Do you know if Wattie´s baked beans are vegan? Well, you are at the perfect place to find the answer to such a question.
They are certainly the most famous baked beans that you can get from New Zealand, and they are somewhat of a national treasure in their own right, but are Wattie’s baked beans vegan?
None of the various kinds of baked beans that Wattie’s sells are officially classified as vegan. Many of their different bean products have clear non-vegan items on the ingredients list, including meat and dairy products. Additionally, the flavouring in their sauce likely contains milk powder.
Read ahead to find out why Wattie’s baked beans are not considered vegan and much more about this classic NZ brand.
What Are Wattie’s Baked Beans?
If you don’t know them already, Wattie’s is one of the most famous names in New Zealand food, and their baked beans are practically a national dish.
The company was founded in Hastings in 1934, and their product line actually goes way beyond beans.
Wattie’s Limited was purchased by the American H.J. Heinz Company for $565 million in 1992, and Heinz Wattie’s Limited now produces packaged fruit, vegetables, sauces, baby food, dressings, and pet foods too.
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Are Wattie’s Basic Baked Beans Vegan?
Even Wattie’s most basic can of baked beans, their Baked BeaNZ variety, might not officially be considered vegan. Although there are no animal products clearly listed on the packaging, they are also not designated as vegan either. This is likely because they use a dairy product that is hard to spot.
If you look carefully at the ingredients list, you will see “flavours” “spice” or “seasoning” on a lot of the tins that Wattie’s sells, and that can include milk powder.
Sometimes, this will clearly be qualified as containing milk, but not always. Milk powder is used very often in making sauces because it is a thickening agent, which might explain why Wattie’s beans are so creamy.
It’s hard to tell for certain whether the “flavours” or “spices” in the standard can of Wattie’s Baked BeaNZ do contain milk, but the fact that they are never actually labelled as vegan is generally taken to mean that they are not.
Are Wattie’s Baked Beans Vegetarian?
Many of the basic Wattie’s baked bean products should be vegetarian, as there are no clear meat products listed on their labels.
Interestingly enough, though, they are not actually described as such, so they might well not be. There may be meat-based products hidden in the “flavours” “spices” “seasoning” or “sauce” of a can of Wattie’s beans.
Some of the Wattie’s baked beans that you can buy are definitely not vegetarian, as they also sell beans with sausages and meatballs as well.
What Varieties of Baked Beans Do Wattie’s Make?
There are a lot of different baked bean products that you can buy from Wattie’s, and some of them are definitely not vegetarian, let alone vegan. Among their selection, you will find:
- Baked Beans with Meatballs – contains meat
- Smokey BBQ Beans – contains meat
- Baked Beans with Sausages – contains meat
- Salsa Chilli Beans – likely vegetarian
- Chilli Beans Hot – likely vegetarian
- 5 Beanz – likely vegetarian
- Baked Beans Cheesy Tomato – likely vegetarian, contains cheese and milk
- Baked BeaNZ – likely vegetarian
- Chilli Beans Mild – likely vegetarian
- Baked BeaNZ 50% Less Added Sugar – likely vegetarian
- Baked Beans Lite – likely vegetarian
- Mild Mexican Style Beans – likely vegetarian
The sheer volume of beans that Wattie’s have on offer goes to show why they are the first name that comes to mind when you think of “baked beans” in New Zealand, but they are not very clear about the vegetarian or vegan status of the beans they sell.
Are Wattie’s Baked Beans Organic and Locally Sourced?
Although they are not officially classified as organic, a lot of the produce that goes into a can of Wattie’s beans is grown sustainably in New Zealand.
They use crops like plums, tomatoes, beetroots, and peaches grown in greenhouses in Hawke’s Bay and are supplied by over 220 growers across central Canterbury.
Not all of the foods that Wattie’s makes come from local produce, although they are almost all actually “made” in the country. To see whether a Wattie’s product comes from New Zealand, look out for the NZ Grown label.
If you don’t see the label then there are likely imported ingredients included as well.
In terms of sustainability, all of Wattie’s cans are 100% recyclable, which uses a lot less energy than creating a new can.
Do Wattie’s Sell Plant-Based Products?
Although their baked beans may not be strictly vegan, Wattie’s is one of the largest processors of plant-based food in New Zealand.
They have a wide range of vegan products that you can choose from, including most of their canned fruits and vegetables.
They also have a vegetarian range called Plant Proteinz, which sells several different meals made from beans, legumes, and vegetables. Their current selection includes:
- Smoky Spanish-style tomato soup with lentils
- Mexican-style tomato & black bean soup with corn & smoked paprika
- 7 veg soup with superfood quinoa
- Thai-style pumpkin soup with chickpeas, coconut & lime
- Lentil and roasted kumara dahl with ginger and turmeric
- Sri Lankan-style curried veg with coconut cream
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So, are Wattie’s baked beans vegan? Unfortunately, they probably aren’t, because they are not labelled as such and some of the “seasoning”, “spices”, or “flavours” listed on the ingredients do actually contain milk powder.
There is no clear label to distinguish whether their beans are vegetarian either, although some of the baked bean products that they sell are definitely not – like those with meatballs or sausages.
Wattie’s does make a lot of plant-based products, though, and much of it is grown sustainably in New Zealand, so it’s worth looking out for the “NZ Grown” label.
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