I have grown up as a vegetarian my whole life, never once questioning why. My parents became vegetarian through choice in their adult lives, and naturally kept my sister and myself under the same diet.
And personally, I never questioned it. I adored animals so I always thought why would I want to eat them if I love them? Of course as I got older and understood more, I have always been given the choice to change, but i’m firm in my beliefs so have never felt the desire to change my ways and probably never will.
But like many other vegetarians I’m sure, despite that, we still enjoy the odd faux-taste, so as a child, I had the likes of the ‘meaty’ flavoured crisps, which may sound odd to some but it was always just a flavouring (which to my limited knowledge, probably never tasted much like actual meat) and as a fussy-eater it was always a quick, convenient and cheap snack.
Though a few years back, I stopped eating them (Walkers ‘meaty’ crisps that is), and I can’t remember why. I think I just changed brands, as I got bored. A month or two ago however, I had some time to kill at a train station and was keen for a quick snack as I hadn’t eaten much. With limited options, I decided to ‘relive my childhood’ of grabbing some Walkers ‘meaty roast chicken’ crisps, assuming that it had stayed the same faux-flavour over the years. Though I soon realised this wasn’t the case, and they now do actually contain meat. Which to many is probably good, as it’s more likely to have a better flavour and be less artificial… but for vegetarians, it’s not so good.
I’m not blaming them, as I know I probably should have checked, but when it’s late at night when you’re tired, it’s a brand you have always previously relied on and you know that many other brands still use artificial flavouring, I thought I was safe, but obviously not.
I was also surprised that I missed that news in 2013. I mean that’s 3 years ago! Therefore it made me think, how many other things have seemingly subtly changed? Or do products get sneakily mislabeled?
For another example, for a short period of time Tesco’s used to do gelatine-free deserts, but then we noticed they switched back, and it is very rare to get veggie-friendly ‘sundae’ style deserts.
Or other brands, just forget to clearly label if they’re vegetarian or not which means endless minutes of reading the small print.
And when doing a search on Walkers, I came across the Vegetarian Society website, who are doing a brilliant job of pointing out the food alerts, of products that are not vegetarian or mislabelled. Which made me really surprised as to how many products contain lies and animal products. It also contains many other great bits of advice, news, help, etc. It’s definitely worth a visit.
I created this blog, because firstly I want other vegetarians to know to always be careful with the product changes or lies. But I also want the creators of this products to be honest, and clear on whether they are vegetarian/vegan friendly. The same goes for other notices like gluten free, etc.
We all deserve better. We want to trust the brands we love and need. We choose this lifestyle for matters of health and because we don’t believe in eating animals, therefore that should be respected. Why make it harder than it needs to be?