Can Vegans Eat Honey?

The Important Truth You Need To Know

Honey is a sticky subject for vegans. The question of whether vegans can eat honey is a controversial one, inspiring debate, and controversy.

But what’s the truth?? Keep reading to find out why honey ISN’T suitable for vegans, and the truth behind this golden liquid’s supposed cruelty-free status.

First up, what is honey? And why do bees need it to survive?

Bees are fascinating creatures. They’re crucial to our ecosystem, and they’re also just relatively cute.

But they have a lot going on in their lives, most of which we don’t think about because they’re so small. One thing that’s really interesting is how important honey is to their survival.

Honey is a sweet and sticky substance that bees make from nectar, which they gather from flowers. Honey is made of sugar and water, but it’s also got a ton of other nutrients that bees need to stay alive and healthy. If a bee doesn’t have access to honey, it can’t live for very long, a few days at most.

Bees use honey as food when they need extra energy or water. They also use it as an antiseptic for wounds on their bodies and as a glue to hold together pieces of their nests that have been damaged by weather or predators like wasps. 

Honeybees need a lot of honey for winter months because during this time, there aren’t many flowers growing, and bees need to eat more food to keep warm.

So, why isn’t it Vegan?

According to The Vegan Society, veganism can be defined as:

“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 for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of animals, humans and the environment. In dietary terms, it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals”

Based on this definition, honey definitely isn’t vegan-friendly! Bees are used by humans to produce honey, which is then sold and consumed. The bees don’t get anything out of the deal—they’re just being exploited by humans.

So Honey isn’t Vegan BUT is it Cruelty-Free? 

Sadly not! 

Honeybees are very sensitive to changes in their environment, and they are particularly vulnerable to stress. Bees can be stressed by being moved from one place to another, by being exposed to bright lights or loud noises, or even by being too hot or too cold. These stresses can make bees more susceptible to viruses and diseases.

But, being moved from their hives isn’t the only stress, and trauma bees must endure. There are lots more unethical practices associated with the production of honey, such as:

  • Bees are often fed sugar water (or other unnatural substances) by their owners to keep them alive and healthy. This practice can lead to health problems for both humans and bees alike.
  • Many beekeepers will kill off entire colonies of bees if they fail to produce enough honey for them, which means killing billions of innocent creatures every year because humans want their food! 

Not only this, but it’s also bad for the environment! 

Honey is produced by bees using pollination techniques that they’ve evolved over millions of years. Modern beekeeping practices have changed this system and made it unsustainable—if we continue to destroy natural habitats, there won’t be enough plants for bees to collect nectar from or build nests in anymore. Bees are essential for pollinating plants (they’re responsible for about 1/3 of all pollination), and if we don’t change our ways soon, we’ll see an irreversible decline in our global food supply!

It’s pretty amazing that such a tiny creature can do so much for us. Bees are truly incredible creatures—and we couldn’t live without them!

Thankfully, there are amazing alternatives to honey

Sweet, right? 

And some brands have even gone so far as to create their own bee-free honey, we are sharing the top 3 that STICK out from the Vegan Sisters’ Unbee-lievable List of best alternatives. 

Honea by Plant Based Artisan

Honea is bee-free honey alternative crafted in the UK, and it’s apparently epic on crumpets.

Its flavour is delicately sweet with floral notes and hints of apple AND what’s more, it’s also super good for your gut since it’s made from inulin, a prebiotic!

Next up, is a vegan honey syrup made from fruit extracts, this alternative is from Sweet Freedom! It’s a delicious vegan honey alternative for all your sweetening, drizzling, and baking needs!

MeliBio’s Honey w/o Bees is molecularly identical to the real deal—so you can experience the coveted complexity of flavour and viscosity that honey lovers crave! In fact, taste testers can’t tell the difference! 

So there you have it. Vegans can’t eat honey, but you don’t have to go without an alternative! 

We hope this article has helped you understand all the negative buzz around honey and why it’s not vegan-friendly.

If you are passionate about helping bees, then check out this Bee Revival Kit. Bees are dying out at an alarming rate and need your help now more than ever!

Thanks for reading!

Check out our section on The Vegan Diet for more vegan do’s and don’ts 🙂

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About the Author



Vegan children's book writer- check out "Ollie The Vegan Dinosaur"!- and loves all things word-y. (Oh, and a sucker for reasonably-priced cruelty-free mascara!)

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