What most Vegans don’t know about Pringles

Pringles are an internationally successful snack with a notoriously moreish taste. Standing as the fourth most popular snack product in the world, there’s no doubt they’re beloved, but are they suitable for a vegan diet?

The good news for snack lovers in the USA is that some flavors available for Pringles are vegan-friendly.

Read on to understand which ones: there are some unexpected flavors made with animal products. If you are following a vegan diet, it is wise to understand where the grey areas lie to make the best decision.

We examine each flavor currently available in the United States to see which ones are vegan-friendly, why, and which ones look plant-based but should stay on the shelf. If you’re a vegan for health reasons, it is worth understanding the health profile of Pringles as well, since they’re not the healthiest snack.

If you’re a vegan with a hopeful spot for this snack, read on.

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What are Pringles?

Pringles are a popular brand of potato and wheat-based stackable chips. They’ve been around since 1967, first marketed by Proctor & Gamble as “Pringle’s Newfangled Potato Chips”.

The saddle-like shape and distinctive tubes were developed by Frederic Baur, a food storage technician and organic chemist. He was so fond of the Pringles he engineered that he requested a part of his ashes be buried in a Pringles tube, a request followed by his family after his death. 

The brand was sold to Kellogg’s in 2012, and they are available in more than 140 countries. The engineering of Baur’s work is still visible today: the shape of the chip is designed to stack within the tube, both saving space and reducing risk of breakage during transit.

To facilitate their unusual shape, they are “potato-based”, as opposed to being formed from cut slices of potato.

What are Pringles made of?

Though classified as a potato-based snack, the key phrase is “potato-based”. Because Pringles are reconstituted potato, the actual potato content is only around 42%.

The full list of ingredients listed below is from Pringles Original flavor.

Original flavor Pringles contain: Dried potatoes, vegetable oil, degerminated yellow corn flour, cornstarch, rice flour, maltodextrin, mono and di-glycerides, salt, and wheat-starch.

All of these are traditionally vegan, without animal byproducts used in their production. However, production processes are often obscure and variable, with manufacturers changing their suppliers frequently.

The vegetable oil used in Pringles is variable, and can be cottonseed oil, corn oil, sunflower oil and/or high oleic soybean oil: these are all plant-derived and vegan-friendly.

Degerminated yellow corn flour, cornstarch, rice flour, wheat starch and maltodextrin are all derived from plants.

Mono and di-glycerides are more uncertain for vegans. These are fats that are used as emulsifiers, retaining moisture in the pringles.

Although they are often derived from soybean oil, they can also be sourced from animal fat. 

How are Pringles made?

If you’re a vegan concerned about the health impact of processed food, limiting your intake of Pringles may be wise.

This is because the snack is highly processed, using dried potato flakes, water and cornstarch blended together. They are then molded into the shape of the saddle-shaped chip, and fried in a variety of vegetable oil, which may be cottonseed, soybean, corn, or sunflower oil.

Pringles are a highly processed snack, more so than other varieties of chip, so be careful how much you consume if you’re concerned about these health implications.

Do Pringles contain palm oil?

Pringles do not contain palm oil, which is good news for many vegans. Palm oil, although a strictly vegan ingredient, has devastating effects on the environment due to deforestation and plantations destroying natural habitats.

Are mono- and di-glycerides vegan?

Mono- and diglycerides are fatty acids found naturally in plants and animal sources. They are used in Pringles to emulsify ingredients, helping them retain moisture and allowing the ingredients to stay mixed.

They’re used as emulsifiers to help ingredients stay mixed. Industrially, they are produced by mixing triglycerides with glycerol.

When they are animal-derived, this is because the triglycerides used in the production process are sourced from animal tissues. However, many plants contain triglycerides such as soybeans, so many mono- and di-glycerides are perfectly vegan friendly.

Not all vegans avoid these ingredients. Many vegan associations generally assume them as vegans in these situations, but for this reason they are often a grey area unless clarified by the manufacturer.

Their origin in Pringles is uncertain. If you are following a vegan diet, it is best to make your own decision.

In this article, we will assume this ingredient is vegan.

If you are following a vegan diet and find the idea of consuming animal byproducts at all intolerable, it is best to avoid all Pringles products.

Are Original Pringles vegan?

Vegans will be grateful to hear that the Original Pringles flavor is free of animal products and is vegan-friendly. Many flavors of Pringles contain dairy or dairy-derivative ingredients, which are unsuitable for those following a vegan diet.

This ranges from cheese, to dried milk and whey protein. Though the Original Pringles flavor is suitable for vegan, many of the other flavors contain additives which are not.

Are BBQ Pringles vegan?

No. To the surprise of many vegan fans of Pringles, it has been noted that the barbecue Pringles flavor contains whey protein.

Whey protein is derived from milk, meaning BBQ Pringles are not vegan. Vegans avoid dairy and dairy-derived products because of the harm and suffering caused to animals in the dairy industry

Whey is used here to improve nutrition and the texture of the food, creating a creamy mouthfeel. 

Are Buffalo Ranch Pringles vegan?

No. Buffalo Ranch Pringles contain lactose, a protein derived from milk, as well as whey protein. This means they’re totally unsuitable for those follow a vegan diet, and they are also not lactose-free.

Are Cheddar & Sour Cream Pringles vegan?

No, because they contain dairy in the form of whey, cheese, and milk. They’re safe for vegetarians however, because they do not have any meat directly in them. But for vegans, dairy makes these a no-go.

Are Cheddar Cheese Pringles vegan?

Unfortunately not, as they contain whey, cheese and butter. Butter contains lactose, so they are also not lactose-free.

