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Vegan FAQ

Below are Frequently Asked Questions specific to vegan products for our New Hope Network Standards program and the Natural Products Expo/Beacon Discovery Application Review Process.

For more details about Expo Exhibitor Registration, please consult the following sites:

Vegan Considerations

Is vegan the same as plant-based?
Our vegan definition differs from plant-based definition primarily in the processing and handling of the product and/or its ingredients.
How is vegan different from plant-based?
Plant-Based Vegan
Ingredients may be processed with animal by-products
Ingredients may not be processed with animal by-products (e.g., sweeteners may not be filtered with bone char)
No restrictions on animal testing
May not be tested on animals
No restrictions on processing in a facility that also processes animal products
Should not be processed in facility that also processes animal products
Must have ingredients derived mostly from plants and may also include fungi, algae and certain non-plant ingredients such as salt and water
Ingredients may come from plant and non-plant sources, or be synthetically derived so long as there is no animal testing, processing with animal by-products, and should not be manufactured in a facility that also processes animal
Should not include synthetically derived ingredients
What’s the difference between vegan, vegan certified or vegan-friendly?
There is no regulatory definition in the U.S. for the term ‘vegan’. A ‘vegan certified’ product means that a third-party has reviewed a product’s ingredients to confirm that it meets requirements as specified by that certifying organization. Be aware that requirements and definitions vary among third party certification agencies. There is also no regulatory definition for ‘vegan-friendly’. In some instances, vegan-friendly and vegan may be used interchangeably. In other instances, a product may be labeled as vegan-friendly even if it does not have a third- party certification verifying that it is certified as vegan.
My product is made with bio-similar or nature-identical, animal-free inputs, such as animal-free whey, collagen or egg. Can I use a vegan claim?

No. We do not allow products that contain bio-similar or nature-identical, animal-free ingredients to be labeled as vegan. We believe such claims may be misleading, could cause allergen confusion, and are not fully transparent to consumers. We consider not only how a product is made, but also what a product is. Under this framework, we do not consider these products to be truly vegan because of what this ingredient is, which is an animal protein, and not solely on how the ingredient is made.

My products contain animal-free whey or animal-free collagen, AND the products are certified vegan by a third-party vegan certifier. Can I exhibit these certified vegan products that contain nature-identical animal proteins?

We will not dispute a product labeled as plant-based if the product is mostly mushroom and other non-animal-derived ingredients as they fit within our guidelines. We encourage companies to look into certifying their products to avoid risks that could arise with such claims. 

My product contains mostly plants and some non-plant ingredients such as seaweed flakes and salt. Can I use a vegan claim?

Yes. Non-plant ingredients, such as algae, mushrooms, salt and water are permissible so long as the ingredients are not:

  • Bio-identical, animal-free derivatives;
  • Tested on animals; or
  • Derived from/processed with animal inputs.
My product contains mostly plants but includes some added vitamins that may be synthetically produced. Can I use a vegan claim?

Yes, as long as the added vitamins or any other synthetically derived ingredients are not:

  • Bio-identical, animal-free derivatives;
  • Tested on animals; or
  • Derived from/processed with animal inputs
What is a statement of source?

This will depend upon what type of non-plant ingredients are in the product. Under our guidelines, if the ingredients are synthetically derived, the product should not claim to be plant-based. If the ingredients are salt, water and/or other non-synthetically derived ingredients, we would not dispute a plant-based claim.