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Vegan Cane Sugar

If you aren’t on a vegan diet, chances are you didn’t know that all sugar isn’t considered vegan. It doesn’t come from an animal so what’s the issue? Bone char. Bet you didn’t know that many sugars are processed with bone char either. Bone char, usually made from the bones of cows, is used in the decolorization process for sugar – meaning it whitens the sugar through a filtration process. Standard sugar packages won't explain all of this, but the process is unacceptable to many vegans and they avoid sugar as a result. But that may be about to change when all the vegans out there find out about our 365 Everyday Value® Vegan Cane Sugar (which retails for about $4 for a 4-pound bag). Our vegan sugar goes through a 100% animal-free carbon deactivation process to decolorize. This carbon is a mineral and therefore, a non-animal source. Great news, right?

And we didn’t stop there…our vegan sugar is also part of our Whole Trade Guarantee. Read on to see why this sugar may be a perfect choice for non-vegans too! Any product with the Whole Trade Guarantee must meet all four of these criteria:

  • Meet our high quality standards
  • Provide more money to producers
  • Ensure better wages and working conditions for workers
  • Care for the environment

To sweeten the deal, we also donate 1% of all Whole Trade product sales to the Whole Planet Foundation, whose mission is poverty alleviation through microcredit in communities around the world that supply Whole Foods Market stores with products.

Our vegan sugar is grown and processed in Belize and the communities there are directly impacted by the sale of this sugar because every purchase of Whole Trade products helps fund projects such as new community centers, schools and homes for real people. The Whole Trade premiums paid to Belize sugar farmers have increased their income too. So, the next time you buy sugar think about the impact your $4 purchase can help make — even if you don't follow a vegan diet.

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95 comments

Comments

Maria Gomez says …

I've bought and used the granulated sugar and I love it. I have had a problem locating powdered sugar that indicates it is vegan safe. I love to bake and finally found a buttercream icing substitute that works well, but it demands powered sugar. Can you help?

says …

@Maria Hi Maria! I checked in with our Private Label team and I can confirm that in fact all of our 365 Everyday Value and 365 Organic Sugars are vegan. This includes our powdered sugar as well as our organic brown sugar. Hope this answers your concerns and happy baking!

Christine says …

Great product!

Jeff Turnas says …

When will this be organic?

says …

Hi Jeff, Thanks for your comment. I will definitely explore this products Organic opportunity with our Private Label Category Manager and Product Manager.

Caryn Hasslocher says …

Hi Jessica Thank You for the information on 365 Sugar.Another reason to purchase from Whole Foods and the support the Whole Trade Mission.

says …

All of 365 Sugar Cane products are guaranteed GMO-Free. In fact, no sugar cane in the world as yet is being cultivated using Genetically Modified technology. There is however rumors it will start in Brazil possibly next year for sugar cane that is used for ethanol production. The problem here in the U.S. with regard to Sugar Beets is that Genetically Modified Beets and Non-Genetically Modified Beets are being mixed together, therefore this year’s U.S. Sugar Beets crop cannot be guaranteed GMO-Free. Let me know if you have any further questions. Thanks for your comments, you posed great questions.

Heidi says …

Is it grown without GM seeds? Are all your products grown GM free? I've been doing a little research and was shocked to find out that this year is the first year of the GM sugar beet and that the FDA won't be tracking this? Do you have organic alternative sources for sugar? Are your corn products GM free also? Thanks.. glad to have found your website.

Justgottaloveit says …

I knew about the bone char because I was doing some reading on kosher products, etc. I don't practice kosher but understanding why some things are done is very enlightening, huh!

says …

@Louise We offer a case discount in many of our stores. Check with your local store to see what theirs is: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/stores.

Louise Williams says …

Can this sugar be purchased in bulk? If so where and for h ow much?

txgypsywoman says …

Wow! Thanks for that information. I am the coffee bar specialist at the Forest store in Dallas. We use the Vegan sugar at our bar, and the question often comes up when people see the bag - "isn't all sugar vegan?" I never had an answer for them before, but I do now. Thank you so much!

FFB says …

Whoa, major ick!! I was never aware that cow was used to make sugar! I've recently been more aware of the food I'm putting in me and this is great info to know! BTW, I'm loving Whole Foods 365 products! Thanks!

baranfarhangrocks! says …

Hi, Jessica! I loved your facts about this vegan cane sugar! I'm not a vegan, but I am pretty disgusted that they use the cow's bone char! Blech! I can just be a child, in all, but I'm pretty smart myself, not to brag or anything. So, um, do you think these are good for kids, because I am dying to try sugar canes, they seem quite delightful! Thanks!!!!!!

Jenny says …

Did I overlook this - sorry if I did - are you saying that none of Whole Foods 365 brand products use bone char processed sugar? I am thinking in particular of the chocolate chips that just say "sugar" on the package. THANKS!

says …

@Jenny Our 365 brand sugars do not contain bone char processed sugar, but for our other 365 products may. I will check with our Private Label team to see if they can get an answer about the kind of sugar used in our chocolate chips. Thanks.

