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London Vegan Meetup Message Board › confused....advice please!

confused....advice please!

user 81579592
London, GB
Post #: 3
Hi smile

I have a question. It may seem like a stupid question but I'm a newbie vegan and I'm a little bit confused.
So, when in a supermarket, I'm looking at foods and some of the labels say suitable for vegetarians but nothing about vegans. But when I look at the ingredients, it all seems vegan. So does this mean its suitable for us and they have just not included it on the label or does it mean that its not vegan?? I know that some products have animal traces but don't list them and im aware of certain e numbers but its just the things which seem to have vegan ingredients but dont specify on the label. I'm confused about what to trust etc. confused
Jessica Stella F.
user 41450522
London, GB
Post #: 7
Hello Jessica,
It can be confusing indeed; you will find you spend a lot of time scrutinizing ingredients lists!!
When I first started becoming vegan, there were stops & starts; e.g. I once got a flapjack,
I'd glanced at the ingredients, was happy it was vegan then ate it only then I noticed later
another look at the ingredients I'd overlooked the word 'whey'....oh bugger!

So, you're potentially going to have stops & starts like that, before things get clearer!!
Yes, I've eaten things simply labeled Vegetarian, where a proper scrutiny of ingredients,
checking there's no e.g. 'whey/butterfat/lactose/lactic acid' etc...was enough, I was happy with that....

The key detail here is the common disclaimer; ''May contain traces of milk/dairy/eggs...'' etc...
It is, generally speaking, companies 'covering their backs' so to speak, considering indeed the
potential for those with sensitive allergies to dairy/nuts/wheat/soya (& the like) potentially (how high/low
the risk of a reaction is I don't know, but it's likely very rare, but can't be ruled out, legally speaking)
having an adverse reaction to a trace element in a product....

So, it may or may not contain traces of's to do with process's, could compare that to a domestic or commercial kitchen, where people prepare veggie, vegan & non veggie/vegan food; surfaces may be cleaned regularly but there'll obviously be traces, but we're talking really small crossover here (I can't rattle off an exact measure, but pretty small...indeed, depending on how clean the kitchen is of course!!!) I have eaten products (like dark chocolate) with 'May contain'....on the label.....but sometimes, & here's an extra bit of confusion for you....some chocolates says ''Suitable for Vegetarians & Vegans'' AND says ''May contain traces of milk...'' !!!??!!!

For chocolate that's definitely Vegan, see>>e.g....
Moo Free
Booja Booja

Of course in general, the now more frequent appearance of 'Suitable for Vegetarians & Vegans' on supermarket products is great to see & tends to negate the need for further ingredients listing scrutiny!!

It's getting easier;
Check out Tesco's for a quite new, dedicated Veggie/Vegan friendly range >>­

Sainsbury's has vegan lists >>

Of course, you can't go wrong buying Cauldron Tofu, & anything from Redwood,* Fry's*, etc...(*In health food shops, & online only, see below, as of writing)

For good Vegan 'stock', see Holland & Barrett, Planet Organic & Fresh & Wild.....
& your local independent Health Food shops of course....

E.g. one of my locals is Alara Healthfoods, Marchmont Street

You may like to try e.g., Goodness Direct, an online shopping port of call....

I would also suggest getting hold of a Veggie guide to London (& beyond); see these guides >>

And to avoid all this confusion, come to Vegan Potluck!! (Next one is on 6th March, >> here >> http://www.londonvega...­ )

Bring a homemade Vegan dish or a bottle wine :) & enjoy the monthly Vegan Feast!!
& you may not need to eat for a couple of days afterward!! Sorted!! For one night,
you'll avoid all that potential supermarket confusion, & meet loads of lovely people!!
Brilliant! :)

And I'm hosting The Brixton Vegan Walkabout next Saturday >> Here >> http://www.londonvega...­

And of course, there's loads of Vegan Meet ups to check out & discover....& Vegan Drinks,
every third Thursday of the month, is fantastic; join us as & when you can!! :)

So, Welcome to the London Vegan Meetup group Jessica; I guarantee you'll meet lots of lovely people!

All the best,
Jessica Stella Fox
A former member
Post #: 4

The simple answer is that 'vegan' labelling is not the norm. However, J Sainsbury is probably the best - even all their wine selection are labelled vegan on the shelf. Waitrose is pretty good, especially if you ask at their information section; they are very aware of allergy information.

Reading the ingredients is not always straightforward. However seeing 'vegetarian' labels is a god short cut to then just looking for egg/dairy/honey. Also some things will say 'may contain traces of milk'; this is because of factory also processes milk products and cross contamination can occur when the same machine is used for multiple products.

Here is a good app for helping with more of the obscure ingredients; http://www.treehugger...­

My advice is to do your very best and when unsure pull out your mobile and search "is X suitable for vegans'...­

You'll soon build up a list in your head of what is vegan and what is not, especially pre-packaged foods.

Good luck!
user 81579592
London, GB
Post #: 4
Hey guys, thanks for your advice. I've basically been doing what you have suggested; Looking at the allergy advice, staying away from any of those ingredients and googling anything that I'm unsure of. I actually shop in sainsburys mostly so I know they are quite good at listing vegan things but its actually a few things in sainsburys that got me confused in the first place. For example, I read online that sainsburys has a good selection of own brand vegan red wine, and as I am a big red wine lover I went to go have a look. So I read a few labels and some said suitable for vegetarians, some didn't but none said I was thinking that maybe these vegetarian wines are also began but have just not listed it. I ended up leaving it because I wasnt sure. But now that you have said that they do list wines with vegan labelling, I think I must have just gone into a branch which did not stock them. Will go and look in another store.
There are a few other things like that but you have definitely cleared up some of my confusion so I think I will keep doing what I was doing. And def start shopping at health food stores more.
Adive much appreciated, thank you :)
Karen H.
user 38102672
London, GB
Post #: 1
Hi there-wine that is labelled vegetarian but not vegan could have used egg or casein in the process.
user 81579592
London, GB
Post #: 5
Ah thank you. Glad I didn't buy it. And ive now actually found a sainsburys near me that has a lot of vegan wines etc. So it was just the branch which didn't stick them. I feel a lot better now
Thank you everyone.
user 82018192
London, GB
Post #: 2
Hi, I came across to this website yesterday, it might help, for vegan drinks:
also there is an app for android phones called VGAN, that should help you during your shopping trips :)
user 81579592
London, GB
Post #: 6
Hi Jessica, I also forgot to mention that the brixton walkabout sounds so great. I really wanted to come but on that day in doing some volunteering at a rabbit sanctuary. Will have to wait for the next one. But will look forward to it!
And thank you claudia.the website is very interesting and I will definitely be downloading that android app.
Oh, and yesterday I discovered an amazing little health food shop on a back street. Only about 10 kind away from me. Its tucked away quietly but it's great. They have everything thing a vegan could ask for - household products, shampoos, soaps,vitamins,food, drink etc. And you can take your product bottles and refill them which is a great bonus and environmentally friendly! And the best part is that it is actually quite cheap. I was expecting things to be very pricey but its very reasonable. By far, my new favourite shop and not far from me at all. Its called food for all, I think. Very happy about that.
Richard Ⓥ M.
London, GB
Post #: 460
Was it this shop... Food For All, 3 Cazenove Road, Stoke Newington, London, N16 6PA?

Richard Ⓥ M.
London, GB
Post #: 461
Though, if it wasn't a bright sunny day, it might have looked more like this...

...and it looks different again on Google Street View...

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