In the past couple of decades, the ranges and product labelling of food, toiletries and household goods have improved considerably, thus allowing consumers to make informed decisions as to whether animal-derived ingredients and/or animal testing are involved. In the case of food, this has been driven by the salmonella and BSE scares which originated out of factory farming; and by recognition that some people need to avoid certain allergens. Extending that to say ‘suitable for vegetarians and vegans’ where appropriate is sometimes therefore superfluous. If this trend continues, in future where processed food does contain animal-derived ingredients, rather than where it doesn’t, could become the norm for labelling.
As regards product ranges, the supermarkets have responded to this change. A good example of this is that in Britain, three of the largest supermarket chains, Tesco’s, Morrison’s and Sainsbury’s, each has its own brand of soya milk, both ‘standard’ and ‘cheap’, each of which has exactly the same nutritional content. However European Union legislation forbids soya milk from being labelled as such, which is no surprise given that the EU is hand in glove with the meat and dairy industries (which in reality are one and the same). Hence they are packaged as soya alternative to milk. Anti-vegans, such as those whom I have mentioned in the blog, would no doubt approve.
Superdrug, one of Britain’s largest pharmacy/toiletries retailers, has also responded to consumer-driven change. One should expect that its rivals would follow suit if they feel that it would increase sales. Superdrug’s shower gel, sun block and some of its other products have an ingredients list, with ‘suitable for vegetarians and vegans’ listed. It wouldn’t surprise me however if the EU Commission were to issue a directive that because the gel doesn’t contain gelatine, that it should be sold as shower alternative to gel. I am only half- joking as the EU has a vested financial interest in insuring that all that subsidy can be recouped through the sale of bones, ligaments, tendons and all other by-products of the meat/dairy industry.