The Vegan's Notebook

The Vegan Shopping Spree

So, you're out of frozen snacks and are down one sock too many. Naturally, as a vegetarian, you've thought occasionally about making similar choices in non-food purchases.

A lot of marketing phrases are nearly useless, beyond telling you that your appearance to omnivores puts you in their target market. Things like "no artificial ingredients" and "all-natural" tell nothing about the vegetarian or vegan status of a product, and are often used in ways that vegans find ironic or deceitful. Organic items are more accurately labeled, but that doesn't mean they're vegetarian.

Instead, look for places that manufacturers have a more difficult time lying, legally speaking. The ingredient list. Read it, know the common problem ingredients, and vote with your dollars. Many of the ingredients are listed by their chemical name, as they've been refined or concentrated. If you're even slightly in doubt about an ingredient, you can probably look it up a the Vegetarian FAQ at IVU. This goes for clothing and personal items, too. Many manufacturers also don't list the substances that go into their products if they're not intentionally ingested, even if the same products are tested on animals.

The easiest way is to buy from a vegan merchants. Vegan merchants and disributors often perform the background check on items that they resell, often providing evidence when asked. Plenty exist on the internet, often accept mail and phone orders.

Finding a mail-order distributor for what you want isn't always perfect... You might have an ethical preference to buy locally, or voice your participation (and the existence of your money) to other types of merchants. So, what to look out for if you're avoiding animal products and shopping with the omnivores? The list is long, so I'll defer to a few other groups who've proven it: