There might be some food and drink that you would automatically assume is vegan, but in fact, isn’t. The best advice is to always read the label, but I wanted to share with you some of the surprising things that you might think are vegan but are not. 

When it comes to embracing a plant-based diet, you might think that the hard part is working out what you can and what you don’t want to consume.

It isn’t as easy as some people might think, especially with the way food is prepared and preserved these days for a longer shelf life.

vegan foods

Beer and Wine

So how can beer and wine not be vegan? Surely there are no animal-based products in them. But this is where you can be mistaken. While some beer and wine are naturally vegan, others are not.

Isinglass, which is a gelatine derived from fish, is sometimes used in wine and beer to help fortify it. You might also find some of them include a milk derivative called Casein. 

Chocolate that isn’t milk chocolate 

While cocoa itself is vegan, some chocolate, even if it isn’t the milk variety, might not necessarily be vegan just because of the additional additives that are added in production.

When it comes to chocolate, you might find that the brand has specified that it is vegan. But it is best to check the label. 


Gelatin is an animal product and most sweets, especially the gummy and chewy kind, contain this ingredient and will therefore not be vegan.

These days many sweet brands specify whether the sweets are actually vegan. 

Red food and drinks 

This one is a tough one because it won’t apply to all red food and drink, but more specifically the food and drink that has been dyed red.

For example, sweets, yoghurts, juices, and fizzy drinks. Some of them may contain an ingredient called Carmine, which is derived from insect scales. 

Worcestershire Sauce

Although there are now many vegan brands of Worcestershire Sauce, or indeed the label clearly states that it is, the traditional condiment isn’t vegan at all.

This is because it has anchovies in the ingredients list. Check out Hendersons relish is an alternative to Worcestershire sauce.


This is a bit of a curveball. Some vegans will stay well clear of honey, and that is because it comes from Bees.

While it isn’t necessarily an animal-based product, the bees are an integral part of producing honey, and therefore it wouldn’t make this ingredient vegan-friendly. 

Some bread

Traditionally, most bread is vegan. This is because it takes very basic ingredients to make one loaf of bread. Flour, water, yeast, and sometimes salt and sugar, which of course are all vegan ingredients.

Some bread products actually include milk and other animal-derived products, especially to help preserve them for a longer shelf life. If in doubt, it is worth checking the label to make sure. 

Soy-based yoghurts or cheeses

You may assume that a soy-based product would be vegan but sadly this isn’t always the case. Some soy-based products contain things like casein which is a milk-derived product.

Not all soy-based products will have it, but it is fair to assume that some might include this ingredient which would then make that product not suitable for vegans.

This is especially evident in soy-based yoghurts and cheeses, so always check the labels if you are unsure and they haven’t been marketed as suitable for vegans. 

Omega-3 in food 

It might be obvious, but for some, it may still be unclear. Omega-3 is usually fatty acids from oily fish, so if the food or ingredients you are using contains omega-3s the chances are it won’t be suitable as part of a vegan diet. 

Orange juice in a carton

Surprisingly, some orange juice isn’t vegan. Lots of juices of orange in cartons promise extra vitamins and one of those might be Vitamin D3 which contains lanolin which is derived from sheep wool.

It may seem like a lot to take in, considering orange juice should be perfectly fine, but it is the additives that you need to look out for. 

Chewing gum

Another thing to think about is chewing gum. This is something that might not even think about but the additional ingredients that make chewing gum the texture and consistency we are used to include some animal products with some brands. For this, you will need to check the label. 


You may think this is the perfect vegan alternative to butter, but actually, some margarine spreads include whey and milk-derived products which can’t be consumed when following a vegan diet. 

I hope this has made you more aware of some of the things you may have assumed were vegan but will need a lot more careful consideration before you consume them.

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