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Tips to ensure your meals are vegan friendly

Updated: Feb 12, 2019

It tends to be easy enough to understand what a Vegetarian eats/does not eat. Vegetarians do not eat any meat or fish (ie no animal flesh). This includes cow, pig, chicken and fish.

Vegans too do not eat any animal flesh.... but they also do not eat anything derived from an animal, including eggs; dairy products like milk and butter; and food products containing those ingredients. Some don't eat honey, and some avoid sugar which is refined using bone char.

We've included a few tips below to make things a little easier for you. However, the golden rule is 'always check the label' of products for vegan recipes before buying and using.


Vegans avoid milk from an animal. These days there are many vegan alternatives to milk, cream and butter in the supermarkets - including those based on soya, almond, coconut and other plant based ingredients. Sunflower spread is a great alternative to butter. Always check the label to be sure.

Honey and Syrup

If you wish to avoid honey, we have found that you can substitute it with a vegan friendly syrup. Sweet Freedom Fruit Syrup, is vegan, made from natural fruit extracts: apples, grapes and carob. It tastes, in our opinion, very like clear honey.

We've seen online that all Lyle's products are suitable for vegans except Lyle's Dessert Syrup - Chocolate flavour, which contains skimmed milk powder and sweetened condensed milk.

Most health food shops stock a range of vegan friendly syrups, and some products are available in the supermarkets. Always check the label to be sure.


Homemade pastry generally contains butter and sometimes egg.

However, many ready to roll type pastries available in the supermarket do not contain butter or egg - surprisingly - but are made with oil. Jus-Rol products are vegan friendly unless they say Butter Pastry on the packet. Their product range include ready to roll croissants which can be a treat for vegans!

Always check the label to be sure.

Vegetable stock cubes

Most people don't make their stock from scratch these days - turning to stock cubes and stock pots in their cooking. Not all stock cubes and pots are vegan friendly.

The main problem is that many products contain "Disodium 5′-ribonucleotides” or E635 (same thing – which can be from plants or animal derived, so its status as vegan friendly is uncertain).

According to Vegan Store Cupboard, the following products are vegan friendly:

  • Kallo Organic Vegetable Stock Cubes, Kallo Yeast Free Stock Cubes, Kallo Low Salt Stock Cubes.

  • Marigold Organic Yeast Free Vegetable Bouillon Cubes

  • Sainsbury's Basics Vegetable Stock Cubes.

Sainsbury's Vegetable Stock Cubes contain no animal products but risk of cross-contamination in the preparation process.

Those which are not vegan include: OXO Vegetable Stock Cubes, Tesco Vegetable Stock Cubes, Tesco Everyday Value Vegetable Stock Cubes, Morrisons Vegetable Stock Cubes.

The status of the following is uncertain as Vegan Store Cupboard is awaiting confirmation - Knorr Vegetable Stock Cubes, ASDA Chosen by You Vegetable Stock Cubes.

Always check the label to be sure.

Off-the-shelf 'vegetarian' foods may be vegetarian but not vegan

Great care needs to be taken to ensure that ready prepared or processed foods that are vegetarian, and i vegan-friendly, do not contain hidden ingredients which are not acceptable to vegans.

Most Quorn products contain a small amount of egg, for example. Quorn products which are vegan friendly are clearly marked 'Vegan' on the front of pack. The vegan range includes Quorn nuggets, pieces, fillets, breaded fillets, fishless burgers, hot & spicey burgers, and BBQ strips.

Always check the label to be sure.


Traditional homemade marzipan contains eggs amongst other ingredients. However, some ready-prepared marzipan products are vegan-friendly.

For example, we have consulted Dr Oetker's customer service team and established that Dr Oetker's Ready Rolled Marzipan is suitable for a Vegan diet.

Unfortunately Dr Oetker's Ready to Roll Marzipan is not suitable for a Vegan diet due to the potential line contamination of Honey (it is made on a different line to the ready rolled marzipan).

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