Vegan sandwich

Veganuary – how to ensure that food is vegan

So, we’re part-way through January and in recent years it has become synonymous with ‘Veganuary.’ This is where people are encouraged to try a vegan diet for the month. In many ways January is the perfect month for this. Several people make new year’s resolutions to eat more healthily, shed pounds, eat less fast food or cut back on meat.

How easy is it to be vegan?

Pardon the pun but if you want to ‘go the whole hog’, it’s not the easiest thing to do. Do you wear leather footwear? Sit on a leather sofa? Have a designer handbag? All of these would not be acceptable for a vegan. However, let’s stick with a vegan diet. According to The Vegan Society: ‘In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.’

That means no meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, insects (should you find them palatable), snails or similar, milk, cream, cheese, yogurt, eggs, honey or any foods containing gelatine. In addition there are ‘hidden’ ingredients which appear in several manufactured foods, or are used in food processing, which are derived from animals. Red food colouring E120, for example, is cochineal derived from beetles. Lactose, casein, some flavourings, whey, shellac… even some wine is clarified using animal products.

How do you navigate this minefield?

As a consumer you can scrutinise product labels. As a manufacturer you need to make sure that not only are your own products vegan, but also those ingredients from your suppliers. You also need to evaluate your production methods and production schedules to ensure there is no contamination.

Unlike having a food allergy, following a vegan diet is a choice. Eating non-vegan food is unlikely to kill a vegan or make them ill. Nevertheless, there is an ever-growing number of vegans in the UK who want to have the confidence that any food they buy does not contain any animal part or derivative. The same applies for any vegan meal served in a restaurant, café, bakery or catered in any other way.

How can manufacturers and caterers ensure their food is vegan?

Managing Vegan Requirements course

The simple answer is that it all starts with training. Vegan products need to be treated in a very similar way to food allergens. To assist manufacturers and caterers we developed a specialist course. Managing Vegan Requirements is written and delivered by a food industry expert. It’s a comprehensive 1-day course, certificated by FDQ, which takes you through all aspects of producing vegan products.

From the definitions of and differences between vegetarian and vegan, to making vegan claims, everything is covered. You will find out how your products can become Vegan Society approved, why we need to control vegetarian and vegan products and how to do it. There is also a section on avoiding cross-contamination together with risk assessments and control measures.

The day culminates in a short multiple-choice examination and successful candidates will receive an FDQ certificate.

Who should attend the Managing Vegan Requirements course?

The course is particularly suited to Technical Managers and those working in Quality Assurance but is of equal value to anyone in food manufacturing or catering who wishes to ensure that the food they produce or serve meets vegan expectations.

When is the next available course?

The next course takes place on 14th May 2024. You can attend face-to-face at our training centre in Skipton, North Yorkshire (conveniently located close to the town centre and train station) or remotely via Zoom.

You can find more details here, or alternatively please contact Claire Lennon on 01756 700802 or

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