Foods commonly mistaken for being vegan

For those who’ve just gone into veganism, I’m sure we can all relate to a lot of questions coming your way, leading to lots of research done to answer them. 

The number one thing I noticed was despite the assumed clarity in what’s in food ingredients, you’d be surprised what foods people commonly mistake for being vegan. 

If you like this post you may also like the common misconceptions people about vegans. We’ll start this list off with some options that are understandable, then get into the more nonsensical ones.

Is bread vegan?

Bread is typically an accidentally vegan food, whereas there are some occasions when you might see some ingredient lists with either milk or egg within. This is typical for brioche rolls, croissants, burger buns and some gluten free breads.

Isn’t beer (and alcohol) vegan?

Beer is also a funny one, and one to look into more detail for most beers, or wines. Vegan friendly alcohol isn’t always to confirm through a label, some brands using gelatin, as well as extracts from fish bladders. When in doubt, check out Barnivore and their useful database. 

Is chocolate vegan?

Chocolate is commonly mistaken for being vegan, considering many don’t tend to pay much mind to the “milk” before it, and some brands not including it altogether. In most cases, conventional chocolate is not vegan as it contains milk or at least whey (a derivative of milk).

Are fries vegan?

Fries are usually vegan, only needing potatoes, and oil usually. Some frozen chip options contain milk or animal-based lard. This also applies to fast-food joints and restaurants, many of which use the same oil for chips as they do for nuggets, and other meat products. Make sure before ordering!

Are gummy sweets vegan?

Despite them tasting fruity and sweet, the origin of them aren’t as much. Gummy sweets are typically made from gelatine, which is an animal-based food product made from boiling down hooves, skin and bones.

A common misconception for those unaware of a vegan diet. Other ones use beeswax which is suitable for vegetarians, but not vegans – Try not to get caught out!

Is jam vegan?

Most jam is made from sugar and fruit, which is vegan friendly.  There are a few outlier brands that may contain gelatine. Always check your ingredients prior to trying a new jam!

Is jelly vegan?

Jelly is another fruity food that’s easily mistaken for being vegan friendly. Much like gummy sweets, jelly is made with gelatine as its main ingredient. For veganised jelly, you can use agar agar powder in place of gelatine. 

Is honey vegan?

In short, Honey isn’t vegan. Honey is a common omnivorous superfood that people debate is vegan, as it’s basically nectar from flowers.

The reason honey isn’t vegan is because bees consume it and regurgitate it, they’re commoditised so that it can be produced for humans. 

Are pasta (and noodles) vegan?

This one’s a funny one sure to make anyone scratch heads. I’m sure you may have had a friend prep you some lovely pasta not realising the pasta they sourced has eggs in it. The same goes for noodles! Always read the label, it reveals all. 

Is vanilla flavouring vegan?

Although most modern brands of vanilla flavouring, including artificial brands, are vegan, some batches of vanilla flavouring may contain castoreum. Castoreum is a chemical extracted from a beaver’s anal gland, pretty rank right?

Are veggie burgers vegan?

Many veggie burgers nowadays are vegan friendly. The annoying thing about “veggie” burgers is that half of them have milk, cheese or egg snuck into it, another food commonly mistaken for being vegan. I’ve made this mistake myself as well as many friends and family members. Don’t get me started on takeaway shops!

Is white sugar vegan?

Refined sugar, although only sounding grim in a diabetic sense, is also a food commonly mistaken for being vegan. White, refined sugar from sugarcane requires bone char for a clean, white colour, deeming most refined sugars unsuitable for vegans. 

Is Worcestershire sauce vegan?

Worcestershire sauce is another popular British favourite. Many may be surprised to find out that most brands of Worcestershire sauce contain anchovies, which is of course not vegan. 

Those were some surprising foods mistaken for being vegan to look out for, now to cover some funny ones people mistake on a regular basis. 

Other, more obvious foods mistaken for vegan:

Is Cheese (and cheesy crisps/nachos) vegan?

Cheese, is most definitely unsuitable for vegans, considering it’s made from cow’s milk. You’d be surprised how many people offer me a cheese and onion chip or order me a vegetarian pizza, at least they tried.

Aren’t Eggs vegan?

Eggs are the product of hens, and although are technically not alive, are still an animal product and not vegan. Commonly left in veggie options, probably why many mistake it for being vegan. 

Isn’t Ghee vegan?

Ghee is basically clarified butter. Still a product of cow’s milk nonetheless, which makes it unsuitable for vegans.

I thought Halloumi (still cheese) was vegan?

Halloumi is another one which many mistake for being vegan, or are just not sure, which is also fine. To clarify, halloumi contains milk, an animal product, in this case from a goat. 

Mayo’s vegan isn’t it?

Mayo is made from eggs and vinegar, typically. A commonly used sauce in all sorts of things from veggie meals to some “vegan” options. I won’t forget this one time I confirmed the veggie burger was milk and egg free, only for the server to put a big dollop of egg-based mayo in my burger!

Is Sour cream vegan friendly?

Sour cream is made of dairy products, derived from milk. Sour cream, whether in powdered form in Pringles, with nachos or in a burrito, sour cream is still cream. I’ve gotten this one a lot and found it kinda funny lol. 

Is Whey vegan?

This one’s for those unfamiliar with whey, I guess you just got to know what it is to know, but whey is a by-product of milk. Since it’s a product of milk, that deems it unsuitable for vegans.

It’s so annoying how many of my favourite snacks I had to stop eating, discovering they snuck in whey somehow. 

We hope you enjoyed this post on foods commonly mistaken for being vegan. If this helped you or made you smile, feel free to share this and comment what you’ve had from the list!