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vegan foods

A Vegans Guide to Reading a Food Label

For those that participated in Veganuary you may now be converted to being a full time Vegan, and with the up rise in Veganism we thought what better than to offer you a Vegans guide to reading your food labels so it’s a bit less daunting for you when shopping for Vegan products.

The supermarket may seem like a frustrating experience if you are new to Veganism, trying to work out what foods are safe for you to eat and what may contain hidden animal ingredients.  Don’t worry with this handy guide you will soon be able to read food labels and instantly pick up this new language to help with your new dietary requirements.

So, where do you start?

Food brands are now opting to mark their products as being vegan with the vegan symbol on their packaging, so shopping has never been easier and will save you time looking through huge lists of ingredients.  However, not all companies are up to date with this new change so you may need to dig deeper when buying your food.

Vegetarian Symbol

If a product is marked as Vegetarian then you are already half way there to picking your desired food but you will still need to check for other ingredients.  If a food contains dairy and eggs then the product must make allergens very clear on the packaging in bold letters, so this is another thing to look out for.Vegan symbols Something else to bear in mind, is that if a product states that it ‘may contain’ an animal ingredient, but does not list it on the label, then it is more than likely safe for you to eat, as this is something they have to do in order to protect themselves from litigation should someone have an allergic reaction to an ingredient that may have accidentally ended up in the product during the manufacturing process. So, don’t let this put you off such products. 


Vegan foods

Animal Ingredients

It’s important to look at the food label and check for animal ingredients. Below is list of animal ingredients that can be added to food that you may not think to look out for.

  • Casein
  • Lactose
  • Whey
  • Collagen
  • Elastin
  • Keratin
  • Gelatine
  • Aspic
  • Lard/tallow
  • Shellac
  • Honey
  • Propolis
  • Royal Jelly
  • Vitamin D3
  • Albumen
  • Isinglass
  • Cod liver oil
  • Pepsin

E Numbers

E Numbers can create an issue for you as there are so many numbers to keep an eye out for.  Some common one’s for you to keep check on include:

  • E120 (Carmine)
  • E901 (Beeswax)
  • E441 (Gelatine)
  • E910, E920, E921 (L-Cysteine)
  • E913 (Lanolin)
  • E966 (Lactitol)
  • E542 (Bone Phosphate)
  • E904 (Shellac)
Vegan food on table
Other things to keep an eye on:
‘Dairy-free’ or ‘lactose-free’ or ‘free from’ doesn’t necessarily mean vegan – sometimes they are not so be careful and double check the label.

Glycerin(e)/glycerol, lactic acid, mono or diglycerides, and stearic acid can all be from slaughterhouse fat, but could also be vegan. If they are plant-derived then it should say so on the label.

So, while there are so many factors when it comes to buying Vegan food, the good news is that more and more companies are assisting with this now by providing the Vegan food sign so you eventually will no longer need to check the long list of ingredients in time to come.

Your Vegan Labels

If you sell vegan products and wish to discuss what labels we can print for you please get in touch with our team who can privude you with samples or quotes and help with your enquiry.