Fig Newtons have been around for ages. The classic cookie based on the humble British fig roll has come a long way since first hitting the market in the 19th century. You can read more about their production history in this article from ThoughtCo.
Today, the soft, chewy cookie wrapped around a fig roll is known as Newtons. That’s because Nabisco, the company that makes them today, wanted to introduce more fruit flavors, including the original fig. They added raspberry, strawberry, blueberry, apple cinnamon, and peach-apricot, changing their name to Newtons in 2015.
However, are Fig Newtons vegan? For most, yes, they are vegan because they contain no animal products. However, despite having no dairy-based derivatives or gelatin, these sweet snacks with natural fig filling contain some ingredients that cause issues for some vegans.
Let’s look at the classic cookie in a new light.
Are Fig Newtons Vegan?
A closer look at these fruity bars with their soft pastry wafer and sweet fig filling reveals that most of their ingredients are plant-based, bar a few artificial flavors and preservatives. Therefore, they are vegan since they contain no animal-derived products.
However, some vegans take issue with the use of refined white sugar in Fig Newtons and other foods. Even though white sugar comes from raw cane sugar, meaning it’s plant-based, raw cane sugar is brown. It undergoes a filtration and refining process using animal bone char to create a sweeter, more neutral-tasting sweetener. Therefore, some vegans find this unethical and refuse to consume anything containing white sugar.
Additionally, the outside of the fig cookies has a soft, flay texture that usually requires milk derivatives like whey powder to recreate. You’ll be happy that Fig Newtons are entirely dairy-free, getting their texture from a coating of maltodextrin, a starch.
Do Fig Newtons Contain Real Figs?
Yes, this popular American snack includes a paste made from real figs, a sweet fruit high in fiber. Some people say that figs aren’t vegan because the fruit gets pollinated by a wasp that dies during the process. However, not all figs get fertilized like this, and even if they are, since there’s no animal exploitation involved in this natural process, figs are vegan. Read more about figs and wasps in this article from Your Vegan Journey about Fig Newtons.
Taking a Closer Look at the Ingredients Used in Fruit Newtons
Fig remains one of the most popular flavors for Newtons, and despite the name change, the ingredients used remain the same.
Here we provide information on all the ingredients listed on the packaging for Fig Newtons:
1. Whole Grain Wheat Flour
Whole grain wheat flour is essential for making soft dough for Fig Newtons. Wheat flour, made with finely ground wheat, is always vegan. Sometimes, wheat flour is bleached with chemicals to create a more refined flour, usually enriched with vitamins and minerals. However, Nabisco continues to use whole-grain wheat flour, meaning the flour contains all the vital essentials found in the wheat kernel (the bran, germ, and endosperm). Therefore, the outer layer of Fig Newtons contains nutritious flour.
All Newtons contain natural fruit, including the fig filling for Fig Newtons. The filling is fig paste made with mashed figs, corn syrup, and sugar. Moreover, the fig center contains no tiny seeds found in figs, which is especially important for those with sensitive teeth.
3. White Sugar
Nabisco uses white sugar for the Newton fillings. Therefore, its use becomes problematic for people who find its production unethical, meaning some vegans won’t consume Fig Newtons.
4. Corn Syrup
Corn syrup has a dense texture, and it’s sweet. It’s used in the fig paste to help set it, making it easier to fill the dough. It’s a plant-based syrup with no ethical issues because its filtering requires no animal products.
5. Invert Sugar
Invert sugar comes from a chemical process using fruit and grain-based sugars. The glucose and sucrose mix creates a malty plant-based sweetener used in Newtons.
6. Vegetable Oil
The recipe for Fig Newtons includes a small amount of fat, and Newtons use vegetable oil. The packaging for Fig Newtons says the oil used is Soybean Canola and Palm, and partially Hydrogenated Cottonseed Oil. Whether the company uses one or a combination, they are all plant-based.
