Gelatin is an animal product– it is made by boiling bone and skin of animals to make collagen. Most often it is used to gel food or other products together, but it is not always obvious when a product contains gelatin. Gelatin can often be hidden in long ingredient lists, so vegetarians and vegans should always be vigilant and check all of the ingredients in products before consuming or using them. Not only is it used frequently in food products, but many creams and cleansers contain gelatin as well, so don’t assume that its vegetarian or vegan just because it is not for consumption. Here are a products containing gelatin which surprised me, and a few recommendations for vegan and/or vegetarian friendly alternatives:
1. Junior Mints- Junior Mints used to be my favorite theatre treat until I recently ventured to the back of the box to take a peak at the ingredients. Low and behold, gelatin was there!
Vegetarian and Vegan Alternatives: For vegetarian theatre-goers, Raisinets and Milk Duds are both safe and gelatin free (but not healthy by any means). For vegans, take solace in the fact that Skittles just recently eliminated gelatin from the ingredients, so now they’re completely vegan!
2. Yoplait Yogurt- Yoplait yogurt uses “kosher gelatin”, but don’t let that fool you– it is completely non-vegetarian and non-vegan irregardless of the fact that it’s kosher.
Vegetarian and Vegan Alternatives: Vegetarians should choose Wallaby yogurt instead of Yoplait– it doesn’t contain gelatin but also contains evaporated cane juice instead of high fructose corn syrup. Vegans should try Whole Soy yogurt.
3. Neutrogena Cream Cleanser- Another one of my favorites now must be thrown out– unsuspectingly, I’d been using this cleanser for years not knowing it contains gelatin. How unfortunate, and what a waste.
Vegetarian and Vegan Alternatives: Neutrogena Fresh Foaming Cleanser contains no animal products (no gelatin!) and is quite refreshing.
4. Gel Capsules- Many gel capsules used for administrating medicine contain gelatin. This includes many multivitamins as well as other medicinal pills. Although hard to avoid, certain natural food stores will sell vegan and vegetarian pills without gelatin, so it isn’t a hopeless quest to find them!
General Products to be Weary of:
Cosmetics may contain gelatin, labeled as “hydrolyzed collagen”
Soft and chewy candies (including marshmallows, jello (obviously), and starburst candy)