A Vegan’s Guide To Food Labels

Food labels are designed to impart important information to consumers. For the most part, they fulfil the requirement perfectly, allowing for information like ingredients, nutritional values, and additional information such as country of origin, as well as branding and promotional information, to be included. However, for those that have turned vegan, are considering cutting out animal products from their diet, or have had to buy vegan food for guests, it can be difficult deciphering some food labels.

If you produce and sell vegan or vegetarian food, accurately labelling them can help increase your food sales by reducing customer barriers and eliminating any possible confusion.

Check The Label

Labelling can be especially confusing when you consider that foods must contain allergen information of other ingredients that are used in the factory where it is made. For example, you may see a label on a vegan product that says it “may contain milk” but this just means that milk has been used in the manufacture of other goods on the same premises. It does not necessarily mean that the product is not vegan.

Suitable For…

The first place to start is to look for packaging that states a product is “suitable for vegetarians”. If you’re a food producer, you can go a step further than this, obviously, and add your own “suitable for vegans” label. It could help attract a loyal following of consumers that will continue to purchase your products because they know that they are buying vegan food without having to check other information on the packaging.

Just because a food product says that it is lactose free does not necessarily mean that it is suitable for vegans. This is true of any “free from” food labels. Unless packaging specifically states that it is vegan, don’t assume that it is.

Allergens And Ingredients

You can also check stated allergens. A lot of allergens that could potentially appear on the list are made from meat or animal products, even though the names might not suggest this is the case.

Many people know that lactose is a sugar that comes from milk, and is not, therefore, a vegan product. Casein is also a protein from milk.

Other common animal-based products include whey, collagen, keratin, and aspic. This is far from an exhaustive list and it can take time to get used to reading ingredient and allergen labels.

It is also worth noting that some additives are animal derivatives. E120, for example, is made of crushed animal insects and their eggs.

PETA has written a much more extensive, but still not exhaustive, list of ingredients, that you can read here – https://www.peta.org/living/food/animal-ingredients-list/

Contact The Manufacturer

If you are in any doubt whether a food is suitable for vegans, research the ingredients that it contains, or contact the manufacturer directly. Contacting the manufacturer will not only help to clear up any confusion and ensure that you are buying vegan food products. It will also highlight the demand for vegan food, while indicating that there is a greater need for label clarity. The more people that contact manufacturers, the more likely they will be to add informational labelling.

For Vegan Manufacturers

Food companies are encouraged to add descriptive and accurate labels to their products. There are certain legal requirements that must be met. For example, a “use by” or “best before” date must be added to food and drink products. It also looks increasingly likely that meat products will have to be labelled to indicate whether the animal was stunned or not before slaughter.

If you also add clear labelling that your product is suitable for vegans, it means that consumers can cut out the steps above, reducing the time it takes and increasing the likelihood that they will purchase your product. Most consumers will skip steps like contacting the manufacturer and err on the side of caution by buying a product with better labelling. This means that you will lose out on a potential sale, because you failed to include a few simple words on your packaging.

Taking Advantage Of A Growing Market

While there is no legal requirement to indicate whether a food is vegan or vegetarian, or not, it makes marketing sense to do so. Clearly marking an item as vegan means that you can tap into a potentially huge market of buyers that are looking to avoid ingredients manufactured using animal produce.

The Vegan Society has said that research suggests the number of people in the UK that identify themselves as being vegan has increased from 150,000, 10 years ago, to 540,000 people today.

Vegan options are found on menus in restaurants across the country. Pizza Hut, Wagamama, and Nando’s have either introduced or expanded their vegan range.

Some of the biggest manufacturing names are now producing specific vegan lines. Even Ben and Jerry and Bailey’s, which are companies with their brands heavily invested in dairy product lines, have added vegan options.

Visit a major supermarket and you will find aisles dedicated to vegans, too.

There are even services and apps, like Happy Cow, that provide more information on where and how to find vegan food.

Label Line UK Printers And Labelling Machines

There is demand, and manufacturers are taking advantage of this.

As well as having your food products added to the vegan aisles and “free from” aisles in supermarkets, you can incorporate vegan branding into your packaging, and develop a large base of loyal, repeat customers. Label Line’s printers, coding machines, applicators, and even handheld scanners, can all be incorporated into a supply line system.

We can guide you in choosing the most appropriate machines, ensure a highly competitive rate, and we can help install and even train your staff on its efficient and effective use. Once you have the machinery, we can make repairs and can provide a tailored servicing and maintenance contract to extend the life of your essential machinery.