It can be tricky to identify vegan foods, as many products are labelled as suitable for vegetarians but may still contain animal products so will not be for vegans.
In this blog post, we will take a closer look at 25 foods that vegans should not be eating and why.
Ingredients That Are Not Vegan
One of the main things to watch out for while shopping and cooking are ingredients that are derived from animals or animal byproducts.
Here are some of the most common non-vegan ingredients to look out for:
- Dairy Products (milk, cheese, butter, etc.)
- Whey Protein
- Carminic Acid
- Palmitic Acid
- Cochineal or Carmine
- Vitamin D3
Foods That Are Not Vegan
- Honey: Many vegans choose to avoid honey as it is sourced from bees, which is an animal byproduct.
- Granola: Some brands of granola contain honey or other animal products such as eggs and dairy that are not considered vegan-friendly ingredients.
- White sugar: This type of sugar is often processed with bone char from animals, making it non-vegan friendly.
- Marshmallows: Marshmallows usually contain gelatin or some form of egg whites which are animal derivatives and thus not suitable for vegans.
- Bread: While most bread doesn’t contain any animal product, some types of bread use milk protein as an ingredient, so always check the label if you’re unsure about a particular brand of bread.
- Refried beans: Traditional refried beans usually have lard or other animal fat added to them during cooking so they would not be suitable for vegans who follow strict dietary guidelines.
- Chewing gum: Many chewing gums use gelatin which is made from the collagen extracted from animal bones and skin, meaning they would not be suitable for vegans to consume.
- Caesar dressings: Most store bought caesar dressings contain anchovies, parmesan cheese and even eggs which are all off-limits for strict vegans following a plant-based diet plan.
- Worcestershire sauce: A common additive in many dishes, Worcestershire sauce contains anchovies (small fish) which make it unsuited for the vegan lifestyle!
- Baked goods & cake mixes: If you’re buying pre-made baked goods such as cakes and muffins at the supermarket then chances are they won’t be vegan because they tend to contain milk powder, cream and/or eggs as main ingredients while some even include lard or butter!
- Risottos & Soups : Many pre-made soups and risottos contain chicken stock or dairy based products such as cream and butter so make sure to check the labels before consuming these items!
- Pretzels & Crisps: You would think that these snacks would be vegan friendly due to their simplicity however many varieties still contain milk derivatives like milk powder or whey proteins meaning that they wouldn’t be suitable for those following a strict vegan diet plan!
- Non-dairy milks : Soy milk is among the most widely available non-dairy milk however it’s important to note that some brands might add vitamins derived from animal sources such as D3 which could put them into question when it comes to being compliant with strict vegan rules!
- Fruit Encased in Wax: Some fruits, such as apples and citrus fruits, are often encased in a wax coating before they reach the market. Unfortunately, many of these waxes contain animal products such as beeswax or carnauba wax. To ensure that your fruit is vegan-friendly, look for stickers that list the ingredients used in the wax coating.
- Mayonnaise : Given its base ingredients containing both eggs and oil there really isn’t much doubt here – mayonnaise is definitely not vegan friendly!
- Ice cream: Whilst it might appear quite obvious even non-dairy ice cream still needs mentioning as it could still have ingredients like honey!
- Soy Sauce: While there are some vegan-friendly soy sauce brands, many traditional varieties contain wheat which has been processed with animal derivatives such as lard or fish sauce. So make sure to read the label carefully if you’re unsure about a particular brand of soy sauce.
- Cereal: Some brands of cereal contain honey or milk-based protein, making them unsuitable for strict vegan diets. It is also important to check the label as some cereals may contain marshmallows, D3 or other animal-derived ingredients.
- Red Food Dye: While many red food dyes are vegan-friendly, some manufacturers still use carmine (a pigment made from crushed insects) as the source of their red colour.
- Gummy Bears: Most gummy bears contain gelatin, which is derived from animal bones, connective tissue and organs. However, some companies now offer vegan versions made with pectin or agar-agar instead of gelatin.
- Fruit Juices: Many commercially produced fruit juices are not vegan-friendly, as they may contain animal products such as gelatin, honey, or casein. If you’re looking to purchase a vegan-friendly juice, be sure to read the ingredient label carefully and look out for any unexpected animal-derived ingredients.
- Peanuts: Peanuts are a great vegan-friendly snack, as they are naturally free of any animal products. Some peanut-based snacks or sauces may contain dairy or honey.
- Alcohol: (My old friend) While some alcoholic beverages do contain animal products, there are many vegan-friendly options available. Some distilleries may use animal-based filters when creating their spirits, beers or wines, so be sure to do your research before partaking in any alcoholic drinks!
- Dark Chocolate: Dark chocolate can be a great vegan-friendly treat as it is naturally free of any animal products. However, some dark chocolate bars may contain caramel chunks that are dairy.
- Margarine: While vegetable oil-based margarine may seem like the perfect non-dairy alternative to butter, one should be aware that not all varieties are vegan-friendly. Many kinds of margarine contain yoghurt or other dairy products such as whey or milk in order to add flavour and texture.
Overall there are various foods out there that appear suitable for vegans but actually aren’t upon further inspection.
Therefore ensuring that a food product is fully compliant with vegan guidelines should always involve thorough research beforehand in order to accurately assess whether it falls into the category of ‘vegan friendly‘.