Why there are so many different vegan labels for hot sauce: 18 examples

Traditionally many hot sauces are vegan by the nature of what they are made with and have been vegan since the diet has been popularized over the last 75 years. Now, many hot sauces, who have been vegan all along, label their sauces as being vegan for marketing purposes and to reach consumers practicing a vegan lifestyle. Other hot sauces are manufactured with the intent of not containing any animal products and seek to be vegan certified.

Is hot sauce vegan?

Many brands and varieties of hot sauces are considered vegan because they do not contain animal products or have not been tested on animals. Some hot sauces are labeled vegan and others will carry the vegan certified label. The FDA only offers guidance on vegan labeled products so manufactures may have different logos, labels, or terms all indicating a vegan product.

Because adhering to vegan principles is a preference, consuming hot sauce that is considered vegan is also a preference. There are hundreds of hot sauce products that do not contain any animal products or are not tested on animals and are not clearly labeled as meeting these standards.

Assumptions can be made about whether the ingredients are vegan but do not do an Amazon or Google search and expect to get results of ALL the hot sauces that are vegan. It takes some digging, but I have done that for you. Many manufacturers will advertise a hot sauce as being vegan without any indication on the label. They may not contain any animal products, but it would be up to the manufacturer to provide this information or a decision from the consumer to eat it.

Does hot sauce need to be certified vegan?

A vegan diet is an acceptance based on a personal preference. There may be a certain level or standard that an individual uses to gauge their commitment to the diet. There are not any laws or governing agencies that require a certified vegan label or packaging indicating otherwise. There are, however, agencies that protect consumers from misleading label information.

Packaging label

There are many symbols and terms that are included on packaging to indicate allergies, calories, and most recently vegan products. Although The FDA or other organizations do not regulate vegan labeling on products a manufacturer cannot legally label a product as being vegan if it is not.

The Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA) protects the consumer from misrepresented labeling but not necessarily marketing tactics. Although lawsuits have been filed the FPLA does what it can to prevent mislabeling or misguided packaging and manufacturers are aware of this.

It is considered voluntary labeling to label a product with a vegan symbol, stamp, logo, or icon on hot sauce packaging.  This is to provide specific interests to certain groups of people and is often used for marketing purposes. The FDA is concerned with the label being truthful and not misleading. Although the FDA cannot legally reinforce, they guide the manufacturer. Because vegan labeling guidance isn’t specific there are different logos, stamps, and labels that manufacturers use but not one specific trademark symbol.

How are products labeled vegan?

There are many trusted agencies and organizations that consumers are recognizing more that endorse products as being vegan, however, there are only a few that certify hot sauce. Vegan.org is one of the larger organizations to provide consumers with vegan certified products. There are hundreds of organizations across the globe that support vegan and vegetarian lifestyles but only a few that endorse products. Other establishments such as the Vegan Society and Vegetarian Society will also offer product review and approval.

What makes a hot sauce vegan?

Like any food product, the vegan label on a hot sauce has a deep meaning and commitment to eliminate animal products in the use or testing of the product. For decades traditional and classic hot sauces have been made with hot peppers, vinegar, and spices, making them vegan. However, in recent years gourmet and artisan hot sauces have used exotic ingredients that challenge the threshold of veganism.

Is vegan and vegetarian the same thing?

Vegan and vegetarian do not have the same meaning but can be similar when referring to a hot sauce. There are many labels to indicate plant-based foods to include vegan, vegetarian, vegan friendly, and vegan certified so choose the one that you are most comfortable with. Although they have a similar meaning, they do not mean the same thing.

Why is hot sauce not vegan?

A hot sauce is not vegan for a variety of reasons but number one would be that it does include animal products. This includes milk, butter, and dairy products as well. As discussed in Is Buffalo Sauce Vegan, many Buffalo wing sauces originally used butter which contains animal products, therefore they were not vegan. In bottled form, a Buffalo sauce may use natural butter flavoring, which is vegan.

List of vegan hot sauces according to peta.org

According to peta.org, several popular top-selling brands of hot sauce are considered vegan. Cholula, Franks RedHot, Sriracha, Tabasco® , and Tapatio are all considered vegan but do not indicate such on the packaging nor do they market their products as vegan.

Vegan by marketing

These are sauces that are advertised vegan but are not otherwise labeled vegan or endorsed by vegan-supported organizations. There isn’t anything on the label or packaging aside from the ingredients that classify them as being vegan. Plant-based is another term manufacturers use to attract consumers to a vegan lifestyle without stamping the term vegan on the packaging. Brands such as Seed Ranch and Yellow Bird use plate-based as a description of products as a method to reach more consumers.

Torchbearer Garlic Reaper

Spicy Delight Papaya

Vegan by contents

As indicated above some hot sauces can be researched and investigated for their contents and ingredients to determine if they are vegan or not. If they are endorsed and backed up like Cholula, Franks RedHot, Sriracha, Tabasco®, and Tapatio are endorsed by peta.org then they are probably OK on a vegan diet.

18 Awesome Vegan-Labeled Hot Sauces

Many hot sauce brands will have a label, logo, or icon on the bottle that indicates vegan. It is not the certified label from vegan.org but it is a label that the manufacturer feels properly represents the product as being free of animal products.

