Have you just started following a vegan diet and want to check if you can eat crisps before you grab a packet of ready salted?
Or maybe you’re planning on going vegan and are wondering what the deal is with crisps, are they a no-go zone or are there some exceptions to the rule?
Are most crisps vegan? Can you eat crisps on a vegan diet? And is it ok for vegans to eat meat-flavoured crisps or not?
Come to think of it, there are a fair few questions, all circulating around out there in relation to crisps and veganism, aren’t there?
We’ve taken these questions and answered some of them for you.
Hopefully, by the time you reach the end of this article, you’ll know exactly what’s what in relation to crisps and vegan living.
So let’s get stuck straight in with the first question and start nipping those vegan-related crisps in the bud.
Are most crisps vegan?
Are most crisps vegan…..well, that’s actually not as straightforward a question to answer as it first sounds.
This is because it depends on what type of crisp you’re talking about.
You see, some crisps are vegan and some aren’t. Most crisps do tick the vegan box because they’re made from potato, dehydrated potato or corn.
This base ingredient is then typically mixed with sunflower, rapeseed or palm oil and then some flavourings are usually sprinkled on top.1
Sounds simple enough, right?
But…(yes, there’s a but) it’s the flavourings, that give crisps their unique flavour, that can sway whether crisps are vegan-friendly or are not.
This is because some meat-flavoured crisps contain artificial flavours and some contain extracts of the real thing, as well as egg, milk and derivatives of these ingredients which, of course, are all animal products.
Can you eat crisps on a vegan diet?
You can eat certain crisps on a vegan diet. These are the crisps that don’t contain any meat extracts, egg, milk or other animal-related products.
However, there are some crisps that are known for being out and out vegan-friendly.
Can vegans eat meat-flavoured crisps?
So, there are lots of crisps that are meat-flavoured, but does that mean they’re actually meat-flavoured?
Well, some of them are made with synthetic and vegan-friendly flavourings that are made to taste like bacon or chicken, and some of them actually happen to contain elements of the real thing.2
What are the ingredients in crisps that vegans should stay away from?
We know we’ve sort of covered this off above, but we thought it’d be useful to list out the ingredients so that you can see them all together at a glance.
We also wanted to talk you through a few more ingredients, that can creep onto ingredients lists, that vegans need to watch out for too.
The ingredients in crisps that aren’t vegan-friendly
- Meat extracts – used for crisp flavours, such as roast beef, smoky bacon, ham and mustard
- Whey – which is a protein that comes from milk and, as we all know, milk and dairy products aren’t vegan
- Buttermilk and milk-based natural flavourings
- E numbers – mainly 120, 441, 542, 901, 904, 913, 966 and 1105; they come from animals3
Non-vegan crisp flavours to watch out for…
It’s not just meat-flavoured crisps that vegans have to be mindful of, cheese-based varieties can be just as much a no-go zone due to their dairy content.
But the flavour that surprises a lot of people is Walkers Worcester Sauce – which is neither vegan nor vegetarian-friendly.
Why? Because this particular range is made from anchovies (who would have thought it, hey?...)
What are the best vegan alternative crisps?
They may be a mega-popular snack - £957.7million was spent on crisps in the UK alone in 2018, but the thing about crisps is that they aren’t the healthiest thing to be munching away on.4
Yes, they provide us with energy, but they’re also packed full of fat, saturated fat, sugar and salt, which means they don’t contribute towards having a healthy and balanced diet.5
Fortunately, the crisp market has diversified over the years, and different, healthier variations are now available for people to buy too.
Choosing wholegrain varieties, smaller packets, light/reduced-fat and baked options means people can still enjoy crisps with more plus sides and fewer downsides.
Alternatively, you could just make your own!
How to make your own vegan-friendly crisps
Homemade vegetable crisps recipe6
- 500g parsnips
- 330g carrots
- 400g beetroot
- 1tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp fennel seeds
- 2 dried red chillies
Preheat the oven to 150ºC/Gas Mark 2 to 3.
Scrub the parsnip, carrots and beets.
Using a mandolin or the thick slicer on a grater, slice each of the vegetables at an angle into long pieces. (Note: they really shrink in the oven).
Place the vegetable slices in a single layer on baking trays – lay them out separately.
Place the carrots and beetroots in the oven for about 2 hours; after 30 minutes add the parsnips.
Remove when dry, crisp and cooked.
Crush the salt, fennel seeds and chilli in a mortar (or a coffee grinder) and sprinkle over your crisps. Serve hot or cold.
So there you have it, the lowdown on vegan crisps.
You can either buy ‘every day’ crisps, making sure to check the ingredients list; buy crisps that have been specifically designed to be vegan-friendly, or have a go at making your own!
Whichever route you choose, we hope we’ve answered all of your vegan crisp queries and that you’re feeling much clearer about the topic.
Fancy making your own vegan desserts as well as your own vegan crisps? Check out the recipes in this article, ‘Delicious vegan dessert recipes.’
The advice in this article is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP or healthcare professional before trying any supplements, treatments or remedies. Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.
Last updated: 6 December 2021