20 foods that are surprisingly not vegan


It’s easy to avoid the obvious sources of meat, dairy, and eggs when eating vegan, but sometimes these ingredients show up in surprising places. And then there are the more devious animal by-products like gelatin, lard, honey, and what is tallow? For some tips on what to avoid, here are 20 Foods That Surprisingly Aren’t Vegan.

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Worcestershire sauce

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Look carefully at the ingredients of the Worcestershire sauce. The standard, Lea & Perrins, contains malt vinegar, alcohol vinegar, molasses, sugar, salt, anchovies, tamarind extract, onions, garlic, spices and aromas. Aside from the vagueness of the last two ingredients, anchovies are a problem for those on a vegan diet.


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Here’s another one that’s not vegan, but not for the reasons you might think. There’s no actual cream in a Twinkie’s cream filling, and they don’t contain gelatin either. Instead, Twinkies contain whey, tallow, and hydrogenated tallow. You are already familiar with whey, but tallow, also known as rendered beef fat, might not be recognizable to everyone as an animal by-product.

Protein powders

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Whey is a by-product of cheese production and it is also the main ingredient in many protein powders. Fortunately, there are plenty of vegan protein powders out there, including varieties made by Vega, Naked Pea, and KOS.

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Pre-made pie crust

Pre-made pie crust

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You might think you’ve got the hang of it when it comes to pre-made pie crusts, like the rolled ones you might buy at your local grocery store. And when you’re told they’re not vegan, you might think it’s because of the eggs. Think again ! These pre-made crusts actually contain lard, which is made entirely from animal fat.

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Pop Tarts with Icing

Pop Tarts with Icing

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The frosting often contains gelatin, including the frosting that can be found on Pop Tart pastries. Some varieties also contain milk, so be sure to check the ingredient list. To be on the safe side, you can stick with the three vegan options: unfrosted strawberry, unfrosted blueberry, and unfrosted brown sugar cinnamon.

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Planter’s Dry Roasted Peanuts

Planter's Dry Roasted Peanuts

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Most peanuts and other tree nuts are fine, but Planter’s dry roasted peanuts use a small amount of gelatin to help hold the salt and spices together. It’s crazy !


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If you’ve never made homemade pesto, you might not know it contains Parmesan. Even jar brands like Barilla and Classico contain Parmesan, so you’ll need to find a variety that doesn’t include cheese or milk in the ingredient list (or make a vegan version at home, like this simple recipe from Minimalist Baker).

Miso soup

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The good news is that miso soup can easily be made for vegans, as the main ingredient is miso paste, which only contains soy, salt, and yeast. The bad news? Traditional miso soup, like the one you get at a Japanese restaurant, contains dashi, a soup broth made from dried kelp and dried fish flakes, the latter obviously not being vegan.

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McDonald’s fries

McDonald's fries

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If you think stepping on the Big Mac and having fries instead is the vegan choice, think again. McDonald’s fries have a beef flavor in them, so they’re not vegan or vegetarian at all. However, if you buy French fries from McDonald’s stores in Canada or the UK, they are vegan!

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Marshmallows (and fluff!)

Marshmallows (and fluff!)

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Marshmallows and marshmallow fluff aren’t both vegan, but not for the same reason! Marshmallows contain gelatin which, as we have already mentioned, is made from animal collagen. Fluff does not contain gelatin, but includes egg whites, so it is still off limits for vegans.

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Kellogg’s Frosted Mini Wheats

Kellogg's Frosted Mini Wheats

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Even if you replace vegan milk with your Kellogg’s Frosted Mini Wheats, it’s still not vegan. This particular variety of shredded wheat, along with the flavors of frosted strawberry and cinnamon bun, contains gelatin derived from beef.


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If you can’t tell by the name, Jell-O contains gelatin, which means it’s not a vegan food. On the other hand, most of the flavors in Jell-O Instant Pudding do not contain ingredients made from milk or other animal by-products and are suitable for vegans.


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Animal-friendly organizations like PETA and the Vegan Society have a strict no honey policy. The reason? Since honey is made by bees, it is technically an animal by-product and harvesting honey can potentially harm bees. Fortunately, there are many varieties of vegan honey available.

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Gummy bears and worms

Gummy bears and worms


Gelatin is often used to give gummy products their characteristic texture. This means that most varieties of gummy bears and gummy worms are not suitable for vegans. This includes popular brands like Haribo and Trolli.


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The gum is sometimes made with gelatin, but it depends on both the brand and the flavor. While Eclipse, 5 Gum, Juicy Fruit, and Big League Chew are all vegan, some varieties of Trident, Orbit, Mentos, Ice Breakers, Stride, and Extra are not.

Fresh pasta

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Here’s a confusing situation: Dried pasta is totally okay, but fresh pasta is often made with eggs, which makes it surprisingly non-vegan. It’s not just the eggs that you need to check the ingredient list, look for the cheese, too.

Fake meat


Just because meat substitutes are vegetarian doesn’t mean they’re vegan. These bogus meat products often contain eggs (and sometimes milk), including meatless cutlets, pomace, nuggets, patties and quorn chunks, as well as bacon strips, small sausages. -Breakfast, black bean burgers and grilled meats from MorningStar Farms.


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You might think Doritos are just junk food with no real ingredients, but most flavors, including nacho cheese, spicy nacho, and fresh ranch, can include milk, buttermilk, cheese, eggs and / or whey. But if you see Doritos Spicy Sweet Chili, take them, they’re vegans!


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It does not need to be labeled “milk chocolate” to contain milk. Dark chocolate is any chocolate that contains 50% or more cocoa, but you want to aim for more than 65% to reduce the likelihood that it contains milk. Even then, it’s best to check the ingredient list, which sometimes includes milk or milk fat. For example, Lindt chocolates, even the 99% variety, may still contain traces of milk.


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While you can pair it with gummy foods, gelatin (which comes from collagen – the skin, tendons, ligaments, and bones of animals) can also be found in a variety of other foods, including altoids. originals. Go for one of the sugar-free flavors, and you’re good to go.

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