Are Pringles Vegan?

Pringles is a brand of potato- and wheat-based stackable snack crisps whose popularity has grown around the world thanks to their delicious chips, an ever-growing selection of flavours, and unique tube-designed packaging. In addition to their regular flavours, the company brings seasonal Pringles flavours from time to time to cater for celebrations like Christmas, as well as sporting events.

Needless to say, Pringles are a good quick fix when you feel like snacking and can make a great addition to party food. If you love these slightly crunchy and airy crisps and are wondering whether you can include them in your vegan diet, you have come to the right place for answers.

So, are Pringles vegan? The short answer is yes and no. Pringles are available in a number of flavours with most containing animal ingredients, which makes them non-vegan. There are, however, a handful of vegan-friendly flavours. It’s very important to read the ingredient list of a particular Pringles flavour to be absolutely sure it suits your vegan lifestyle.

When we talk of a vegan diet, junk food may not be at the top of the list as many associate it with food that is derived from plants only. But thanks to the rising wave of vegan junk food, you no longer have to give up on your favourite delicious junk foods.

However, determining vegan junk food is not always an easy task as sometimes they contain additives that have the potential to not be vegan-friendly. In this article regarding Pringles, I will help you understand which flavours are or are not vegan and what to watch out for when buying this popular snack as a vegan.

Can Vegans Have Pringles?

The first step to determining whether you can include these potato-based crisps in your vegan diet is to carefully look at the ingredients used to make them. The main ones include potatoes, various flours (corn, rice, and potato), wheat starch, vegetable oils, and salt.

Then there’s emulsifier or E471, which refers to fatty acids that can be derived from plants and animals. In the case of Pringles, the emulsifier used is plant-based. Other major ingredients are Maltodextrin, yeast extract, yeast powder, and colour annatto (sourced from the seeds of the achiote tree).

As I mentioned earlier, there are multiple varieties of Pringles with each containing different ingredients. And, while all of the above ingredients are vegan-friendly, some Pringles varieties contain ingredients that vegans cannot eat. Most flavours contain animal-derived ingredients such as milk powder, cream powder, lactose, casein, whey, dairy-based flavouring and seasoning, emulsifiers made of egg yolk, Red 40 food colouring, and so on.

There are over 30 different Pringles flavours, so in the following sections of this article, I will go over certain Pringles variety and offer you a list of what you can or cannot include in your vegan diet. There is just a handful of vegan-friendly Pringles, so let me cover those first.

Vegan Pringles Flavours

Pringles Original

Despite launching an array of exciting Pringles flavours, this remains the most favourite among customers, I included. It’s also the most sold Pringles in the world and luckily 100% vegan.

Pringles Lightly Salted Original

This Pringles captures the potato flavour you love with just a hint of salt (about 50% less sodium than Pringles original). This makes it not only tasty but also a healthier version.

Pringles Reduced Fat Original

Here’s another healthy version of Pringles. It has the same craveable taste and satisfying crunch you love but with 25% less fat than that of the market-leading regular potato chips.

Pringles Smokey Bacon

Despite what the name suggests, there’s actually no animal product in this Pringles flavour. The natural flavours are also derived from plants.

Pringles Paprika

Aside from the Pringles Original, this has been one of Pringles’ most popular flavours for many years. And, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s completely free of animal-derived products.

Non-vegan Pringles

I will not go into much detail here as the list is endless. But here are some of the Pringles flavours that contain animal-derived ingredients.

  • Salt & Vinegar
  • Sour Cream & Onion
  • BBQ
  • Ranch
  • Pizza
  • Cheddar Cheese
  • Cheddar & Sour Cream
  • Extra Hot
  • Buffalo Ranch
  • Honey Mustard
  • Memphis BBQ, etc

While the above information is true at the time of writing, it’s important to note that the company changes their products from time to time and the ingredients contained in them to make them better, cost-effective, and tastier. Some Pringles that used to be vegan are now non-vegan.

One example is the Pringles classic BBQ chips that used to be vegan but have recently been reformulated to contain dairy, thus making them unsuitable for vegans. So, always read the ingredient list to make sure the Pringles flavour you’re buying is truly vegan.

Determining If Pringles Are Vegan

While it’s important to read every single ingredient in your Pringles of choice, it can be tedious. Plus, some ingredients have such difficult names that you may not be familiar with and hence, unable to tell whether they are vegan-friendly or not.

The company has made it very easy for vegans in the UK to stick to their lifestyle by marking all their vegan and vegetarian flavours as such with a clear sign on each tube. The same kind of labelling is also done by many online stores that sell Pringles like Tesco. This eliminates the risk of confusion for vegans and vegetarians alike while saving you time. For flavours that lack the vegan label, it means they are not vegan-friendly.

This alone makes Pringles one of the more socially conscious snack brands out there and a reason, in my opinion, to consume their products despite their use of animal products in other flavours.

That being said, I have to note that the labelling differs slightly in Europe and the United States. Pringles in the EU are labelled as vegan or vegetarian but not in the US. Plus, there are different tastes in different countries. The good news is they come with an allergen warning for flavours that contain milk, cheese, and eggs. This is a great first step to determining if a product is vegan-friendly. Needleless to say, check the ingredient list to ensure everything contained in your Pringles is vegan-friendly.

Other Pringles Products

In addition to the standard potato-based crisps, Pringles offers several other snack products that I thought you should know about. They often bring out various limited edition products or flavours for special events or seasons but today I’m going to cover their main offerings, which include:

Pringles Rice

This product is similar to the Pringles Originals although, as the name suggests, they include rice flour as their main ingredient. There’s still the use of dehydrated potatoes but the rice flour makes them have a slightly different consistency. The bad news is all the four Pringles rice flavours contain lactose, which makes them not suitable for vegans.

Pringles Xtra

Pringles aims to be a little more adventurous with these crisps as they pack quite a punch compared to the standard Pringles. These too cannot be consumed by vegans as they contain milk-derived ingredients.

Pringles Tortilla

Pringles is perhaps looking to outdo Doritos in the tortilla chips market with their Pringles Tortilla. And true to that, they have proved to be very popular with consumers. There are four Pringles Tortilla flavours and luckily for vegans, the Original flavour doesn’t contain any animal-derived ingredients. This slightly salted snack with a crunchy texture tastes so good that you can eat them without a dip.

Is Pringles Healthy?

Being vegan or non-vegan is not the only dietary concern you should be having when deciding whether or not to buy them. This statement is, particularly, directed to those who are drawn to the vegan diet for its health benefits.

Just because a food product is vegan doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthy, which is the case for Pringles. For starters, the heat treatment of potatoes at high temperatures results in acrylamide –an ingredient known to cause cancer with elevated doses having neurotoxic properties. Now, this harmful chemical is not solely connected to Pringles but rather a by-product of frying almost any starchy food, especially in high temperatures. So, be careful about how much Pringles and other high-heated starchy foods you eat.

Secondly, Pringles contain high levels of salt. So, when you consume them, take into account the sodium content of the rest of the foods you consume on that day to ensure you don’t exceed the recommended daily intake, which is 1500mg-2300mg. Too much sodium in the body, as we know, can lead to bloating, cardiovascular problems, kidney disease, Osteoporosis and more.

Last, but not least, Pringles also contain various additives like sweeteners and preservatives to enhance flavours and increase shelf life. Some of these additives have the potential to cause hormonal imbalances, headaches and nausea, developmental problems, heart palpitations, asthma attacks, chest pains, and more serious health issues.

Pringles are undoubtedly a delicious snack food, but they have to be consumed 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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