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Vegetarian Society Approved


When you see the Vegetarian Society Approved trademark, you can be sure the product is 100% suitable for vegetarians.

Products carrying the Approved logo meet all of the following strict criteria:

  • Free from ingredients from animal slaughter, including animal flesh (meat, fowl, fish or shellfish), meat or bone stock, animal carcass fats and  gelatine.
  • Free from genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The NZVS believes it is impossible to guarantee that such products are completely in accordance with the Society’s vegetarian principles. Vegetarian “rennet” used in cheese making is exempt.
  • Free from eggs produced under intensive farming systems (eg battery farms). Free range eggs produced in accordance with the European Union criteria for free range egg farming can be approved. We believe that hens are more able to behave naturally, remain healthy and enjoy a better quality of life under free range conditions.
  • Not tested on animals. Any product or product containing ingredients that have been tested on animals since 1986 cannot be approved.
  • Not cross-contaminated with non-vegetarian products during production or preparation.

Use of the Vegetarian Society Approved trademark is a proactive way to identify your product as suitable for the growing vegetarian community. The logo removes confusion and mistrust of the casual use of the word ‘vegetarian’ that can be incorrectly applied to products that contain animal ingredients. It also declares that the product has not been tested on animals.

Originating in the UK, the Vegetarian Society Approved trademark is now proudly displayed internationally on a diverse range of over 15,000 product lines, from food to beverages to skincare.

The NZ Vegetarian Society is licensed to manage NZ made products and those made by NZ-owned companies.  We are always happy to consult on products or ingredients to extend the range of food suitable for vegetarians.

Some of the “hidden” ingredients to be aware of:

Fats and Oils

Vegetable oil or solid vegetable fat should be used rather than animal derived white cooking fats. Tallow, lard, suet or fish oils are not acceptable.


Margarine may contain whey* (a by-product of cheese-making) and E471 (which may be derived from fish oil or animal fat).

Milk and Butter

Milk, and butter made from milk fat, are acceptable.


Cheese made from animal rennet is unacceptable as animal rennet is an enzyme extracted from the stomach of slaughtered calves. Cheese produced with enzymes from plants or micro-organisms (i.e. microbial rennet or vegetable rennilaise) is vegetarian.


Acid whey is acceptable. Whey is not acceptable when animal derived rennet has been used in the cheese or casein making process.


Eggs must be free range. The name and address of the free range supplier must be submitted with application and it must comply with the Vegetarian Society standards.


Gelatine is a slaughter by-product and is therefore unacceptable.

Gravies and Stock

No stock (liquid, cube or powder) containing meat, chicken or fish extract to be used.

Worcester Sauce

Often contains anchovies, please check/advise source. Anchovies are a fish.

Fruit Juices

Juices may have been clarified using gelatine which is an animal slaughter by-product.


Normally acceptable, but not when slaughterhouse products (eg gelatine) or isinglass have been used, eg in clarification or filtration.

To find out more, or apply to have your product approved,