Last updated on February 3, 2021
Finding out which popular snack items are vegan and which aren’t can be daunting at first. You may find yourself spending more time in the snack aisle, ravaging the labels of your favorite snacks, only to find out that they contain modified milk ingredients. It seems like milk ingredients find their way into so many processed food products for no explicable reason. Whose idea was it to modify these milk ingredients anyways?
The real struggle lies in the inconsistency of ingredient labels throughout the World. Not only does each country have different nutrition label requirements, but the ingredients themselves can also vary between countries. If you’re hunting down the ingredients of a food product online, always refer to the manufacturer’s website in your country for the most accurate information.
Despite the disappointing realisation that many of our childhood favorite snacks are not vegan, there are still a few binge-worthy snack items that are either intentionally vegan or accidentally vegan. Not to mention, the mass of Certified Vegan products popping up on Canadian grocery store shelves.
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How to know if a food item is vegan in Canada?
If you want to be absolutely sure that a food product is vegan, look for a vegan certification label on the packaging. In Canada, there are a few different organizations that certify vegan products. Here are the two most popular vegan certification labels to look out for in Canada:
Non-certified vegan products can still be vegan. Since not all brands will go through the process of vegan certification, referring to a food item’s nutrition label can be adequate if a bit of uncertainty is suitable for you.
Is a food item vegan if its label says "may contain milk"?
Generally speaking, yes. The “may contain milk” label simply means that the item was manufactured in a facility that also manufactures foods containing dairy. In the worst case scenario, that food item could contain traces of dairy as a result of cross-contamination.
What common food ingredients are not vegan?
- Gelatin – found in candies, marshmallows, puddings, Jell-O and other desserts
- Castoreum – found in alcoholic beverages, baked goods, candies, ice cream. Often a hidden ingredient that is labelled as “natural flavor”
- Honey – found in desserts, snack bars, crackers, chips
- Casein – found in cookies, crackers, margarine, chocolate chips, the glazes of baked goods
- Whey – found in bread, baked goods, products labelled high protein, salad dressings
- Confectioner’s Glaze/resinous glaze – found in candy corn, jelly beans, easter egg candies
- Cochineal/carmine – a red food dye found in soft drinks, energy drinks, powdered drink mixes, candy, syrups, popsicles
- L. cysteine – found mostly in bread products
- Lard – found in refried beans, pies, pre-made pie crusts and more
- Isinglass – found in some beers and wines
Are your favorite snacks vegan?
Are Sour Patch Kids vegan?
Ingredients: sugar, glucose syrup, modified corn starch, tartaric acid, citric acid, natural and artificial flavour, colour (with tartrazine).
Sour Patch Kids sold in Canada and the USA are plant-based but not completely vegan. If you’re in the UK or Europe, there is a chance that your Sour Patch Kids contain gelatin.
The main reason why Sour Patch Kids in Canada are not completely vegan is that they contain Tartrazine. Tartrazine, also known as Yellow 5, is an additive used in many processed food items to turn them yellow. Unfortunately, many synthetic food color additives are tested on animals before being permitted on the market. Since it’s unclear whether or not the tartrazine found in Sour Patch Kids has been tested on animals, we cannot claim that Sour Patch Kids are vegan.
Verdict: Sour Patch Kids are plant-based but possibly not completely vegan.
Are Doritos vegan?
The most common Dorito flavors are not vegan since they tend to contain multiple sources of milk ingredients, including Lactose, Whey Protein Concentrate, Skim Cow’s Milk, Buttermilk, Cheddar Cheese and more.
According to the ingredients lists available on Doritos Canadian website, there is one Doritos Flavor that is vegan:
Verdict: Most Doritos flavors available in Canada are not vegan exept for one flavor.
Are Pop Tarts Vegan?
We were disappointed to discover that Pop Tarts sold in Canada are not vegan. All Frosted Pop Tarts flavors sold in Canada contain gelatin. Their Chocolate, Cookies & Cream and S’mores flavors also contain modified milk ingredients and dried egg whites.
If you happen to be in the United States, you may be able to find a few Unfrosted Pop Tarts flavors that are vegan, such as Unfrosted Strawberry, Unfrosted Blueberry and Unfrosted Brown Sugar Cinnamon. We are crossing our fingers that these vegan Pop Tarts Flavors will be available in Canada soon!
Verdict: Pop Tarts in Canada are not vegan since they contain gelatin, milk ingredients and egg whites.
Are Clif Bars Vegan?
Due to their fun variety of flavors, accessibility and convenience, Clif bars are an increasingly popular snack in Canada. It didn’t take much digging to determine that the most popular Clif Bars on the market are plant-based but not vegan. That’s because their nutrition labels indicate that they are produced in a facility that contains milk. By scouring their website, we were able to determine that a few of their products contain dairy or honey. These products include: CLIF Whey Protein, LUNA Protein, Zbar Protein and CLIF Bar Peanut Butter & Honey. The CLIF Recovery Protein Drink Mix is also not plant-based as it contains whey protein.
Verdict: Most popular Clif Bars are plant-based but not vegan. A select few Clif Bar products contain dairy or honey.
Are Graham Crackers Vegan?
Graham crackers are widely known for their use in campfire s’mores and easy pie crust recipes. After analyzing the ingredients of the most common graham cracker brands available in Canada, we found that the two most widely available options were not vegan or even plant-based since they contained honey. The two brands that contained honey were Honey Made and Kinnikinnick Foods. Let us know in the comments below if we missed out on a vegan graham cracker brand available in Canada.
Verdict: The graham crackers made by Honey Made or Kinnikinnick Foods are not vegan since they contain honey.