Tesco ‘seeking alternatives’ after complaints oranges and lemons aren’t vegan

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Tesco has announced it is ‘seeking alternatives’ to oranges, after plant-based customers pointed out that they weren’t vegan.

After complaints from vegan customers, the supermarket confirmed at the weekend that its oranges were labelled ‘non vegan’, because post-harvest beeswax was used in the peels.

Fruit peels also contain shellac, which is a resin released by the female lac bug, found on trees in India and Thailand.


Oranges are often coated in beeswax and shellac (Credit: Alamy)

And it’s not just oranges affected, lemons and limes are the same. Sorry plant based pals, that means more zesting those bad boys over your salad…

Reacting to the news, many shoppers were a tad confused, and had never heard that some fruits aren’t vegan before.

“How?! What can be not vegan about an orange?!”, wrote one.

As another penned: “When an orange isn’t suitable for vegans anymore, you know something weird is going on.”

“Tesco confirms that its oranges aren’t suitable for vegans. I’ve heard it all now,” wrote a third. 

The fruit is covered in the wax and shellac to increase shelf life and reduce food waste. Plus, it improves their appearance.

However, the supermarket confirmed it was working with growers to find alternative treatments to wax which avoid these ingredients.

Though many people aren’t aware, such fruits are also labelled non vegan in other stores, like Morrisons and M&S.

tesco supermarket

Tesco is the first supermarket to look into alternatives (Credit: Alamy)

Of course, some vegans might decide that eating such ingredients isn’t an issue for them. These decisions depend on an individual’s reason for living a plant-based and their ethical stance on the matter. 

Shoppers who don’t want shellac or beeswax can still opt for organic fruit, which often isn’t treated in the same way (just be sure to check the label on a case by case basis).

Retail Gazette reports such non-vegan fruit products may soon not be an issue at Tesco, which is the UK’s biggest supermarket chain. With the retailer leading the way in finding an alternative, many are hopeful that others will follow suit, too.