Are Pillsbury biscuits vegan?

Many people consider veganism to be very difficult and inconveniencing but I can assure you that it’s not (from first-hand experience). I’m sure you have experienced those late-night cravings or the desire to have some sweet snacks when chilling.

Did you know that vegan foods can quench all that? I’m talking of biscuits, cookies, sweets, cakes, and all sorts of fast and pre-cooked foods. Some years back, I could only see a few products being promoted as vegan but nowadays they are in plenty. Today I’ll be talking about Pillsbury biscuits. Keep reading if you want to know everything about them, including their vegan status.

Are Pillsbury biscuits vegan? Generally, they are not. Most of Pillsbury’s biscuits contain milk and/or dairy derivatives. They do, however, produce accidentally vegan biscuits that may be suitable for vegans. This means that they are not promoted as vegan products but they are since they don’t contain any animal-based ingredients.

Pillsbury biscuits come in three sizes; the standard Grands, Grands Jr, and the Value pack. They come in different flavours as well, some of which are not vegan. Others only contain traces of animal products while others don’t. This is as a result of producing the non-animal based products in the same environment as the animal-based ones.

Creating different production points can be quite expensive; besides, the company is not specialized in vegan products and Pillsbury biscuits accidentally come out vegan. There are different levels of veganism, so stay with me as I take you through everything you need to know about this product so you can decide whether or not it’s suitable for you.

Are Pillsbury Biscuits Vegan?

Pillsbury produces ‘accidentally vegan’ biscuits, some of which include Southern Homestyle Original, Southern Homestyle Buttermilk, and Flaky Layers Sweet Hawaiian. You will find the cans of these biscuits labelled ‘may contain milk ingredients’. This statement should not scare you away though. It doesn’t mean they are made with milk, but in an environment that supports milk-based products.

Pillsbury Biscuits Ingredients

For a product to be considered vegan, it shouldn’t contain any animal-based ingredients. Here’s what’s contained in accidentally vegan Pillsbury biscuits:

  • Soybean oil- This is sourced from cracking and heating soybeans oil, so it’s definitely vegan.
  • Not more than 2% of Hydrogenated Soybean oil, salt, Dextrose, Potassium Chloride, and Xanthan gum. All these ingredients are vegan-friendly. I’ve already mentioned soybean oil and as for Dextrose, it’s a sweetener extracted from corn. Sometimes, the bacteria used in culturing this sugar can be dairy-based, but that is not the case here.
  • Water: This is obviously vegan
  • Sugar: Natural sugar is also vegan: however, the use of bone char to purify sugar and give it the pure white colour might not sit well with some vegans. The good news is there are vegan-friendly filtering agents and more and more manufacturers are using them to make their sugar suitable for vegans.
  • Enriched bleached flour: Enriched flour means that its nutritional value has been boosted with vitamins and minerals. In that case, they include folic acid, riboflavin, ferrous sulphate, niacin, and thiamine mono Nitrate. It is also bleached with chemicals to make it whiter. None of these additives is from animal products, so enriched bleached flour passes as vegan-friendly.
  • Baking powder: Pillsbury mixes sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium aluminium phosphate, and baking soda to form baking powder. And yes, they are all vegan-friendly. Baking powder is very important in baking vegan foods since bringing out the fluffiness using eggs is not an option.

‘May contain Milk Ingredients’ Meaning

While some Pillsbury biscuits are considered vegan in the basic sense that they are not made using any animal-derived ingredients, they are still made in the same facilities that make non-vegan products. This means that there’s the possibility of cross-contact or cross-contamination and your otherwise vegan-friendly Pillsbury biscuits may contain trace amounts of animal-based ingredients. Most vegans choose not to judge such ingredients harshly since it’s difficult to find 100% vegan foods unless you’re making your food at home. Besides, as I had mentioned earlier, this company did not set out to make vegan products but rather it happened accidentally.

