Home VM 15 products that may seem vegetarian but in fact are non-vegetarian!

15 products that may seem vegetarian but in fact are non-vegetarian!

by Darryl Grima


There are many products in the market that subtly contain animal based ingredients. What vegetarians and vegans learn is to look at the label and ingredients and try to scan if there are animal based ingredients inside it. Sometimes it is easy, but in some cases it is less easy. It is clearly frustrating for vegetarians (and vegans) to find that a food they have been eating contains meat or animal products.

15 non-vegetarian foods

Here is a list of 15 foods that traditionally contain animal products and are non-vegetarian. I have already benchmarked the definition of  vegetarian in an earlier post.

  1. Marshmallows: Marshmallows are made from sugar and gelatin. Since gelatin is a made from the skin, bones and hooves of animals you need to avoid these. Look for vegan marshmallows.
  2. Yogurt: Yep here it is again. A number of yogurts use gelatin as a gelling agent. Check the label before buying.
  3. Jelly: The name actually says it all. There are now vegan jelly/jello.
  4. Gummy Bears: Again gelatin. This colourful candy version of a bear actually has bones inside it! You can though find gelatin free gummy bear.
  5. Starburst: Sorry to burst the fun but they contain gelatin!
  6. Panna Cotta: Same culprit! Gelatin is traditionally used to set the milk so unfortunately panna cotta cannot be classified as vegetarian.
  7. Worcestershire sauce: One of the ingredients in Worcestershire sauce is anchovies. There are some vegan Worcestershire sauce alternatives that do not contain fish.
  8. Parmesan:  This traditionally Italian cheese unfortunately contains rennet. In fact to be called Parmegiano, it needs to be produced using the traditional methods using rennet.  Rennet is an enzyme that is found in cow’s intestines. Other cheese that are made using animal rennet are Grana Padana and Gorgonzola. Alternatively you need to find cheese that are made with vegetarian microbial enzymes instead of rennet.parmegiano-reggiano-not-vegetarian
  9. Tortillas: Some tortillas use lard (pig fat) so check the ingredients, or ask the cook at a Mexican restaurant.
  10. Apple pie: The traditional apple pie is done using lard. So whilst the apple pie might seem so innocent, the crust can contain lard.
  11. French fries: When eat French fries at a restaurant always ask in what the fries are being cooked in. Some restaurants use animal fats to fry them in.
  12. White sugar: Most white sugar is refined using bone char, so using unrefined sugar is a safer bet.
  13. Wines & Beer: Some wines and beer use isinglass, a kind of gelatin obtained from fish.  There are though many wines and beers that are vegetarian and vegan.
  14. Orange juice: Some orange juice brands contain omega-3 which would be derived from fish.
  15. Vegetables soups: Actually many soups that you eat inside restaurants might seem vegetarian, yet can contain chicken broth. Ask the chef to specify the ingredients.

Feel free to add you suggestions and experiences of products that might seem vegetarian but actually are non-vegetarian!


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1 comment

WilliamSmall February 4, 2018 - 2:48 pm

It is true there are so many products that we think are vegetarian and in fact are not. Don’t forget cornbreads. Most cornbreads are made using lard.


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