Is Quorn vegan friendly? What you should know if you’re vegan
Standing tall among the great vegetarian and vegan meat alternatives of Linda McCartney and Beyond Meat, Quorn is one of the most popular brands in the UK.
This extensive range of products has a huge presence in just about every supermarket in the UK, meaning that people are generally familiar with their products. However, just because the brand is so recognisable, it doesn’t mean that people know exactly what Quorn is made from and, importantly for this article, whether or not their entire range is vegan.
Is Quorn vegan? Which Quorn products are vegan?
Is Quorn vegetarian? Yes, it is!
Is Quorn vegan? Sometimes!
Whether or not Quorn is vegan, there is no simple yes or no answer. Due to the huge range of products available from the brand, some items are, indeed, vegan and others are only vegetarian. Some Quorn products contain eggs, which naturally means that they are not suitable for vegan consumption.
Luckily, it is relatively easy to tell the difference between the two options on offer, as Quorn tends to make very clear which products in their range are vegan and which aren’t.
The way Quorn helps customers to know which products are vegan is with clear markings – usually a green stripe in the top corner, clearly stating that the product is vegan, along with accreditation with the Vegan Trademark logo from the Vegan Society. Products with these markings are guaranteed to be free from any non-vegan ingredients.
Quorn is constantly updating which of their products have vegan options, so currently, the Quorn vegan range does include, but is not limited to:
- Ultimate burgers
- Vegan burgers
- Battered fishless fillets
- Breaded fishless fillets
- Vegan five-grain fillets
- Vegan sizzling Mexican strips
- Vegan hot & spicy burgers
- BBQ strips
- Vegan pieces
- Vegan sausages
- Vegan fillets
- Vegan crunchy fillets
- Vegan Cumberland sausages
- Vegan nuggets
- Vegan smoky ham free slices
- Vegan fishless fingers
- Vegan chicken free slices
Over the years, Quorn have made more and more of their products vegan, however, some do still use small amounts of milk or egg to act as a binding agent. The company says it is researching new ways to produce the entire range of Quorn products with vegan options available, although you should keep in mind that there are over 100 different products in total – meaning that it may still be some time until we see an entirely vegan range of Quorn products.
Is Quorn mince vegan friendly?
Unfortunately, Quorn Mince is not one of the products on offer in the brand’s vegan range. As one of the most popular meat alternatives for mince-based dishes, Quorn Mince is made with rehydrated egg whites which act as an emulsifier. This, in turn, makes it unsuitable for anyone on a plant-based diet. Luckily, many supermarket own-brand vegan mince products are suitable for vegans as they are not made in the same way.
What is Quorn made from?
Although you may think the name Quorn gives a hint towards what it is actually made from – corn anyone? – it is largely made from mycoprotein. Mycoprotein is made from fungus, but it isn’t quite accurate to say Quorn is derived from mushrooms.
While all mushrooms do belong to the fungi kingdom, there’s a massive difference in the kinds of mushrooms someone may eat on its own, like button mushrooms and king oyster, and the fungus called Fusarium Venenatum which is used in the creation of Quorn products.
The fungus used in Quorn is grown in very large fermentation tanks, and substances such as glucose, water, potassium, magnesium and phosphate, along with the Fusarium Venenatum itself, are added.
After this process is completed, and the mycoprotein is ready to harvest, it is removed from the tank, given texture, seasoned, and mixed with egg white; or in the case of the vegan range, it is mixed with potato protein.
So, apart from mycoprotein, what is vegan Quorn made of? Although the exact ingredients of vegan Quorn does range from product to product, per seasonings etc, some of the more basic ingredients for the ‘meat’ include:
- Mycoprotein (88%)
- Potato protein
- Pea fibre
- Firming agents like calcium chloride, calcium acetate
- Natural flavouring
- Wheat gluten
- Stabilisers like carrageenan, sodium alginate
Are Quorn products tested on animals?
Although none of the current range of Quorn products has been tested on animals, it should be noted that, in order to determine whether or not the mycoprotein which it is made from was safe for human consumption, it was given to animals during its development.
Although a series of feeding trials took place over a long period of time, neither Quorn nor mycoprotein have been subject to animal trials since 1995, and Quorn says it is committed to ensuring no further animal tests will take place.
Considering the products used in Quorn have historically been used for animal testing, you could argue that Quorn is not completely ethically vegan. However, it is important to keep in mind how many animal lives have effectively been saved by the consumption of mycoprotein by millions of people worldwide.