Apple juice seems like a drink that should be suitable for vegans and vegetarians. After all, it’s just squashed fruit, right?
Well, not always.
You may be shocked to discover that some vegans avoid fruit juices like apple juice because they don’t consider them to be vegan-friendly.
In this article, I’ll cover which fruit juices are considered vegan and why some vegans won’t drink apple juice.
You’ll learn why some apples are not considered vegan. Then, you can make your own decisions about what you’re comfortable with and what you consider to be suitable to eat and drink as a vegan.
Can vegans drink apple juice?
Not all brands of apple juice are considered vegan. Some apple juices contain an ingredient called isinglass which is made from dried fish bladders. And some apples may be waxed with beeswax (from bees) or shellac (from bugs) before being juiced.
So, apples aren’t vegan?
Sometimes, fruits like apples, oranges, lemons and mangoes are coated in wax to protect them and keep them fresh as they are transported around the world. This coating can contain ingredients such as beeswax which is the secretion from bees and shellac which is the secretion from the female lac bug.
Not all apples are coated in wax. The problem is that it’s virtually impossible to tell for sure which are and which are just pure fruit. If you’re looking for a juicy apple snack, your best bet is a fresh food market with local produce straight from the farm to the market stall.
By choosing apples grown in the UK rather than somewhere like New Zealand, you’ll not only be avoiding bug secretions, but you’ll be doing the planet a favour by reducing your carbon footprint.
Why else might apple juice not be vegan?
Aside from the problem with animal-derived wax, there’s another disgusting ingredient that might make vegans and vegetarians think twice about drinking apple juice. Some fruit juices are clarified using a product called isinglass which is made from the swim bladders of fish.
Isinglass is sometimes added to drinks like beer, wine and fruit juices as it absorbs any impurities. It’s then filtered out, but trace amounts could remain.
Suggested read: Which Beers are Vegan in the UK?
In the United Kingdom, isinglass is commonly found in wine as well as cheaper beer brands like Carling, Fosters and Coors. However, it’s quite rare to find isinglass in fruit juice like apple juice, so you’ll probably be okay.
Why are some other fruit juices not vegan?
While fruit juices are mainly comprised of juice and water, there can be certain ingredients such as dyes, preservatives, and additives that are not considered vegan-friendly. Some examples include juice with added omega-3, vitamin D3, natural red dye, or certain sweeteners.
Most often, these added ingredients are found in orange juice. It would be pretty rare to find these ingredients in apple juice in the UK, but you may find these added more often in countries such as the United States.
So, is apple juice suitable for vegans or not?
When considering whether something is vegan or not, it’s important to remember that veganism isn’t black and white. It’s more of a spectrum.
While this may sound strange, it has to be this way because it’s impossible to be 100% vegan. That is, unless you live on an island somewhere and have no contact with the modern world.
According to The Vegan Society, the definition of veganism is…
“Veganism is a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals“
As it’s not possible or practical to determine whether your apple juice is made from apples that have been waxed, you may choose to drink apple juice and still be vegan.
You might prefer to avoid store-bought apple juice and make your own juice from apples that have been grown in your garden. But if that’s not practical, then drinking bottled apple juice is okay.
While apple juice and other fruit juices may seem like they should be vegan, it is always best to check the label as there may be some hidden ingredients that are not vegan-friendly.
Many apple juice brands will be labelled as suitable for vegans. But, the best way to ensure you’re drinking juice that complies strictly with a vegan diet is to make it yourself. That way you know you have a refreshing drink without the unwanted additives.