What’s in My Drink? Hidden Animal Derived Ingredients

Animal Derived Ingredients in Drinks

Whenever we grab a drink, whether it be non-alcoholic or alcoholic. We typically only do a quick glance to see what is inside. However, it might be better to take a closer look at what is really inside. This article will help you see all the hidden animal-derived ingredients in drinks.

Author: Jason Rapp

Vitamin D And Omega-3 Fatty Acids 

This is mostly found in fortified orange juice. These are not typically vegan. The ingredients can come from lanolin, which is derived from an oil that is found in sheep wool or fish oil. To avoid this, look for an unfortified version or look for a vegan-friendly fortified orange juice. Two examples would be Uncle Matts, the fortified version made with a vegan-friendly vitamin D source. Also, the whole foods non-fortified organic orange juice says vegan on the package.


Can be found in quite a few different beverages under the term “natural flavors.” This chemical is taken from a beaver gland near the animal’s anus. This can be found in raspberry, strawberry, and vanilla flavoring that is often found in soda and other foods.

Carmine or Natural Red #4

This is, in fact, taken from the cochineal beetle. These beetles are dried out and crushed to create a red color for different beverages and foods. To avoid this, keep an eye out for the above on the label. Also, look for carminic acid.


This can be found mostly in non-dairy creamers. This ingredient can usually be found in cheese. However, it is also used in creamers. So even when a creamer claims to be dairy free, you need to check the label, as it can still contain an animal-derived ingredient.


While this can be found naturally in fruit. It can also be found in animal tissues and fluids that are normally found in soda. Your best bet is to avoid this or to inquire with the manufacturer whether or not their product uses fruit-based glucose.

Ester Gum

Ester gum is made from glycerol which is a sweetener. This can be synthetic. However, it is mostly found to be animal derived.  Typically this is found in orange-colored sodas. Your best bet is to avoid these colored sodas unless the label says vegan.

White Sugar

This issue with sugar is not really the sugar itself. The issue comes from the refinement process, which can use animal bone char. There are some sugar companies that use the bone char process and some that do not. It can even be that a sugar company will use this process on one side of the US and not on the other side of the US with the same company. If you want to be absolutely sure you are not using sugar that has gone through this process, then look for ingredients that mention organic sugar. Organic sugar does not use this process. 


This ingredient comes from fish bladders. This is mostly found in beer and wine as a fining agent to remove the cloudiness in alcoholic drinks. The bladder is not found in the actual drink; however, it is used in the process. I have found this to be used in a lot of British beer. To steer clear of this ingredient. I would recommend using Barnivore. They do an awesome job at communicating with different companies. They post the entire email conversation with the companies for full transparency.


Chitin is a fiber used as a fining agent. It can come from insects or shellfish. So, unless specified as a vegan product, it will probably contain animal-derived ingredients.


Gelatin, which is derived from animal skin, bones, and cartilage, can be found in beverages or candy. There are plant-derived methods to achieve the same consistency. However, if this ingredient is mentioned on the packaging, I would suggest moving on to a more animal-friendly choice.

This is not a complete list of animal-derived ingredients. However, It does cover the ones you will encounter the most when at the store. There are a couple of ways you can check whether or not an ingredient is animal-derived or plant-derived. One way is to email the company. They should be able to provide whether any of the products contain animals. Another way if you are shorter on time is to stay up to date with all the news on the Vkind app or website. Articles are posted all the time to keep you informed of the latest information. Also, when our new social features are released, it will be a great way to share information with each other.








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