12 Surprising Vegan Foods
"Accidentally Vegan" Products
While things like meat, eggs, and cheese are easy to avoid, adhering to a vegan diet is far more nuanced than it can seem—especially when processed foods with long ingredients lists and difficult-to-pronounce names can disguise animal products. For example, white sugar can be filtered with bone char, charred animal bones that can make sugar appear whiter (although this process is reportedly used less and less in food these days). And certain candies, which may seem vegan-friendly, include the ingredient confectioner's glaze, made from bug secretions.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) includes a number of products with refined sugar, natural flavors, or other ingredients that in some instances can come from animals on its list of "Accidentally Vegan" products. The organization explains the position as follows: "While PETA supports a strict adherence to veganism, we put the task of vigorously reducing animal suffering ahead of personal purity. Boycotting products that are 99.9 percent vegan sends the message to manufacturers that there is no market for this food, which ends up hurting more animals."
Vegan individuals will have to choose for themselves whether compounds like these fit into their personal animal-free diet or not, not to mention whether processed foods fit into a nutritious diet to begin with. Still, some of the PETA-approved picks are items you'd never expect to be vegan. Read on to see some of the most surprising.
Despite the creamy center, there are no milk products in "milk's favorite cookie."
Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
Despite that buttery taste, it's a number of vegetable oils that give these flaky baked goods their flavor.
Betty Crocker's Bac-O's Bacon Flavor Bits
Not to be confused with real bacon bits, these flavorful tidbits aren't actually made from meat.
This cracker prides itself on buttery flavor, but contains no dairy or animal products.
Kraft Italian Dressing
The creamy texture of this salad topper doesn't actually come from any dairy products.
Doritos Spicy Sweet Chili
The classic flavors Cool Ranch and Nacho Cheese are made with milk, cheese and whey, but the lesser-known Spicy Sweet Chili flavor is dairy-free. Still, that doesn't mean they're healthy—we counted 22 ingredients on the label, including MSG, which may trigger headaches and other unpleasant symptoms by some accounts.
Unfrosted Pop Tarts
The frosted flavors contain whey and/or gelatin, but some of the unfrosted varieties, like strawberry, are vegan.
Krispy Kreme Glazed Apple Pie
The brand's doughnuts are typically made with eggs and dairy products, but the store-bought apple-flavored fruit pies are free of animal products.
Sara Lee Oven Fresh Apple Pie
That flaky crust is actually egg and butter-free.
The original flavor chip boasts a surprisingly-short ingredients list with just whole corn, corn oil and salt.
Brach's Mandarin Orange Slices
Many if not most gummy candies contain gelatin, which is made from collagen from the skin and bones of animals. These citrus bites are an exception.