Diet Pepsi is, for some reason, not vegan – but PepsiCo won’t say what’s actually in it. Rather disturbingly, the soft drink giant is refusing to reveal what animal ingredient is used in their diet version that makes it unsuitable for those following a vegan diet. This is despite repeated requests to PepsiCo to reveal what the offending ingredient is, in case people have religious concerns or allergies. A spokeswoman told Metro.co.uk that they would not reveal any part of their ‘recipe’ because it’s considered ‘commercially sensitive information’. However when we asked them to only clarify what the non-vegan ingredient or ingredients are, they doubled down.
In a pre-prepared statement later sent to Metro.co.uk, the company said: ‘We can confirm that regular Pepsi and Pepsi MAX are suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Diet Pepsi is only suitable for vegetarians as it contain traces of ingredients that are not suitable for people following a vegan diet.’
A spokesperson for Britvic – which produces and distributes Pepsi in the UK – also told Metro.co.uk that Diet Pepsi was not suitable for vegans, but said they didn’t actually know what the ingredient is because it’s ‘commercially sensitive’.
Also included in a list of non-vegan Britvic drinks were 7Up Free, Robinsons Fruit Shoot My Five Apple and Blackcurrant, and Pepsi Diet Caffeine Free.
Previous investigations by vegan bloggers such as Fat Gay Vegan have found that a number of soft drinks and flavoured ciders contain fish gelatine, which is non-vegetarian; beef gelatine, which is non-vegetarian and prohibited by Hindus; and pork gelatine, which is non-vegetarian and forbidden for Muslims and Jewish people.
This includes some drinks made by Coca Cola (not including Coke or Diet Coke, phew), which are therefore not even vegetarian.
According to the Coca Cola site: ‘If you’re a vegan or vegetarian, you should know that a few of our drinks do contain small traces of fish gelatine (which is used as a stabiliser for the beta-carotene colour).
‘These drinks are Lilt, Lilt Zero, Kia-Ora Orange Squash No Added Sugar, and Schweppes Orange Squash.’
And some fruit juices, including those served at Wagamama, are classified as non-vegan because the fruit used is waxed with shellac – a resin gathered from the ‘lac’ beetle.
So if you’d rather unspecified animal parts were left out of your fizzy drinks, you should probably avoid Diet Pepsi. And 7Up Free. And Lilt…