Non-Vegan Ingredients

Every major supermarket gives you the option to select lifestyle and dietary choices when shopping online. More often than not, these days, there’ll be an option to click ‘‘vegan’’, which helps to narrow down your search and save you quite a bit of time!

But, know, there’s still many amazing accidentally vegan products that will be available outside of that search. And by ‘accidentally vegan’ we mean it might simply state on the packet, “May contain traces of…” but this is almost always just to safeguard people against allergies, since they’re made in the same factory where, say, for instance, dairy equivalents, are produced. It is highly unlikely that these products actually contain any dairy, etc.

Fortunately for us, though, with things like milk, eggs and cheese always being highlighted in bold, due to these very allergies, it means it takes all of two seconds to cast our eyes over the back of an item to tell if it’s vegan or not!

But, that said, there still are SOME exceptions, and still a few hidden animal ingredients to look out for – here’s a handy guide!

IngredientWhat is It?What’s it used for/in?
AlbuminThe protein component of egg whites. Albumin is also found in animal blood, milk, plants and seedsTo thicken or add texture to processed foods.
AnchoviesSmall, silvery fish of the herring family.Worcestershire sauce, Caesar salad dressing,
pizza topping, Greek salads.
Animal shorteningbutter, suet, lardpackaged cookies, crackers, refried beans, flour tortillas, ready-made pie crusts.
Carmine (carmine, cochineal or carminic acid)red colouring made from ground-up insectsBottled juices, coloured pasta, some sweets, frozen pops, “natural” cosmetics.
Calcium stearateMineral typically derived from cows or hogsGarlic salt, vanilla, meat tenderizers, salad-dressing mixes
Capric acid (decanoic acid)Animal fatsAdded to ice-cream, candy, baked goods,
chewing gum, liquor and often not specified
on ingredients lists.
Casein (caseinate)A milk protein. Need more pleasant together withheart of vegas. It coagulates with the addition of rennin and is the foundation of cheese.An additive in dairy products such as cheese
cream cheese, cottage cheese and sour cream.
Also used in adhesives, paints and plastics.
CastoreumYellowish secretion taken from the castor sacs of male beaversIce-cream, sweets
Clarifying agentDerived from any number of animal sources.Used to filter wine, vinegar, beer, fruit juice
and soft drinks.
GelatinProtein from bones, cartilage tendons and skin of animals.Marshmallows, yoghurt, frosted cereal, gelatin containing desserts.
Glucose (dextrose)Fruit-based or animal tissues and fluids.Baked goods, soft drinks, candies, frosting.
Glycerides (mono-, di- and triglycerides)Glycerol from animal fats or plants.Processed foods, cosmetics, perfumes, lotions
inks, glues, automobile antifreeze. Used as
IsinglassGelatin from air bladder of sturgeon and other fresh-water fish.Alcoholic beverages and in some jellied desserts
(Check out Barnivore – huge and up-to-date
list of vegan-friendly alcohol).