Suzanne says …

Hi, I have another question about the 365 powdered sugar. I realize it is not being processed using bone char, but how is it being refined? Does it go through the same refining process that conventional powdered sugar goes through, such as Domino? Or is it refined in a more wholesome way? We are trying to avoid refined sugar altogether, but there doesn't seem to be a good alternative to confectioner's/powderd sugar anywhere and we occassionally have to make a frosting for a cake. Is your powdered (vegan) sugar my best option?

Ivy says …

I bought some of this sugar and tried baking with it. I made baked rice (with a 1:1 ratio) and the product didn't seem as sweet. I then just am making a apple pie for my dad's birthday. The recipe was amazing the first time. This time I used this sugar in the carmel sauce and it was kind of strange. Almost like the butter wouldn't mix in with the sugar. Anyone else had any trouble getting recipes to turn out the same? I usually use a natural sugar like turbinado, fair trade sugar or sucanat.

Marc says …

Glad to see a first in an attempt to stop using bone char - good move by Whole Foods. Have been purchasing turbinado in bulk for many years and then saw the vegan sugar in the store the other day. One comment I did have... there is nothing on the packaging to indicate as to why it is Vegan. Veg*an folks read labels constantly and are rather untrusting of food products that say they're veg when, in fact they are sometimes "marginally" veg and not acceptable to many vegans. Putting a comment on the bag to indicate that no bone char is used would really help us veg folks make a snap decision to put it in the cart rather than hunt down a page on the net with more detail prior to buying it! Just a suggestion... but is still awesome to see that WF is offering it. Thx!

Viv says …

Ivy, Regarding problems baking with it: I just finished making the caramel for a flan I was baking (in bain marie) today and had difficulties using this sugar. I normally use superfine or even refined sugar for the caramel but have wanted to move away from those sugars and to go organic and cane sugar instead. Well, when I put the sugar in the stainless steel pan to make the caramel the sugar wouldn't melt as fast or as well. It felt wet and it created lots of popping sounds and lumps. It took a lot of elbow grease and care to be able to dissolve the sugar and turn it into caramel using as high heat as possible without turning the caramel too dark or even worse, too bitter. This was my first experience baking with it. I'm sharing this flan with friends and family and now I find myself crossing fingers that it comes out okay. I'll try turbinado next. I'll report back. PS: This might just be one of those products that are great for sweetening drinks and coffee and so on but not for baking. It happens.

Chelsea Anderson says …

I just made my favorite vegan chocolate chip cookies with this sugar and they didn't turn out right. They cooked WAY faster than usual (crispy/burnt in 10 minutes when they usually need about 12) and aren't nearly as sweet. I'm thinking of throwing all the sugar (and probably the cookies) out and starting over.

Gabriela says …

Hi, I have the same question as Jeff, how come it is not organic? I bought a package and didn't notice until i got home. I don't want to return it since the Whole Trade and Vegan aspects are still worth the buy but I am wondering what is the difference between the way it is grown at the moment and the way it would be grown if it was organic. Because of liver issues I am eating all organic and avoiding pesticides, so I would like to know if there are some remains in this sugar so I know if to keep it or give it as a present to some vegan friend. Thanks. :)

Renee Mann says …

I noticed a "strange" taste to this vegan cane sugar. Am I the only one?

hsofia says …

So I don't understand why the vegan sugar would cook differently than non vegan sugar ... this is what I'm curious about after reading some of the comments below. Any thoughts, information?

Jenn says …

Thank you so much I'm new to being a vegan and I'm learning so much. I never would have thought that sugar would use animals

Qwendy says …

I'm not Vegan but I'm a serious baker, and very upset about the Round Up Ready Beet Sugar problem. I LOVE this naturally crystalized Vegan Sugar, I recommend it to everyone! It does require a bit of awareness to make sure that it dissolves properly in some dishes, because the crystals are quite a bit bigger, but that's one of the things I love about it, seems so much more "natural" -- like those sugar crystal growing experiments we did as kids.

Nirupama says …

Hi, Could you please tell me if the brown sugar and the cane sugar available in loose(where we can pick up just how much we need) at wholefoods is vegan? i have lately been buying the brown sugar(large crystals and very dark) and a smaller grained light brown sugar. Thanks

paig292 says …

@Nirupama Our stores receive product from various suppliers, so you will need to ask your local stores directly about the brown sugar and can sugar they carry in the bulk department. Thanks for caring!

Alyce Wolfe says …

I have a allergy to corn. Do you add corn starch to your sugar?

paig292 says …

@ Alyce No, we do not add any cornstarch to our Vegan Cane Sugar. Thanks for checking!

Laura says …

So you make vegan cane sugar, but is the vegan cane sugar used in your other products? I would love to be able to purchase your other products that do not have meat or dairy, but I have not because I am uncertain about the sugar. And would it be possible to use this sugar instead to be more available for the vegan community?

