Vimto row: Vegans hit out as vitamin D from animal products is added

Vegans hit out at Vimto as drink makers alter recipe to include vitamin D from animal products

  • Vimto will be adding Vitamin D3 to their popular squash drinks from this month 
  • Angry vegans say vitamin is from animal products and is not vegan friendly
  • Drinkmaker has come under fire, with petition urging Vimto revert to old recipe 

Hundreds of angry vegans have accused Vimto of ‘taking a step backwards’ after it announced it was altering the recipe of its iconic squash drinks to include Vitamin D from ‘animal products’.

The British-based drinkmaker announced that they would be adding Vitamin D to their popular fruit juice from this month after Public Health England endorsed a daily supplement of the vitamin.

However, the move left hundreds of fans of the brand in uproar as their website stated the D3 fortification, which tends to come from sheep’s wool, would make the drink no longer suitable for vegans.

One vegan went as far as to start a petition demanding that Nichols PLC, the company that produces Vimto, to revert back to their vegan-friendly recipe.

Mental health nurse Ian Anderson, 30, has so far gained more than 400 signatures with his petition’s bid to save the ‘delicious fruit’ drink.

Many vegans voiced their frustration at the brand for the change, including some who said it ‘made no sense at all’ or was ‘lunacy’ as they claimed there are vegan-friendly versions of the vitamin.

Popular channel Vegan Food UK slammed the brand, stating: ‘Always disappointing to see a large and popular brand make their products go from Vegan to non-vegan.’ 


Hundreds of angry vegans have accused Vimto (right) of ‘taking a step backwards’ after it announced it was altering the recipe of its iconic squash drinks to include Vitamin D from ‘animal products’. Mental health nurse Ian Anderson (left), 30, has so far gained more than 400 signatures with his petition’s bid to save the ‘delicious fruit’ drink

Mr Anderson’s petition thundered: ‘We the undersigned feel that this is a regressive and unnecessary decision when an increasing amount of people are becoming vegan and eating plant-based diets to oppose the abuse, exploitation, and killing of animals’

Mr Anderson’s petition thundered: ‘We the undersigned feel that this is a regressive and unnecessary decision when an increasing amount of people are becoming vegan and eating plant-based diets to oppose the abuse, exploitation, and killing of animals.

‘There is no reason why Vimto needs to contain animal products. We call on Nichols plc to either reverse this decision or to use a plant-based Vitamin D such as Vitamin D2. #MakeVimtoVeganAgain.’

Mr Anderson, from Lochgilphead, Argyll, Scotland, said: ‘I think it’s a good thing that Vimto has Vitamin D in it – it’s something that we need, especially in Northern Europe.

‘But Vimto are using Vitamin D3, the majority of which comes from animal products, and it tends to be sheep wool.

‘I’m not against Vimto, but why exclude some of your customers? You could make it more inclusive and more ethical by using a plant-based Vitamin D substitute.

Many vegans voiced their frustration at the brand for the change, including some who said it ‘made no sense at all’ or was ‘lunacy’ as they claimed there are vegan-friendly versions of the vitamin

Vitamin D: How just 10 micrograms a day keeps bones and muscles healthy in the winter – and can even help against Covid 

The NHS recommends taking 10 micrograms of vitamin D — the equivalent of one salmon fillet — a day to keep bones and muscles healthy in the winter. But health chiefs have since advised Britons take the supplement all year because lockdowns are driving people indoors. 

Several studies have shown people with a vitamin D deficiency, which is common in Britain, are more likely to catch the coronavirus, get seriously ill or die.

Officials estimate one in five Britons are deficient in vitamin D — the equivalent of 13million Britons.

Deficiency is more common in older people, in people who are overweight, and in black and Asian people — all of the groups who are at increased risk of becoming very ill with Covid.

Health chiefs have long advised that vitamin D supplements should be taken by adults in the UK over the winter, when there is less sunshine.

The body creates vitamin D from direct sunlight on the skin when outdoors. It can also be obtained by dietary sources such as oily fish, eggs, and some breakfast cereals.

‘I find it a bit annoying how they’ve gone from being a vegan-friendly product to not being one. Particularly in a time when more and more people are trying out a vegan diet.’

Mr Anderson has so far shared the petition online in vegan groups, but hopes it will gain more traction to get a response from Nichols.

‘It was these sorts of groups that I first found out Vimto had made this change,’ he said.

‘These groups usually give out advice about what food products are vegan friendly and just try to make things easier for everybody in the community.’

Vimto stated on their website said: ‘All of our Vimto squash drinks are suitable for Vegetarians, due to the recent addition of Vitamin D they are not suitable for Vegans.

‘However, all of our other Vimto drinks variants, including fizzy and still ready to drink ranges, do not contain any animal products and as such, are suitable for vegetarians and Vegans.’

Vimto specifies that some of their other products are unsuitable for vegan and vegetarian customers, including Vimto jelly babies, Vimto fizzy pencils and Vimto flying saucers.

However, some of their other products remain suitable for those looking to avoid food with animal products, including Vimto jellybeans, Vimto bon bons and Vimto ice lollies.

Other vegans were quick to share their dismay online. Tara Rees tweeted: ‘This is so disappointing and a step backwards.’

Twitter user @6milesup tweeted: ‘Why have you added Vitamin D to make it unsuitable for vegans? #MakeVimtoVeganAgain’

Another user @wendytamm tweeted: ‘I love Vimto; I was brought up on it. But now I can no longer buy it because of the Vitamin D thing.

‘There are a lot of vegan Vit D sources; so I am sure there’s an alternative you could use. Please do; it’s summer.’

Jennifer Borrett tweeted to Vimto: ‘As a vegan, can I congratulate you on adding vit D. So important for public health, just wish it was D2 so more people can enjoy the benefits.’

Twitter user @VeganGuys wrote: ‘Hey @vimto, why on earth would you add vitamin d from sheep’s wool to your cordial?

‘You’ve literally just lost thousands of vegan customers. Why not a vegan vitamin source? Why change it at all? Why involve animals? £vegan £vegans’

Another user Anna Cook tweeted: ‘Why is Vimto no longer vegan? Could you not have used vegan friendly D3?

‘My daughter is very upset that her favourite drink is no longer vegan. Please reconsider.’

Twitter user @Retr0Squid tweeted: ‘One of the many many companies that seem to be just doing it wrong just now.

‘And it makes no sense at all, considering D2 can come from non-animal sources and is cheaper to manufacture. Them not being vegan anymore means they’re using the more expensive D3. F**king lunancy.’

MailOnline has contacted Vimto for comment.

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