Is honey vegan? How about beer? Or Oreos? – Your top vegan foods questions answered

It can be difficult to know which foods are vegan and which are veggie, with hidden animal ingredients often making foods not suitable for vegan diets.
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  • Now that Veganuary is drawing to a close, many of us will switch back from plant-based to a meat-eating diet.

    14% of Brits are participating in Veganuary this year and eating only vegan foods for the duration of the month, according to a survey by chewsygum – that’s the highest figure on record.

    But with potential benefits of veganism including weight loss, increased energy and more mental clarity – not to mention the positive impact on the environment – many who have tried a vegan diet in January may go on to become plant-based full time (if you want to try a vegan diet, read our easy guide on how to go vegan here).

    Over half of Brits feel pressured to go vegan, and this is mainly due to how switching to a vegan diet would help the environment. According to the survey from chewsygum, the most common reason for Brits going vegan is “to help save the planet” (53%).

    But while many of us may be vegan-curious, there is still a bit of a grey area when it comes to what exactly constitutes vegan food. There’s some confusion around ‘vegan’ foods such as avocados and meat substitutes like Quorn, and whether or not they actually contain animal products. And what about honey and dark chocolate – do they count as vegan?

    These are the most-googled questions when it comes to vegan foods

    Is honey vegan?

    is honey vegan?

    Credit: Getty Images

    While there’s some controversy surrounding whether honey is vegan or not, the Vegan Society say it’s a big no.

    According to the website, ‘Honey is made by bees for bees, and their health can be sacrificed when it is harvested by humans.

    ‘Importantly, harvesting honey does not correlate with The Vegan Society’s definition of veganism, which seeks to exclude not just cruelty, but exploitation.’

    Is Quorn vegan?

    is quorn vegan?

    Credit: Getty Images

    Quorn is a great alternative for vegetarians, with a mince-like texture that works well in hearty dishes such as lasagne, shepherd’s pie and spaghetti bolognese. But is Quorn vegan? No again! The majority of Quorn products contain egg white, which isn’t suitable for a vegan diet.

    However, Quorn Foods do have a vegan range. Choose from the Vegan Ultimate Burger, Fish Free Fillets, Pieces, Fillets, Vegan Crunchy Nuggets, Vegan Hot & Spicy Burgers and Vegan Chicken Free and Ham Free Deli Slices.

    Are Oreos vegan?

    Are oreos vegan?

    Credit: Getty Images

    According to the Oreo website, ‘cross contact’ with milk – meaning small amounts of milk may have come into contact with either the cookies or the equipment used to make them – means you may be consuming a small amount of cow’s milk when you eat the cookies.

    Is beer vegan?

    is beer vegan?

    Credit: Getty Images

    Beer’s main ingredients are barley malt, water, hops and yeast and so, in theory, should be suitable for vegans. However, when brewers finish the beer, animal-derived products, like isinglass and gelatin, are sometimes used.

    MOREHow to go vegan: what do vegans eat and what are the benefits of a vegan diet?

    You can find out exactly which beers are vegan and which aren’t on the PETA website.

    Are avocados vegan?

    are avocados vegan?

    Credit: Getty Images

    Avocados hit the news recently due to some claiming that they’re not actually vegan. But the Vegan Society has hit back at these claims, putting avocados firmly on the vegan-friendly list.

    MORE: Vegan food list: Family favourites you didn’t know were vegan

    “Vegans avoid using animals as far as possible and practicable,” spokesperson of the Vegan Society Dominika Piasecka told Plant Based News.

    “We are aware that many forms of farming involve indirect harm to animals but it is unfortunately not possible or practicable to avoid the destruction of other animals in most farming at this time.”

    Is dark chocolate vegan?

    is dark chocolate vegan?

    Credit: Getty images

    Generally, chocolate, even dark chocolate, contains milk. But there are speciality brands out there that do cater for vegan diets. ‘Delicious, affordable vegan chocolate is easy to come by,’ according to PETA – and they’ve rounded up the best vegan chocolate buys here.

    Why are so many people opting for vegan foods?

    Those that have participated in Veganuary, or trialled going vegan, gave the following six reasons as to why they did it:

    • To help save the planet (53%)
    • To help save animals (50%)
    • To “better” my diet (32%)
    • To challenge myself (29%)
    • To lose weight (12%)
    • Because friends/family did (6%)

    When asked in the survey, ‘which of the following would make you NOT want to go vegan the most?’ the Brits surveyed answered as follows:

    • It makes going out to eat more difficult (26%)
    • I’m worried it will make me ill/I wouldn’t get enough nutrients (22%)
    • I can’t resist meat (21%)
    • Vegan food is too expensive (18%)
    • I don’t think it will make a big enough environmental impact (6%)
    • I don’t want to be part of something seen as a “trend” (6%)

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