HUH? Isn’t that vegan? A fascinating list of food & drinks you’d expect to be made from plants but actually aren’t

HUH? Isn’t that vegan? A fascinating list of food & drinks you’d expect to be made from plants but actually aren’t

When we started eating plant-based, we were kind of blunt and thought that basically everything which didn’t contain egg, shellfish, beeswax, gelatine or milk would be vegan. HAAAA – were we wrong. In reality, this is a bit different. There are so many products which you’d expect to be fully made from plants but surprisingly are not vegan. Like seriously, why would wine contain animal products? The person who ever decided to add fish glue to wine should be banned from drinking wine in his/her life.

So the European Union has created laws to what extent certain ingredients should be mentioned on the label. This is relatively limited, which means that not every component of a product has to be mentioned on a label.

F*cked up? Yes, we know. You’d expect some transparency in the 21st century, right? Luckily, they are able to create policies which demand more clarity. However, up till then, we created a short list of non-vegan food and drinks which are secretly not entirely made of plants:


# Wine; our all time favourite drink after water, tea and some good Portuguese coffee. To clarify wine, animal products have been added which aid in this process. Think of: gelatine, protein, casein (from milk) or the always delicious-sounding fish glue. Luckily, there are more wines nowadays with a vegan logo- YAY! However, do you want to be sure — opt for natural wine. Natural wine is made without chemical additives and should, therefore, always be a vegan drink.


# Beer; just like wine, to remove its cloudiness, can also be clarified with animal products. This happens to a lesser extent than wine. Guinness is a brewery that until 2016 always clarified the beer with animal products, due to high demand of vegetarians and vegans, they changed their recipe. Since then the beer is also vegan-friendly.


# Liquor; also the same story as with wine and beer. In your favourite alcoholic drink, they also add ingredients to make them more clear.


# Sugar; to make sugar white, charred beef bones are often used (sounds delicious).


# Bread and cakes; the baker often adds whey powder while baking products. Whey powder comes from the by-product of making cheese, and is therefore not a vegan ingredient. Funnily, a few years ago there was a Dutch TV show in which they found out that there was human (!) hair in bread. They travelled to China to be shocked by the insane amounts of human hair in a factory. So weird. But honestly, how do people even come up with the idea to try the effect of human hair on bread?


# E numbers (within the EU). According to the European Union, e-numbers do not have to be stated on the packaging whether they come from animals or not. What is funny, lactic acid, even if it doesn’t sound like it, is vegan.

To conclude, this is just a shortlist of some sneakily non-vegan food and drinks. Most likely, there are many more products to eat or drink that are not vegan. If so — let us know in the comments below or send us a message :).

Plant the seed

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