The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

WaWa Convenience Stores

Posted on October 29, 2014 by The VRG Blog Editor

Please note that WaWa carries hummus and many fruit and vegetable snacks, so it’s easy to find alternatives to cheese if you are stopping there for gas while traveling. However, a reader of The Vegetarian Resource Group’s website asked WaWa questions about the cheese they carry and we thought we’d share his letter and WaWa’s response.

Good Morning VRG!

I frequent very often for news and insight into updates on the vegetarian world. I have learned so much from your website, and have been able to make much better decisions about what I eat and where because of your site. I would like to submit my own contribution in the form of information.

Wawa is a popular quick stop gas station and convenience store in the northeast as well as down the east coast. I get lunch there every so often. Since I have not seen anything on about Wawa, I decided to do a little digging of my own. It went something along the lines of animal-derived rennet and animal-derived enzymes, and how many cheeses they use have it.

I’m forwarding the email I received as a response from them. Most of their other “allergens” can be found on:, as well as an ingredients list for many of their food items.

I did note in my original question to them that their response will be shared with online vegetarian communities unless they ask me otherwise, which they have not.

Thank you for the wonderful job you do on is my go-to guide when I have a question about anything related to ingredients or restaurants.

Satisfied “Groupie”
-Navin Muneshar

Wawa Quality Assurance
260 W. Baltimore Pike
Wawa, PA 19063
October, 21st 2014

Dear Navin,

Regarding animal enzymes in cheese processing, enzymes are used as a clotting agent in the cheese vat to facilitate the separation of curd and whey. While most barrel and block cheeses utilize vegetable or microbial based enzymes; calf rennet, the traditional source, can be used in some specialty products.

Hydrolyzed protein can also be an ingredient in some cheeses and is protein that has been hydrolyzed or broken down into its component amino acids. While there are many means of achieving this, two of the most common are prolonged boiling in a strong acid (acid-HVP), strong base, or by using an enzyme such as the pancreatic protease enzyme to simulate the naturally occurring hydrolytic process. Enzymes used could be derived from animal, vegetable, or microbial.

Over our many different products, Wawa uses a variety of cheese that come from multiple different suppliers. Each vendor uses different processes and has different declarations regarding what kind of enzyme was employed in the production of their cheeses. In an effort to aid our vegetarian customers we have broken each of our used cheese products into four categories based on how each supplier declares their cheese enzymes:

“Animal Enzymes Used”

· Sliced Fontina Cheese

“Enzymes are of non-animal origin”

· All cubed cheeses in pre-packaged salads.

· All cubed cheeses in pre-packaged “Snacks”: Protein Pack, Pepperoni Pack, Fruit and Cheese Tray etc.

· Shredded Colby & Monterey Jack Natural Blend.

· Sliced Swiss Cheese- “Microbial Rennet- Vegetable base.”

· Sliced Pepper Jack Cheese.

· Sliced Provolone Cheese

To our current knowledge (in this next category only) – animal based enzymes have not been used for these products, to date, due to the inherent cost to the producers (Vegetable and Microbial are much cheaper and easier to use.) Our suppliers in this listing, however, leave the option open to use them if, and when, needed:

“Supplier does not specify a requirement with their suppliers and it is possible that either type could be present in trace amounts in the products we package or process.”

· Shredded Sharp Cheddar.

· Shredded Mozzarella.

· Sliced Sizzli Cheese’s

· Sliced Sharp Cheddar.

· Soft Cream Cheese (separate from cream cheese in pretzels.)

No comment or declaration in product specification:

· Pre-made Wraps and Sandwiches – These are made by one of our vendors who receives their cheese from their own suppliers, we unfortunately do not have access to this information.

· Sliced American- No official statement regarding the cheese enzymes. However:

· Hydrolyzed Protein (Animal/Vegetable)- Listed as ‘No’

· Beef and beef derivatives- Listed as ‘No’

· Pork and pork derivatives- Listed as ‘No’

· Macaroni and Cheese- No official statement regarding the cheese enzymes. The supplier does, however, declare Hydrolyzed Wheat Gluten which is a vegetable based enzyme.

Again, based on price and ease of use; Vegetable and Microbial based enzymes are the primary enzymes used in common cheese productions. Generally speaking, only very expensive artisanal and specialty cheese’s use animal rennet’s in their production.

I hope this extra information was helpful to you and that you are still able to enjoy our product offerings! If we can be of any further assistance please do not hesitate to contact us via our website:

With Regards,

Wawa Quality Assurance Team

The contents of this website and our other publications, including Vegetarian Journal, are not intended to provide personal medical advice. Medical advice should be obtained from a qualified health professional. We often depend on product and ingredient information from company statements. It is impossible to be 100% sure about a statement, info can change, people have different views, and mistakes can be made. Please use your best judgment about whether a product is suitable for you. To be sure, do further research or confirmation on your own.

For information on restaurant chains, visit

For information on vegetarian restaurants, visit

For information on a few vegan cheeses, visit

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