Why Aren't Figs Vegan?

Did you know that figs might not be vegan? 

“But figs are a fruit! How could they not be vegan?” I hear you scream at your screen (calm down plz.).

It’s a pretty crazy story, actually. 

Some figs aren’t considered vegan because wasps pollinate them and often die inside the fig. By the time the fig is ready to eat, the wasp has been dissolved. 

Naturally, this leads to the question – are figs vegan?

The truth is, there is no ‘hard and fast’ rule about whether figs are vegan or not. It all depends on which figs you eat (as not all figs are made in a way in which wasps will die in them) and your personal philosophy of veganism.

This blog is going to clear up all the confusion around whether figs are vegan or not by explaining:

  • Which figs contain wasps and which don’t
  • The different theories about what makes food vegan
  • How different ideas of veganism affects whether or not you can eat figs 

For more information on which different foods are vegan (including crisps and biscuits), visit our blog!

Are Figs Vegan?

Why Aren't Figs Vegan?

Source: Unsplash

According to Healthline:  “Veganism is currently defined as a way of living that attempts to exclude all forms of animal exploitation and cruelty, be it from food, clothing, or any other purpose.”

If you take this definition of veganism, you could argue that vegans should do all they can to exclude animal exploitation – including staying away from fruit and vegetable farming practices that could contain dead insects, even if they have been dissolved in the process.

In the case of figs, technically, figs aren’t vegan because they could contain a wasp.

However, this isn’t the whole story…

Are Figs Vegan?

Source: Pixabay

Most Figs ARE Vegan

MOST figs found in supermarkets DO NOT contain wasps because they are farmed in a way that doesn’t include pollination and therefore doesn’t include wasps.

Overall, the statement that “figs aren’t vegan” is only partially true.

If you’re still feeling unsure about buying figs, whether or not figs are vegan is still up for debate depending on your personal philosophy of veganism.

For example, some vegans won’t consume honey because bees are used to make it, whereas some will consume honey because honey production doesn’t harm bee’s and can increase the bee population.

The process of the wasp entering and dying in the fig is natural, so some vegans may not have a problem with it.

If you’re confused about whether or not the type of veganism you follow allows you to eat figs, keep reading – I’m going to make it really simple to understand!

Most Figs ARE Vegan

Source: Unsplash

Types Of Veganism And Whether They Can Eat Figs

Types Of Veganism And Whether They Can Eat Figs

Source: Unsplash

Ethical Veganism:

Ethical veganism is the moral opposition to the harm and exploitation of animals at all costs. 

For example, an ethical vegan will avoid any foods, products or services that could harm or exploit animals. This includes eating animal products, wearing animal products like leather and buying products tested on animals.

Can ethical vegans eat figs? In theory, ethical vegans should avoid some types of figs because they could contain dead wasps, which you may consume when eating figs.

Dietary Vegans:

Dietary vegans eat a vegan diet because they feel healthier eating plant-based foods. 

A plant-based diet can reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, type-2 diabetes, increase life span and aid weight loss. Dietary vegans will eat plant-based foods but may still wear leather or products tested on animals.

Can dietary vegans eat figs? If you eat vegan solely because it makes you feel healthy, it’s unlikely that eating a fig will impact your health and wellbeing drastically. If this is the case for you, you can enjoy eating figs.

Flexitarians/Part-Time Vegans:

Flexitarians or part-time vegans often eat a vegan diet for a set portion of their week. For example, they may eat a vegan breakfast and lunch every day, but not a vegan dinner.

Part-time vegans might eat this way to feel healthier, reduce the amount of money spent on expensive foods like meat and reduce their carbon footprint. It’s unlikely that flexitarians are highly concerned about animal welfare because they will still eat animal products some of the time.

Can part-time vegans eat figs? Yes, if you eat animal products already, the wasps shouldn’t be a big issue for you.

In Summary

Dietary vegans eat a vegan diet because they feel healthier eating plant-based foods. 

A plant-based diet can reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, type-2 diabetes, increase life span and aid weight loss. Dietary vegans will eat plant-based foods but may still wear leather or products tested on animals.

Can dietary vegans eat figs? If you eat vegan solely because it makes you feel healthy, it’s unlikely that eating a fig will impact your health and wellbeing drastically. If this is the case for you, you can enjoy eating figs.

Eat What Makes You Happy

Source: Unsplash 

Let’s get back to our initial question: Are figs vegan?

The answer: Probably.

Firstly, not all figs have the whole ‘dead wasp issue’, so no matter what type of vegan you are – finding a suitable variety of figs means that you can enjoy figs all the time!

If you will be eating figs that could contain wasps, then whether or not you consider them vegan depends on your personal philosophy.

Overall, it’s important to consider your personal values and let that inform what you eat. 

If you’re not one for labels – ditch the ‘vegan’ label and just eat what makes your mind, body and soul happy! (You go girl!).

We at Plant Sumo are all about making affordable, exceptional and accessible plant-based food (that just happens to be vegan!). 

It doesn’t matter who you are or what you eat; you can enjoy a plant sumo meal subscription. (We don’t use figs either, haha.)

Check out the plant sumo menu here and start building your own plant-based meal box.

About the Author

Amy

Amy Swain is a content writer for Plant Sumo, foodie and ex-chef. If she’s not baking then she’s got a paintbrush in hand, working on her next masterpiece.