Are Honey Mustard Pringles vegan?

Although Honey Mustard Pringles are dairy-free and contain no milk, they are not vegan. This is because they contain honey, which vegans generally avoid.

Some vegans consume honey however, so if you are uncertain, research for yourself to see how you feel about the honey production process.

Are Jalapeno Pringles vegan?

No. Jalapeno Pringles contain a source of dairy, unacceptable to vegans, in the form of whey protein.

Are Memphis BBQ Pringles vegan?

Surprisingly, Memphis BBQ Pringles also contain milk. The ingredients list it underneath “Artificial and Natural Flavors (contains milk)”, meaning this is also sadly off-limits for those following a vegan diet.

Are Parmesan & Roasted Garlic Pringles vegan?

No. Parmesan & Roasted Garlic Pringles contain cheese and whey, both of which are derived from dairy products and are strictly not vegan.

Are Pizza Pringles vegan?

As Pizza Pringles contain whey, cheese, and milk, they contain many different sources of dairy and are not vegan. 

Are Ranch Pringles vegan?

No. Ranch Pringles contain whey, sour cream, and milk. All of these are derived from dairy, meaning these are not vegan friendly. 

Are Reduced Fat Pringles vegan?

Yes. Reduced Fat Pringles are vegan-friendly and plant-based, similar to Original Pringles.

They do contain monoglycerides, but these are likely plant-based in origin.

Are Lightly Salted Pringles vegan?

These are also vegan. The ingredient list is very similar to Original Pringles.

Are Rotisserie Chicken Pringles vegan?

Unsurprisingly, Rotisserie Chicken Pringles are not vegan. They contain buttermilk.

This is not because they contain animal products like poultry or meat, so they are still technically vegetarian friendly.

Are Salt & Vinegar Pringles vegan?

In disappointing news for vegans, the Salt & Vinegar Pringles are not vegan. This is because they contain lactose.

Although this may be easily confused with lactic acid, lactic acid is a fruit-derived acidic preservative that is entirely vegan-friendly. Lactose is a sugar derived from cow’s milk, so this is unsuitable for vegans.

Are Scorchin’ BBQ Pringles vegan?

Scorchin’ BBQ Pringles contain cheese, milk and whey protein. All of these are dairy derivatives, making these Pringles non-vegan-friendly.

Are Scorchin’ Cheddar Pringles vegan?

The Scorchin’ Cheddar Pringles are unsurprisingly non-vegan. They contain cheese, buttermilk, butter, blue cheese and whey protein.

Blue cheese can disturb some people with allergen sensitivities, so be sure to read the label.

Are Scorchin’ Chili & Lime Pringles vegan?

The Scorchin’ Chili & Lime Pringles are not vegan, as they contain whey protein.

Are Screamin’ Dill Pickle Pringles vegan?

Sadly, Screamin’ Dill Pickle does contain whey protein, meaning these are not vegan-friendly or lactose-free.

Are Sour Cream & Onion Pringles vegan?

These contain sour cream, milk and whey, all derived from dairy. These are not vegan-friendly or lactose-free, but they are still vegetarian-friendly.

Are Wavy Applewood Smoked Cheddar Pringles vegan?

No. These contain whey, reduced lactose whey, and cheese.

Are Wavy Classic Salted Pringles vegan?

Yes, these are vegan. They contain similar ingredients to Original Pringles, so the only questionable ingredients are the mono and di-glycerides. Likewise, if you are unsure about the ingredients, make sure to research for yourself.

Are Wavy Fire Roasted Jalapeno Pringles vegan?

No. Wavy Fire Roasted Jalapeno Pringles contain whey, buttermilk, whey protein concentrate, cream cheese, whole milk, non-fat milk and cultured buttermilk.

They also contain sodium caseinate, which is derived from casein, found in cow’s milk and making these even less suitable for vegans.

Are Wavy Sweet & Spicy BBQ Pringles vegan?

No. The Wavy Sweet & Spicy BBQ Pringles are not vegan, as they contain whey. They also contain liquid smoke and caramel color, which are often believed to be non-vegan as well.

However, liquid smoke is actually made from smoke, so it’s 100% vegan-friendly.

Wood chips and sawdust are burned at high temperatures, and the particles of the smoke are pulled into condensers. The process results in a concentrated liquid with a strong smoky taste, often used to imbue a smoky barbecue flavor into food.

As caramel is a non-vegan candy, caramel color is often assumed to be derived from caramel and therefore be non-vegan.

While it is created in a similar process of browning sugars at a particular temperature to avoid crystallization, caramel color is generally not done with sugars like lactose. As a consequence, caramel color tends to be entirely vegan-friendly.

Are Pringles vegetarian?

Because all of the ingredients featured in Pringles have been based in dairy or honey, all of these flavors are suitable for vegetarians.

Why aren’t Pringles vegan?

Given that the Original flavor of Pringles is totally vegan, it seems surprising that so few other flavors are vegan.

This appears to be because of filler ingredients and price. Many flavors were vegan in the United Kingdom, but were later rolled back to non-vegan recipes by Pringles who stated reasons such as food waste created by non-vegan production processes.

Part of this is also mouthfeel and pricing. Non-vegan ingredients like whey, cheese and milk help to bulk up the product, increase emulsification, and improve taste and texture.

They are also common ingredients and byproducts of the dairy industry, meaning they are generally lower in price.

Even Pringles flavors like Salt & Vinegar contain lactose most likely to improve in-mouth feel.

Other than the Pringles Original flavors and variations such as the Lightly Salted and Wavy Salted flavors, there appear to be no core Pringles flavors that are vegan. 

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