these are marked as being suitable for vegans as there is a risk of cross-contamination with animal products.

If you decide that you are happy to accept this risk as a vegan, then you can enjoy Bisto gravy. However, if you would prefer to avoid all potential cross-contamination or have food allergies then there are other brands of vegan gravy granules which you should buy instead.

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