In our previous Is This Vegan series we listed 7 items that people often mistakenly buy believing they are vegan-friendly, but in reality, they contain animal ingredients. We kept doing our research and compiled a second list featuring items that most vegans buy or consume believing them to be vegan. Don’t worry, we’ve also included vegan alternatives so you don’t have to hand dry without knowing what to replace it with. You can thank us later.
Without further ado, scroll down to check out the most common items that are mistaken as being vegan.
Almond Cheese (Or Soy, Rice, Cashew Cheese)
What’s wrong? Many of them have casein which is animal protein.
Alternatives? Plenty of vegan-certified cheese in the market like Kite Hill, Violife (available across the world), Daiya, Tofutti, Follow Your Heart (Vegan Gourmet), Miyoko’s Kitchen.
You can easily mistake products like The Original Almond Cheese from Lisanatti Foods or Trader Joe’s Soy Cheese Alternative as vegan by their names and pick them from the supermarket shelf without reading the ingredients. The sad truth is they are not vegan. Although these almond cheese or soy cheese does use almonds/soy as the base, these products still use casein (milk protein) as an ingredient. This makes them unsuitable for vegans. It’s not just these, there are several almond cheese (or other nut or soy cheese) brands that also have animal casein. Moreover, you also need to be careful about products containing almond and other nut or soy cheese in the market, which you could mistake as vegan. For example, the name Amy’s Soy Cheese Pizza will make you think it’s vegan (esp because it also labels itself as lactose-free). However, this one also contains milk protein as an ingredient.
So next time you pick something that says almond milk or cashew cheese – do read full ingredients list or look for the Vegan certification.
What’s wrong? Many of them contain gelatin, lanolin, animal glycerin or stearic acid (animal ingredients)
Alternatives? Pur Gum, Simply Gum, Chicza (organic, biodegradable, sustainable), Zellies, Tree Hugger Gum (loved by kids), B Fresh Gum, Marks & Spencer chewing gums (vegan options) and Peelu
Spoiler alert for gum lovers, many chewing gums use animal ingredients in their gum bases like gelatin (akes the gum chewy), lanolin, carmine (red pigment derived from cochineal insect) and stearic acid, making them not suitable for vegetarians or vegans. It is hard to know if your everyday chewing gum is vegan, as they list the ingredient simply as gum-base or natural coloring, without clarifying what is it derived from. Popular brands like Orbit, Extra (some of their flavors may be, but it’s hard to find out), Strident are not vegan.
Look for vegan chewing gums at your Bio or Organic stores, those are the easiest places to find them.
Coco Pops & Cereals From Kellogg’s
What’s wrong? Vitamin D3 that is an animal derivative in this case (sheep’s wool)
Alternatives? Doves Farm Organic Cocoa Rice (other cereals from the brand too), Barbara’s Cereals (vegan options), Living Intentions, Purely Elizabeth, Kashi (vegan options)
There’s no apparent animal ingredient when you scan the list of ingredients in most Kellogg’s cereals and you pass them off as vegan. However, the truth is many of them contain Vitamin D3 additive, which is actually derived from sheep’s wool and if you want to see the gruesome treatment of sheeps to derive this, check out this video. any organic cereals are great vegan alternatives, look for honey and milk though. Many organic and healty cereals also contain fortified calcium, B12 and other supplements, and they may be derived from animals. So if your cereals are fortified with something, and it does not say it’s vegan, steer away from it.
What’s wrong? Contains dairy by-product casein
Alternatives? Many natural and eco-friendly condom brands like Sustain, Lovability, Sir Richard’s, Glyde, Einhorn. For the full list click here.
Now this one we’re sure you would have never guessed. Unfortunately, there are hidden animal ingredients in pretty much everything these days and condoms is a classic example. It’s the last thing you would think to be not vegan. Most mainstream condom brands have casein ( a dairy derivative). Another issue with condoms is that they are also tested on animals, and hence they are not cruelty-free.
Non-Dairy Coffee Creamers
You would think a product labeled as dairy-free would be vegan, but it’s not that simple. While any non-dairy ingredients use soy milk or almond milk as their base ingredients, to make the creamer creamy they still end up adding casein or whey in it. It’s an irony but fortunately, vegan dairy creamers are widely available these days. You just need to find the right brand at your supermarket or likes of Whole Foods and you’d be sorted. In fact, the most popular coffee creamer brand Coffee Mate has also launched a range of vegan coffee creamers recently.
Cruelty-Free Make and Personal Care Products
What’s wrong? Cruelty-free products can contain animal ingredients. CF and vegan is not the same thing
Alternatives? Look for products that are certified cruelty-free and vegan (read our Beauty section)
Many of us believe that if your everyday personal care of makeup products have the leaping bunny logo (cruelty-free certification), it is vegan and free from animal cruelty. Ironically, cruelty-free does not mean the product is completely free from animal cruelty. It just indicates that the product in question has not been tested on animals. However, it may still contain animal ingredients right from fish oil to carmine to tallow, gelatin, and ambergris.
Good news is there are many vegan products out there that you can easily find at even your local drugstore and makeup stores. Our beauty section has many vegan product recommendations in every category from men’s grooming and vegan shampoos to vegan makeup and skincare.
What’s wrong? Contains fish for flavor
Alternatives? Annie’s Homegrown Organic & Vegan Worcestershire Sauce or make your own at home using this vegan Worchestershire Sauce recipe.
Worchestershire sauce is a condiment that finds it way in many food and drink items. The classic example is Bloody Mary. Most vegans don’t know it is inside their food and even if they do know, they’re unaware of the fact that it gets in umami flavor from anchovies (a type of fish).
Shopping tip: No matter what you are buying, don’t assume that the product will be vegan as it may have several hidden or unassumed animal derivatives ingredients. Looking for the vegan label on the packaging is the best way to ensure you’re safe.
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