HEARTY & HEALTHY
What to Look for When Buying Vegetarian Products
Looking for a label that reads ‘Suitable For Vegans’ or a ‘Certified Vegan’ logo is a simple way to tell if a product is vegetarian. Checking the ‘Allergen Information’ is another easy way to tell.
If the product contains dairy, eggs, or shellfish, the allergy ingredients list will mention so. Look for the Green Dot to see whether it’s vegetarian.
Vegetarian Society Approved trademarks are recognizable identifiers that provide consumers with assurance.
Always look for the certified trademark logo on each product including the vegetarian meat in Malaysia.
All ingredients are independently checked by the Vegetarian Society, so whenever you see the trademarks shown on products, you can be confident that they are 100 percent vegetarian or vegan.
Here is a list of what to look for when buying vegetarian food products.
Scanning the product’s label and package is a good place to start. As veganism has grown in popularity in recent years, more and more items are being branded as such.
Look for “Suitable for Vegans” or the “Certified Vegan” logo on each product. Vegetarian food manufacturers in Malaysia always have the certification logo on their products.
A product’s allergy information can be found at the bottom of the ingredient list. If the product contains milk, eggs, or shellfish it will plainly say, “Contains milk, eggs, shellfish”.
This isn’t as effective for meat-based products, but it should immediately inform you whether or not it’s worth reading the entire ingredients list.
Look through the Ingredients
It’s crucial to examine the food label for any animal ingredients. Because garlic and onions are not suited for vegetarians, reading the product description will also disclose if the food contains them.
The following are a list of animal components that can be used in food that you might not be aware of:
- Casein – milk protein.
- Lactose – milk sugar.
- Whey – milk by-product.
- Collagen – gotten from the skin, bones, and connective tissues of animals such as cows, chickens, pigs, and fish.
- Elastin – found in the neck ligaments and aorta of bovine, similar to collagen.
- Keratin – gotten from the skin, bones, and connective tissues of animals such as cows, chickens, pigs, and fish.
- Gelatine/gelatin – obtained by boiling skin, tendons, ligaments, and/or bones and is usually from cows or pigs.
- Aspic – an industry alternative to gelatine; made from clarified meat, fish or vegetable stocks, and gelatine.
- Honey – food for bees, made by bees.
- Vitamin D3 – from fish-liver oil or sheep’s wool.
- Albumen/albumin – from an egg.
- Cod liver oil – in lubricating creams and lotions, vitamins, and supplements.
- Pepsin – from the stomachs of pigs, a clotting agent used in vitamins.
There are a lot of animal-derived by-products, which might be confusing at first.
But don’t be put off by the lengthy list. You’ll be surprised at how fast you figure out which ingredients to avoid.
Don’t worry, you’ll figure it out eventually.
Food Labelling with E Numbers
Food additives, on the other hand, can be problematic. In some parts of the world like Europe, all food additives must be listed on the ingredients list and assigned an E number, which can make reading labels more complex.
Many of these E numbers are fine for vegetarians, however, there is a handful that should be avoided since they are not cruelty-free.
The following are some examples of common ones to keep a watch out for:
- E120: Carmine is also known as cochineal, carminic acid, or natural red 4. They are crushed-up beetles used as a red food colouring.
- E441: Gelatine. It is a gelling agent made from mashed animal bone and skin, found in confectionery.
- E542: it’s known as bone phosphate. Mashed-up animal bones are used to keep foods moist.
- E901: It is known as beeswax. As the name implies, it is made by bees; mostly used as a glazing agent.
- E904: is known as Shellac. It is used as a glazing agent, made from the secretions of an insect known as lac bug.
- E910, E920, E921: is known as L-cysteine and its derivatives. It is made from animal hair and feathers, these additives are usually found in some bread as a proving agent.
- E913: is known as Lanolin. It is a greasy substance secreted by sheep and other woolly animals. This substance is mostly used in cosmetics but also used to make vitamin D3, making many multi-vitamins and fortified foods unsuitable for vegetarians.
- E966: is known as Lactitol. It is a sweetener gotten from lactose, which is made from milk.
If you have any concerns about a specific vegetarian product, you should always contact the food product manufacturer directly – this may seem like a hassle, but if it’s a product you’ll be buying regularly, it’s worth it to clarify your concerns once and for all.
Everbest, an established manufacturer and distributor of soya-based food products, offers an extensive list of vegetarian-friendly products such as bean curd skin, ring rolls, vegetarian fish balls, vegetarian chicken meat, yuba, precooked vegetarian products and many more.
Visit our website for more details.