How to tell if a product is suitable for vegans: more detail
Remember that you are checking that the product does not contain any animal-derived ingredients or materials (and where applicable has not been tested on animals.)
1) Look for the Vegan Society’s Trademark
The Vegan Society’s Trademark shows that the product displaying it is registered with The Vegan Society as being suitable for vegans.
The Trademark can be found on all kinds of products.
You can search for vegan registered products in the Trademarked Products section of this website.
2) Read the label
If the product doesn’t display the Vegan Society Trademark, read the rest of the label.
For the vast majority of food products, it is possible to tell from the label whether or not they are suitable for vegans.
Our label-readng flowchart shows you how.
The flowchart: How does it work?
1) Increasing numbers of products are labelled suitable for vegans. However, there are still many vegan-suitable products which are not labelled ‘vegan’ yet.
2) Most vegan products are labelled ‘suitable for vegetarians’, even if they’re not labelled vegan. This rules out any ingredients from dead animals.
3) By law, food products have to be clearly labelled if they contain milk or egg ingredients, either in the allergy advice section or with a very obvious name in the ingredients list.
It is often quicker to look at the allergy advice box first before you look at the ingredients list. If this says ‘contains milk’ or ‘contains egg’ you can put the product back straight away without looking at the ingredients.
4) So, you’ve now ruled out ingredients from dead animals, and milk and egg ingredients.
This only leaves a few non-vegan ingredients or additives to check for.
Exception: Alcoholic drinks
Note that alcoholic drinks do not have to list their ingredients or processing aids on the label. In these cases, look for the word ‘vegan’ written on the label. If the product isn’t labelled vegan, proceed to step 3.
Most clothing is usually animal-free, apart from a few items such as leather shoes or belts, wool coats or suits, and silk ties.
Animal-derived materials are usually clearly labelled, because the companies see them as a selling point.
Shoe materials are sometimes labelled with symbols instead of words. Learn the symbols for ‘leather’ ‘textile’ and ‘other materials’. If they don’t have the ‘leather’ symbol, they’re likely to be animal-free.
Cosmetics, toiletries, household cleaning products, etc.
Look for the product being labelled suitable for vegans. You won’t always be able to tell from the ingredients list.
In the vast majority of cases, you will be able to tell by now whether or not the proudct is suitable for vegans.
If you still can’t tell or are unsure, the next step is to seek information from the company that produces the product.
3) Look on the company’s website
If you can’t tell from looking at the product whether or not it is vegan, look on the company’s website for this information.
• search the website for the word ‘vegan’ using the website search box
• look on the FAQ page
• look at the page with details about the product you’re interested in
• look for a ‘vegan list’
4) Contact the company to ask if the product is suitable for vegans
If the company has not included this information on their website, contact them to ask whether or not the product is suitable.
This has two advantages:
• You get accurate, up to date information about the product.
• You are helping to make the world a more vegan-friendly place!
Every time you ask a company about its vegan products, you are showing the company that there is consumer demand for vegan products and vegan labelling.
Customer demand is the best way of motivating companies to produce more vegan products and label them as suitable for vegans.
This will make finding and identifying vegan products easier for everyone in future!
Here's some more ideas about how to encourage companies to label their vegan products