The longer you are are vegan or eating plant based the easier it gets when food shopping. You begin to learn what products are vegan and which aren’t. You know which companies make only vegan food. And you just buy your regular food each week, and you know that fruit, veggies, beans and lentils are always vegan anyway.
Even if i don’t find food shopping time consuming or complicated – i usually buy the same thing each time and there isn’t much i need to question unless maybe i want to buy a new bread type and need to double check that there is no honey, milk or eggs in it. But otherwise i rarely check the ingredients list on food as i know it is vegan.
When you are new to a vegan diet, food shopping can take time and definitely feel like a burden having to check the ingredients and then check an app such as Vegokoll or isitvegan. However those apps arent always up to date meaning that some products can change the recipe so that they are vegan, while other companies can change their recipe so that they are no longer vegan (hence why it is good to check the ingredients of procesed food every now and then just to make sure they havent changed their recipe. HOWEVER if a product goes from vegan back to non vegan it means they would add allergens like milk or egg and that would have to be declared in bold style and make the customer aware!). After just a few shopping times you will find that it is alot easier and less time consuming as you know what you can buy and not buy and it will just be the random or new products you need to check the ingredients of.
I can highly recommend joining local vegan food groups that are from your country so that you can get new tips and advice on vegan products. Sometimes you completely miss that certain foods are vegan because you just expect that they aren’t so don’t even double check.
Now a days the clearly vegan food such as vegan cheese and fake meat have a vegan marking, which looks different depending on what country you live in. However the vegan and vegetarian marking can look very similar and i’ve been close to buying lacto-ovo cheese & sandwich topping until i looked at the ingredients and realised there was egg white or milk in it. Below you see how similar the vegan and vegetarian mark is. SO be aware of that!
Some of the vegan food labels.
What i began thinking about was how the vegan label on food makes it so much easier to food shop, or for example at restaurants when the menu items are clearly marked vegan. Sometimes i wish that all items (which are processed or in packages i.e not things like beans, lentils, oats etc) that are vegan have a vegan label. Such as i have noticed that certain pizza dough which is vegan now has a label on it and it makes me happy because 1) if i want to buy pizza dough i know which i can buy. But it would be great if things like cookies, cakes, bread, chocolate and candy frozen food products etc could have a clear vegan marking. I.e the foods that arent stereotypically vegan such as vegan cheese or soy milk! Also i am aware that it takes c.a 3 seconds to read and ingredients list! This isn’t so much for my sake, but for all the new people who want to try a plant based diet/vegan lifestyle. How much easier it would be for them if they just saw the vegan marking and new they could buy X or Y.
I do realise now when posting this that 1) plenty of products are already marked, 2) learning to read ingredients can be a good thing so that you know what is in the food you are eating and don’t end up buying lacto-ovo products because you mistaked the symbol and 3) it really doesn’t take long to read the ingredients list and 4) it is only processed food you would have to question meaning chocolate, crisps, frozen pastry or dough or bread etc
However not everyone has the time or even good enough eyesight to read the ingredientslist and sometimes you need to spend 10 minutes googling different e numbers and whether the D vitamin is vegan or not before you can buy the product, so in those cases it would be good if there was just a clear marking on the product!
Who knows, maybe in the future there will be more products marked with vegan. For now it seems that not all companies want that label incase they change the ingredients or because they can’t garuntee that there is no cross contamination in the product. Using the symbols and labels vegetarian and vegan are still voluntary it seems, however if the labels are misused i.e that a company labels a food vegan when it isn’t then there can be legal actions taken against that company. For now the best recommendation is to keep reading the ingredients list, join different facebook groups and you can always check ingredients online if you are curious about a product and don’t want to stand in the store and read the ingredients list!
What do you think about the vegan labels? Do you want more of them on food products or maybe you don’t care?