If you’re taking your first step into a vegan lifestyle, or aiming to increase your knowledge about animal exploitation, you’ll understand what the term ‘vegan friendly’ really means.
It’s also a good idea to learn what factors make something non-vegan and unsuitable for a vegan lifestyle. You’ll learn what the term vegan-friendly means in this post, including how to tell whether packaged products are vegan and examples of popular vegan foods.
What Makes Something Vegan-Friendly?
The term ‘vegan friendly’ means that the item is free from animal-derived substances or animal ingredients. Preferably, the term should also mean that no animal matter or animals were used to create the product.
In the case of product labels, you may see that some manufacturers label their products as vegan, along with a trademark or logo. Others may claim that their product is ‘suitable for vegans’ or ‘vegan friendly’.
The difference here is that items with a certified trademark have been credited by a vegan organization. This affirmation also ensures that the item hasn’t been animal tested, as vegan is not synonymous with cruelty-free.
Items that have been tested on animals can refer to themselves as ‘vegan-friendly’ as they are made with vegan ingredients. Depending on your beliefs, the term vegan-friendly may also cover being free from animal testing, as well as being free from animal matter.
How Do You Know If Packaged Food Is Vegan?
Labels have improved a lot from the past! As more people start to become vegan, food manufacturers are taking the time to promote their vegan-friendly products with their labels. There are also other things brands can do to become ‘officially’ certified vegan.
Items may be labeled with a ‘Vegan Trademark’, which indicates the Vegan Society has sanctioned the product as suitable for vegan certification.
If a brand calls their product vegan, but it has not been labeled with the Vegan Trademark, they may call it ‘vegan friendly’, instead of purely vegan. Another establishment, known as The Vegan Awareness Foundation, can provide its certification.
Items with the ‘Certified Vegan’ stamp have gone through an approval procedure to make sure no animal products have been used to make them. Both organizations will only certify a product as vegan if they are also cruelty-free.
However, several vegan-friendly items may not have applied for the entitlement to use a certification. They may mark themselves as ‘suitable for vegans’ or ‘vegan friendly’.
This doesn’t mean that the product isn’t vegan, just that the manufacturer hasn’t gone through an outside organization to make sure it meets its principles.
Remember that some vegan products won’t have a distinct ‘vegan’ or ‘vegan-friendly’ label at all. If a food product you want hasn’t been labeled with a vegan label, check the ingredients list to check whether it’s compatible with your lifestyle.
An easy way to do this is to go through the allergen information. If the product contains eggs, shellfish, or milk, you’ll know that it isn’t vegan.
What Types Of Food Are Non-Vegan?
Products which you may presume are fully vegan can be made with animal-sourced ingredients. Other than evident items, like eggs and milk, several foods and items may seem vegan-friendly, while the opposite is true.
For instance, wine, fruit juice, or beer may have been filtered, clarified, or defoamed with animal matter. Even though wine is made with grapes, it can be processed through ‘fining agents’.
These include egg albumen from egg whites, casein, fish oil, chitin, and even bone and blood marrow. Wine may look like a vegan beverage, but your favorite bottle may not be vegan at all.
If you’re a vegan wine lover, the good news is that animal-sourced fining agents can be substituted with vegan choices. Examples include limestone, bentonite clay, silica gel, plant casein, and kaolin clay.
Many winemakers don’t state their fining agents on the label as they don’t sound appealing. Keep an eye out for wines certified as vegan, or ones that are labeled as ‘unfiltered’.
Typical Examples Of Vegan-Friendly Foods
As there are lots of seemingly vegan foods which aren’t vegan at all, here are some real vegan-friendly foods to make a part of your diet.
- Vegetable oils
- Plant non-dairy milk
- Seeds and nuts
- Tempeh, tofu, seitan
- Legumes like lentils, beans, and peas
- Vegetables and fruits
- Some types of rice, pasta, and bread
A general rule is that plant-based food and whole grains are often vegan. Try to look for products with a shorter ingredient list, as well as ones that are ingredients themselves.
Other Items Which May Not Be Vegan
Vegans don’t just have to think about the food they eat, they’ll have to make sure that their everyday items are vegan-friendly too. This can be one of the hardest parts of living a vegan lifestyle, as a lot of household items may not be suitable for a vegan lifestyle.
Shampoo, skincare items, laundry detergent, makeup, soap, and even clothing may be an issue. There are lots of ingredients that go into these products which make them non-vegan.
The good news is that you can find vegan substitutes for many of these items, as long as you know where to look. For instance, glycerine is a substance used to make lots of toiletries, like soap and shampoo.
Glycerine is animal fat that is non-vegan, but vegans can opt for vegetable glycerine instead. Clothing-wise, leather, animal skin, and fur are obvious no-nos, but there are lots of alternatives that are suitable for vegans.
You can find jackets made from high-quality vegan leather, coats made from fake fur, and shoes made from artificial snakeskin.
The Bottom Line
The term ‘vegan friendly’ means that the product in question is free from animal matter, animal-sourced ingredients, and hasn’t been created with animal exploitative methods.
The Vegan Society and The Vegan Awareness Foundation may certify products as vegan, which are then labeled with a trademark.
Manufacturers can still produce vegan food items without needing a certification, but if this is the case, these items may display the term ‘vegan friendly’, instead of purely vegan.
Though lots of seemingly vegan foods aren’t really vegan, you can stay on the safe side by making whole grains and plant-based items a large part of your diet.
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