1. Tabanero Original Hot Sauce


Select Habanero Peppers, Carrots, Onions, Key Lime Juice, Pickled Garlic, Agave, Salt & Spices

2. Naggin Indian Hot Sauce


Water, Sugar, Onion, Chillies (Lavangi Chillies, Bhut Jolokia Chillies), Vegetable Oil (Rice Bran Oil), Celery, Garlic, Vinegar {Water, Acidity Regulator (INS 260)}, Salt, Ginger, Stablizer (INS415), Permitted Class 2 Preservatives (INS211).

3. Bravado Black Garlic and Carolina Reaper


Vinegar, Red Serrano, Carolina Reaper, Roasted Garlic, Maple Syrup, Black Garlic, Black Pepper, Sea Salt

4. Elijah Extreme Regret Hot Sauce


Trinidad Scorpion and Carolina reaper chili pepper, garlic, carrots, tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, salt, sugar, garlic, acetic and citric acids (acidity regulators), onion, lemon, passion fruit (citric extracts), sugar cane vinegar, xanthan gum (thickener), ascorbic acid (antioxidant).

5. Spicy Shark Original Hot Sauce


Bell Pepper, Carrot, Apple, Vinegar, Habanero Pepper, Lemon Juice, Banana, Water, Garlic, Fennel, Ginger, Salt, Olive Oil, Fruit Pectin, Sugar, Orange Oil, Organic Fruit & Vegetable Juice for Color.

6. Sauce Bae Skinny Habanero


Pineapple, Water, White Vinegar, Habaneros, Onion, Garlic, Jalapenos, Turmeric, Salt, Cumin, Black Pepper, Ginger.

7. So Cal Hot Sauce Cremoso Fuego


Roasted tomatoes, olive oil, water, vinegar, toasted ghost peppers, chile de arbol, morita chile, pepper, spices, toasted onion, sea salt, roasted garlic, xanthan gum (a natural emulsifier to prevent separation)

8. Unlucky 13 Arbol Habanero by Good Vibin’ Sauces


Tomatoes, Habaneros, Chili de Arbol, Garlic, Onions, Paprika, Distilled White Vinegar, Apple Cider Vinegar, Salt, Horseradish (Vinegar, Salt, Sodium Bisulfate

9. Ghost Peri Peri


Ghost Pepper Brine (water, vinegar, salt), Cane Sugar, Lemon Juice, Vinegar, Garlic, Sunflower Seed Oil, Dry Chilli, Salt, Ghost Pepper, Xanthan Gum, Parsley, Thyme, Oregano

10. Sky’s Gourmet Tacos Habanero Hot Sauce


Tomatoes, Water, Jalapeno Peppers, Distilled Vinegar, Habanero Peppers, Serrano Peppers, Garlic, Salt & Spices

11. Simple Girl Hot Sauce


Apple Cider Vinegar, Water, Cayenne Peppers (Cayenne Peppers, Acetic Acid, Salt), Contains less then 2% Organic Stevia Extract, Spices, Xanthan Gum, Garlic Powder, Habanero, Powder

12. O’Brothers Organic Jalapeno Pepper Sauce


Organic Red Jalapeño Peppers, Organic Vinegar, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar and Salt.

13. Fresco Sauce Chipotle and Habanero


Habaneros, Chipotle Chili Powder, Distilled White Vinegar, Fresh Garlic, Carrot, Black Pepper, Sugar, Salt, olive oil.

14. Grandmas Mango Pepper sauce


Mango, Distilled Vinegar, Chili Peppers, Chayote, Papaya, Guajillo Powder, Lime Juice, mustard (distilled vinegar, water, Organic mustard seed, salt, Organic turmeric, Organic paprika, Organic spice, Organic natural flavor, Organic garlic powder, sugar, salt, water, natural flavoring

Vegan certified hot sauce

Hot sauces that have the vegan certified label receive it from vegan.org. These are sauces that pass the stringent requirements of vegan.org to be stamped with a recognizable label. The logo is administered by the Vegan Awareness Foundation that was founded to educated consumers about veganism.

15. Shauce Hot Sauce


Organic Tomatoes, Organic Carrots, Organic Yellow Bell Peppers, Organic White Distilled Vinegar, Organic Onions, Organic Garlic, Organic Coconut Sugar, Organic Tamarind, Organic Habanero, Organic Molasses, Organic Mustard Seed, Organic Ginger Powder, Organic Spices, Organic Turmeric, Organic Arrowroot Flour, Organic Avocado Oil, Organic Sunflower Lecithin

16. Tango Chili Sauce Hot


Carrots, Apple Cider Vinegar, Garlic, Limes, Chile Peppers, Sawtooth Cilantro, Sea Salt

17. Fix hot sauce Sriracha


Organic Chili Peppers, Garlic, Sea Salt, Sugar, Rice Vinegar

18. Saucy Lips Handcrafted Gourmet Ghost Pepper Tamarind


Water, carrot, raisins, onion, sea salt, garlic, citric acid, dried ghost chili peppers, tamarind concentrate

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