For stricter vegans, even the slightest chance of animal-based ingredients is enough to disqualify a product as being vegan. The ‘may contain milk ingredients’ statement is also put there to alert those with very serious dairy allergies. If that is you, I would recommend staying away from Pillsbury biscuits altogether.

What Does Accidentally Vegan Food Mean?

I said before that Pillsbury biscuits are accidentally vegan but what does that mean? And how are these accidentally vegan products in line with your vegan beliefs?

Well, accidentally vegan products are produced without any animal-based ingredients –whether milk, honey, dairy, or eggs. However, they are not marketed or even labelled as vegan. Most products you see at the grocery are accidentally vegan, be it bread, cereals, crisps, pasta, or some candies.

Pillsbury biscuits are not intentionally produced as vegan but luckily, they are. No animals are killed or abused in the making of these biscuits and, unlike other types of biscuits, consuming them does not increase the demand for dairy products. The cross-contamination is due to the production of animal-based products in the same facility, which you are not purchasing, of course.

Something important to note with accidentally vegan foods is that their ingredients can change anytime. Pillsbury does not operate with the needs of vegans at heart as it’s not a vegan company. For this reason, it’s important to always read the ingredients list on these biscuits before purchase to ensure it’s is still vegan-friendly.

Which Pillsbury Biscuits Are Non-Vegan?

Not all flavours of Pillsbury biscuits are vegan. The outright non-vegan ones that you should avoid include:

  • Pillsbury biscuits with icing: These biscuits are topped with chocolate chips and icing. The semi-sweet chocolate chips are made with cocoa butter, unsweetened chocolate, and sugar. The ingredient list also includes whey, which is not vegan-friendly as it’s a by-product of cheese industries. It’s the residue liquid that remains after straining curdled milk. The product is also clearly labelled ‘contains milk’ so definitely not vegan.
  • Flaky Layers Honey Butter: Despite the name, honey is not in the ingredients list, but butter is. Any vegan should avoid butter as it’s obtained from the creamy part of milk, milk that comes from cows. It also contains Yellow 5, which is artificially made from petroleum products but often tested on mice and rats. Such testing often results in animals getting hurt, developing serious illnesses, and even dying.
  • Southern Homestyle Butter Tastin: This flavour also contains butter. In the ingredient list, it also says natural and artificial flavour. These are umbrella terms used to describe so many ingredients including those derived from animals and plants.
  • Buttermilk frozen biscuits: Note that this is not the Southern Home-style buttermilk flavour, which I indicated is accidentally vegan. This one contains milk product in the form of whey while the Southern home-style buttermilk only reads ‘may contain milk ingredients’.

Is Pillsbury Biscuit Healthy?

A vegan diet is generally considered healthy as it consists mainly of plant-based foods, but that’s not always the case. Many vegan junk foods contain vast amounts of sodium and sugar, are highly processed, and calorie-laden. If you are vegan for its health benefits, you may be wondering whether Pillsbury biscuits should be part of your diet.

Well, they are generally not the healthiest food choice. They have a nutritional value of C+, which is bad even for school grades. In fact, one Grands Flaky Pillsbury biscuit has 180 calories, 450 mg of Sodium, 2.5g sat fat, and 5g sugars! Considering most people won’t stop with just one biscuit, you’ll likely consume a lot of sugar and salt, which is not good for the body. High sugar and salt content in the body has been linked to several serious illnesses, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, etc.

There are barely any fibre or whole grains in these biscuits. The only good thing is that they don’t have trans-fat but there are still hydrogenated oils, which consist of more saturated fats than the original oils.

If you are wondering whether they’re highly-processed, yes they are. Just visit the long ingredients list where I’m sure you will learn so many vocabularies.

While it’s true that Pillsbury biscuits are not very healthy, you can still enjoy them from time to time. Just ensure you do so in moderation for health purposes.

Robert Van De Ville

Robert Van De Ville is a registered nutritionist, he earned his degree in nutrition from California State University. Now based in London UK. An author of the upcoming book, researcher and dedicated vegan activist.

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