Sasha says …

I buy this product A LOT, as I do a lot of Vegan Baking!! It's wonderful...and a REALLY good value!! Other "organic sugars" are soooo much more expensive per oz.

Mark says …

This is a really helpful explanation to an otherwise confusing label. I tried this sugar because it was great in the coffee from the Whole Foods café and the price seemed right. I love the larger crystals and the slight color. The sugar in India also looks like this too. Also, I watched the Modern Marvels episode on sugar and the process for refining it involves CaOH and centrifuges (to separate molasses), but it didn't mention anything about Bone Char. Thanks for caring about your products and going the extra step to inform us about otherwise unknown steps. I'm curious who came up with "white" being a standard color for sugar-- because it sure seems like a human construction!

says …

@Sean Thanks for reaching out with your concern. I have passed your comment on to the Customer Questions Team and they will be reaching out to you via email.

polly says …

I would also LOVE to see this product made available in bulk. A case discount is not the same thing. As for the folks wondering about why it's not organic, I think once sugar has been refined it can't be certified organic, no matter how it was grown. Still, it would be nice to know more about the farming practices.

Sean McKeon says …

"I checked in with our Private Label team and I can confirm that in fact all of our 365 Everyday Value and 365 Organic Sugars are vegan." - Whole Foods Market Team Member reply from 10/08 If this is correct, then I find your product labels confusing. My wife bought a bag of the Organic Cane Sugar and claimed it was vegan, even though the label says nothing about that. Therefore, I bought a bag of the Vegan Cane Sugar, which was right next to it on the shelf, assuming it was the only vegan option due to the name. If both products are vegan why not clearly indicate this on the packages? If I want 'fair trade' vegan sugar I'll buy this one. If I want organic vegan sugar I'll buy the other one.

leigh says …

I loved this and still do for non-baking use. Tried to bake with it and it would not cream with the vegan butter - stayed really granular. It affected the baking time and consistency of the final bread. So I'll stick with other natural sweeteners for baking but still won't go back to a sugar product that uses any animal products!

Sunrise says …

hi. i'd like to know the answer to sean's question as well. thanks. "“I checked in with our Private Label team and I can confirm that in fact all of our 365 Everyday Value and 365 Organic Sugars are vegan.” – Whole Foods Market Team Member reply from 10/08 If this is correct, then I find your product labels confusing. My wife bought a bag of the Organic Cane Sugar and claimed it was vegan, even though the label says nothing about that. Therefore, I bought a bag of the Vegan Cane Sugar, which was right next to it on the shelf, assuming it was the only vegan option due to the name. If both products are vegan why not clearly indicate this on the packages? If I want ‘fair trade’ vegan sugar I’ll buy this one. If I want organic vegan sugar I’ll buy the other one."

says …

@Sunrise I have reached out to our experts regarding your question and here is the response. "The use of bone char during the refining process of sugar is not acceptable according to the USDA National Organic Standards, therefore all of our 365 Organic sugars are vegan. We also offer a non-organic Vegan Cane Sugar, which we clearly label as “Vegan” because the use of bone char is standard in refining non-organic sugars, and we want to let customers know bone char is not used to refine this particular product." Thank you for reaching out.

Janelle Faletti says …

My special veggie recipe is grilled tomatoes. In these days i cooked for my 7 amigos. They really like my vegan cooking.

Natalie says …

Unquestionably believe that which you said. Your favorite justification appeared to be on the net the simplest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I definitely get irked while people think about worries that they just don't know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and also defined out the whole thing without having side-effects , people can take a signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thanks

Shannon Mulgrew says …

I have been a vegetarian for three years now and recently became vegan. I seen this product the other day and i was excited to see it. I love baking and im experimenting with vegan baking. Now im going to go make a batch of vegan chocolate chip cookies :)

Robin says …

Is your 365 organic cane sugar vegan? I just bought some, the bag says it's a product of Paraguay?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@ROBIN - Yes, all of our 365 sugars are vegan. Thanks for checking!

Ven Iyer says …

Everything sounds good. Is this also organic?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@VEN - All of our 365 sugars are vegan. If you also want an organic option, look for our 365 Organic Cane Sugar as this will be both vegan and organic!

Stan Clement says …

Vegan Sugar sounds like a great alternative. Can I buy it in bulk? Would the growers in Malawi be interested in an OMRI certified organic bio-stimulant that would increase their yields, decrease input costs, and help lower insect and fungicidal pressure on their crops? If so, we can help them immensily. We are a Missouri based company that sells it's products in 49 countries around the world. The founder does much filanthropic work amongst the needy of the world. We would love to help.

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@STAN - Check with your local store to see about buying in bulk. They'll be happy to help you!

Heather says …

This was a huge help! I am no longer buying regular sugar! thanks!

Pookie says …

Good sugar!! For Maria, put the sugar in a good blender to make powdered sugar.

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