To Ve(gan) or not to Ve(gan) – Surprising foods that you'll be banned from this Veganuary - Root Kitchen UK

To Ve(gan) or not to Ve(gan) – Surprising foods that you'll be banned from this Veganuary

David Beaver

Whilst it’s easy to assume what foods are vegan and what foods aren’t- for example your classic meat, dairy, eggs, honey- you may not be looking hard enough at the labels of some of your favourite safe foods. Here are some surprising foods you may need to steer clear of this month: 


When you think of vegan food, chances are that bagels aren't the first item to come to mind. But it may surprise you to learn that not all bagels are vegan-friendly. Many traditional varieties contain ingredients like milk, eggs, honey and even l-cysteine – an ingredient derived from animal hair or feathers! Some ‘vegan’ bagels will also be made with refined white flour, which is bleached using animal bone char, so it's important to do your research before chowing down on one for breakfast.

The good news is there are some delicious plant-based alternatives available if you're looking for a vegan-friendly bagel fix. Look out for brands that use whole wheat or spelt flour, and make sure all other ingredients are clearly marked as vegan-friendly.


Weird, right? Chitosan, also known as chitin, is a natural polysaccharide found in many forms of marine life. It’s used as a coating to preserve and protect foods, from bananas to seafood! The most common use for chitosan on bananas is that it helps keep the fruit from bruising or spoiling too quickly.

The good news is there are ways to buy bananas sustainably. You can check if your favourite grocery store stocks Fairtrade-certified bananas or search for independent farms who practice ethical production methods. Supporting these farmers helps ensure that their workers are paid fair wages, reducing exploitation, and preserving habitats in vulnerable environments.


Treacle may not be immediately thought of as non-vegan, but unfortunately, it's not vegan friendly. Treacle is a syrup made from the molasses left over after sugar has been processed, and while molasses doesn't contain any animal products itself, the way it's typically produced in Europe often involves using animal bones to filter the syrup. This means that unfortunately treacle isn't suitable for vegans.

Molasses is also commonly used by many farmers to feed their livestock and the by-product of these animals ingesting the mix is also used as fertiliser, as sewage sludge is becoming a more popular fertiliser alternative for farmers.

Apple Juice

The main reason why some apple juice drinks aren't vegan is because they can contain animal-derived ingredients or be processed with animal products. For example, some producers use isinglass (a type of fish gelatine) as a clarifying agent in their production process. This means that even if the ingredients are technically vegan, the processing methods render them non-vegan.

If you're looking for a cruelty-free way to get your daily dose of juice, opt for cold-pressed or freshly squeezed varieties. These juices are a great source of vitamins and minerals without any animal ingredients lurking inside!


Though margarine is often thought of as a vegan-friendly alternative to butter, it's important to know that not all kinds are. Many brands of margarine contain ingredients derived from animals such as milk solids, whey, casein, and eggs. Additionally, some margarines may be processed in facilities also used for animal products or even contain added flavours made with animal-sourced ingredients such as gelatine.

To ensure you choose a truly vegan margarine, look for one that is clearly labelled as dairy-free and plant-based. It should also list only vegetable or nut oils as its primary ingredient rather than any animal fat sources like lard or tallow. You can also always check the manufacturer's website to find out if their margarine is suitable for vegans.

Vegan Butter

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