Not suitable for vegetarians

There are a few products on the market that aren’t suitable for vegetarians even though you might never think they aren’t. This just shows how little is known about the processes of making the food, the drinks and the clothes we enjoy.

There are so many reasons why people decide to become vegetarian, like health or ecological reasons. In this case, some might consider that a few things from the list are ok to eat/use and that is perfectly fine. It’s a choice at the end of the day and nobody else’s business.


At the same time, I think it’s better to know as much details as possible to make an informed decision. I am saying this because I would have avoided a few things in my list even if I wasn’t vegetarian.


I’ve been a vegetarian for 8+ years and only recently I discovered that not all beer, wine, cider are vegetarian. For the filtering process they use Isinglass also known as fish bladder. I had pints of Guinness without knowing. They announced that their beer will be vegan by the end of the year.
Luckily I prefer German beer, mostly unfiltered and that is vegetarian. I searched online to see which beers are vegetarian and most of the ones I like are.
Kosher wine is filtered with isinglass. Other types of alcohol are usually vegetarian, but not all.

Marshmallows, medicine and jellies

Marshmallows, some medicines, jellies and some of the supermarket mousse contain gelatin. Gelatin is a collagen obtained from various animal by-products, basically is made out of pig or cow feet/hoofs, boiled. On the package it can mentioned: pork gelatin, beef gelatin or gelatin. There is also fish gelatin, but not widely used.
The vegan option is agar agar, an amazing gelling agent made from seaweed, used in Japan for centuries. This gelatin is more versatile because of its setting temperatures, this makes it perfect for molecular gastronomy and it’s used in high end restaurants. It also sets faster. I’ve been using agar agar for cooking for a while and I can’t recommended it enough, I get it from Lakeland. There is also vegetarian gelatin from Dr. Oetker, seaweed based too.

Lipstick and red food

Some cosmetics will contain cochineal for their red colour. The same applies to some of the red coloured foods. If you don’t know, cochineal is crushed beetles. Another “yummy” moment, right?
For cosmetics the red can be chemical and the food can be coloured with beetroot colouring. A little research before buying a product is important, as there isn’t a “V” sign on the cosmetics, like with food. I was told by a beautician that only cheaper companies will use it and that is not true.  £20 lipstick can contain cochineal, I would rather not disclose the name of the brand as their recipe might change.


I had an image in my mind of beautiful butterflies flying around while the loving workers are gathering the cocoons and weaving it in yarns. Well… it’s not as idyllic as that. The silk moths (they might be called silkworms, but they are moths) are killed before they leave their cocoons. This is done by suffocation with steam or heating them in an oven. This will ensure the fibres are coming out in one piece.


Almost all the cheese in Uk is vegetarian, but a small percentage is not. In the process of making the cheese is used rennet. Rennet can be sourced from the stomach of newly-born calves or new-born lambs for parmiggiano. It has to be a new-born as their stomach contains the required enzyme. The vegetarian rennet is fungal or bacterial. If on the package is mentioned microbial rennet, this means the cheese is vegetarian.


Cultured pearls, because farmed oysters are killed and the meat discarded or used.

I personally avoid leather. People often assume that it’s hard for me to buy shoes and handbags. In fact is quite easy as there are plenty of beautiful options at the same retailers that most people buy from anyway. It’s harder to get a vegan leather sofa and the same issue applies to the car seats. Even so, we ordered a sofa after Christmas and it should be delivered in a couple of weeks, I can’t wait. As for the car, so far we had 3 cars and all of them had fabric seats. I also don’t use bee venom products even though the bees aren’t killed to extract the venom. It’s not something I’m comfortable with using.

10 Comment

  1. I do think some things should be more clearly labelled that they are not Vegetarian or even vegan friendly, we live in a world now where some people have no choice but to change their diets and scanning the back of every packet or jar of food should be much easier than it is x

  2. Goodness! I never knew any of this. It’s been a bit of a shock to be honest… will make sure I consider this.

  3. There were so many things that I didn’t realise weren’t veggie until it was too late. One of them was pesto! Who knew pesto wasn’t veggie?

    Corinne x

  4. Wow, this post is quite an eye-opener! I’ve been vegetarian nearly all my life and didn’t realise about beer/wine! I’ll have to look into that….


  5. It must be really difficult to navigate around those products – meat by products in places you wouldn’t imagine! They should be properly labelled for sure.

  6. I decided to go vegan in the summer last year, and I’m am still shocked at the amount of animal products in things that you would never expect it be in. For me, it’s always the milk powder, milk powder sneaks in into everything and I just don’t understand it?! It doesn’t do anything, yet it’s in everything!

    ~ K

  7. I’ve been a vegetarian most of my life and have been caught out many a time, it’s great these days that lots of foods like yoghurt are usually all gelatine free although certain brands still use it. I just avoid most sweets anyway when eating out as I can never be sure.

  8. It is quite amazing what animal-products are in foods you’ve never thought about. I was aware of the gelatin after the whole “mad cow disease” fiasco that happened years ago. I remember we were teens and were traumatised that there were cows feet in marshmallows!

    Yay for getting a new sofa! Personally I don’t like leather and I would never ever chose to have leather car seats. x

  9. I knew about marshmallows, jellies and certain cheeses were not vegetarian friendly but I am pretty shocked about alcohol. It’s something I had never thought about before, so I think it’s great that you’ve brought it to light. 🙂

    I think sometimes it’s all down to personal preference. Some vegetarians and vegans will be more strict than others. For instance, Tyrone won’t eat meat but he does eat Haribo sweets which aren’t always veggie friendly, and he has eaten prawn crackers before.

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