14 surprise foods to watch out for if you try Veganuary


This month is Veganuary’s ninth annual January, and in 2022, more than half a million people have made a commitment to move away from animal products.

Originally created in York in 2014 at the kitchen table of its founders, animal rights activist Jane Land and entrepreneur Matthew Glover, the first Veganuary only attracted 3,300 supporters.

By the end of January 2022, Veganuary expects to have reached the milestone of 2 million participants worldwide since its launch and a YouGov poll of 2,079 UK adults found that 4% plan to participate this year.

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But while some things are very obviously vegan, like carrots, and some things very obviously not vegan, like roast chicken, anyone who has tried being vegan knows that there are a lot of things waiting to trip up. innocents.

Here, with the veganfriendly.org vegan resource, we take a look at some of the weird ways animals get into different foods – and some might surprise you.

1. Beer, wine and cider

While the basic ingredients in these drinks are harmless enough, cider, beer, and wine may all have been processed using animal products to filter or clarify them so that they are clear.

Gelatin, egg white, milk, animal blood, bone marrow, and crustacean shells are all used occasionally to clarify alcohol, so check your favorite drink is suitable for vegans before you take out the bottle opener or bottle opener. corkscrew.



White sugar and brown sugar may contain a processing aid made from animal bones

2. Sugar

Yes really.

While sugar is produced from cane or sugar beets, both obviously vegetable and therefore 100% vegan, the manufacturing process can use bone charcoal to extract impurities and make the sugar sparkle and white.

Charred bones are burnt animal bones, so clearly not suitable for vegans.

In the UK most of the bigger suppliers no longer use bone charcoal, but some still do.

The problem is, there’s no way to tell if your sugar has actually used bone charcoal unless it’s a certified vegan product, because small amounts of processing aids don’t. do not have to be declared in the ingredients.

Brown sugar is often actually white sugar processed with molasses added to make it brown, so buying brown sugar does not offer any guarantee against charring of the bones.

3. Fruit juice

Pure fruit juice is vegan.

Some drinks made with fruit juice may not be.

Complications arise when the drink is fortified with additional micronutrients, as these may not be suitable for vegans.

Possible offenders include vitamin D, which is sometimes made from lanolin (the fat is sheep’s wool) and omega 3s, which can sometimes be made from fish.



Breakfast cereal bowl
Vitamins and Minerals Added to Breakfast Cereals Not Always Good News for Vegans

4. Breakfast cereals

As with some fruit juices, many grains are fortified with a range of nutrients to make them healthier.

Vitamin D is again the culprit from a vegan standpoint, with vitamin D3 almost always made from lanolin.

5. Bread

While many breads are vegan, many are not.

Some breads may contain butter, eggs or honey but these are generally quite easy to spot, either mentioned on the label or specific to a particular bread, for example brioche.

However, it is not that simple.

There are many animal products that can be found in your bread.

Lecithin, used as a stabilizer, unless it is listed as ‘soy’, is probably made from eggs, milk protein is sometimes used as a preservative and L-cysteine, extracted from feathers or animal hair, can still be added to some breads.

6. Candy

While most vegans are well aware that confectionery is a risky area, if you’re new to it you might not realize that they often contain gelatin.

Gelatin is produced from the skin and feet, while stearic acid is also often added and can be made from animal fat.

Additionally, any bright red food, including candy, can contain carmine, which is produced from the mealybug.



Four Bloody Marys lined up
Worcester sauce – vital in Bloody Marys – contains anchovies, so look for a vegan brand

7. Worcestershire sauce

Hold the Bloody Mary – standard Worcestershire sauce is not vegan, as it contains anchovies.

However, the good news is that there are vegan versions of this condiment.

8. Margarine

Vegans don’t use butter – but you need to check your margarine before you spread it on your (vegan) bread.

Some brands include milk derivatives and even gelatin, so be sure to check before you dig.

9. Dark chocolate

Some dark chocolates are vegan, but not all of them are.

Some may contain milk derivatives, which can be listed as casein, whey powdered milk, or lactose.

Lecithin on the ingredient list should sound the alarm as well, as in bread, chances are it was made from eggs.



Popcorn with a spoon
If you pop your popcorn at home, you know what’s in it. If you buy it at the cinema or supermarket, be careful

10. Popcorn and chips

If you buy raw corn kernels and pop them at home with vegetable oil or just air, then popcorn is vegan.

However, caution is advised if you buy it pre-popped or in a microwave bag, as it may contain butter or other animal fat.

Flavored popcorns can contain just about anything, including butter, cheese, cream, honey, and even bacon.

The same goes for crisps, although conversely there are meat-flavored crisps that are actually vegan.

11. Energy drinks

You should know that some energy drinks are not vegan.

The vast majority available in the UK are because they use synthetic and vegan taurine, but some, especially the bright reds, may very well use E120, or carmine, which is made from an insect called a cochineal.

12. Pasta and noodles

It is usually easy to distinguish pasta and noodles that may not be vegan, as they usually contain eggs and will clearly state so on the package.

Give fancy black pasta a boost, as it’s usually made with squid ink.

13. Crackers

Some crackers and rice cakes may contain some type of milk or milk derivative as an additive.

Powdered milk, whey, casein and other usual suspects should be watched.

14. Vegetable soup

It should be a safe bet, but it often isn’t.

Check that the vegetables are not cooked in butter and that the vegetable broth is used as a base.

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