However, some vegans avoid palm oil because its production and harvesting are destructive to the natural habitats of the animal species near the rainforests it’s grown and to the environment.
7. Soluble Corn and Oat Fiber
Fig Newtons are great for digestion thanks to the soluble corn and oat fiber added to the dough. These two plant-based fibers also help give the dough its softer texture.
Most baked goods have a small addition of salt to enhance their flavor. Salt is naturally occurring from sea water or other salt depsoits.
Maltodextrin keeps Fig Newtons dry and gives them their soft texture. This plant-based addition is only healthy in small amounts.
10. Baking Soda
The common namne for sodiuym vbacorbanate, baking soda, is used in baked goods to prevent the dough from rising too much. It’s a naturally derived product.
11. Calcium Lactate
Calcium lactate sounds like something that contains a dairy product but is not. It’s a vegan-friendly product containing lactic acid and calcium carbonate, used as a preservative or to add calcium to foods.
12. Malic Acid
The plant-derived acid known as malic acid adds a slightly tart flavor to foods.
13. Soy Lecithin
Soy lecithin is made from soybeans and used to help emulsify ingredients and as a natural preservative.
Fig Newtons contains two artificial preservatives. These are sodium benzoate and sulfur dioxide, which make it difficult for food to spoil because they create an acidic environment. They are both vegan-friendly.
15. Natural & Artificial Flavors
All Newtons contain natural and artificial flavors to help enhance their fruit flavor. Most flavors are synthetic, made from chemicals that mimic natural ones.
Tips on How to Enjoy Vegan Fig Newtons
Now that we know that Fig Newtons are vegan, we can enjoy them guilt-free. Here are some tips:
1. Make your own newtons with real figs and other plant-based ingredients so you don’t have to worry about the white sugar or preservatives used in store-bought varieties.
2. Dip it in a glass of vegan milk for a sweet treat.
3. Serve it alongside a cup of coffee or tea for an easy snack when entertaining guests.
4. Spread peanut butter or vegan cream cheese on top for added flavor and texture.
5. Enjoy it plain as a quick snack on the go.
Home Made Fig Newtons are Easy to Make
To make your own fig newtons, you only need some whole wheat pastry flour, figs, vegan butter, and sugar. Blend the ingredients to form a dough. Next, roll the dough into a rectangle and spread an even layer of fig paste on one side. Then fold it up like a sandwich and cut it into individual newtons using cookie cutters or a knife. Bake for 18-20 minutes until golden brown, then cool before enjoying!
Therefore, are Fig Newtons vegan? Unless you are a strict vegan that has an issue with refined sugar, then Fig Newtons are vegan and nutritious.
Are Fig Newtons vegan?
Yes, Fig Newtons are vegan-friendly if you have no refined sugar issues. They contain a filling made from real figs and plant-based ingredients like whole grain wheat flour, vegetable oil, maltodextrin, baking soda, preservatives, and natural & artificial flavors. Additionally, they are free of dairy derivatives.
Do Fig Newtons contain real figs?
Yes, Fig Newtons contain a filling made from real figs and other plant-based ingredients. The filling is made with mashed figs, corn syrup, and sugar. Also, the fig center contains no tiny seeds found in figs.
Are Fig Newtons healthy?
Fig Newtons can be a part of a healthy diet as they are high in fiber due to the presence of real figs. They also contain whole-grain wheat flour, which provides essential nutrients such as vitamin B6, iron, magnesium, and dietary fiber. However, it should still be consumed in moderation due to its added sugar content.
What preservatives are used in Fig Newtons?
Fig Newtons contains two artificial preservatives: sodium benzoate and sulfur dioxide. These are vegan-friendly as they create an acidic environment that makes it difficult for food to spoil.
Are there any animal products in Fig Newtons?
No, there are no animal products used in Fig Newtons. They are suitable for vegans and do not contain dairy derivatives or any other ingredients derived from animals. Additionally, the packaging does not indicate the presence of beeswax or honey, which some vegans avoid.