Are uncrustables vegan?

It’s not uncommon for people to have the so-called fast foods for breakfast instead of a well-balanced meal. Many are used to having eggs, bacon, and my personal favourite, sandwiches.

Sandwich is a very popular food item and millions of people enjoy it at any time of the day. Most people relish the crust from sandwich but some, especially kids, don’t and actually end up cutting them off.

One company came out to make a sandwich that not only has a delicious filling inside but also has no crust, calling it uncrustables. This sandwich is quite popular and chances are you’ve had it before.

Are uncrustables vegan? A simple answer is yes and no. There are several different types of uncrustables and some contain animal-derived ingredients while others are fully plant-based. For this reason, it’s very important to read the ingredient list before purchasing to ensure everything in your sandwich of choice is vegan.

Being vegan means re-evaluating your past food choices and investing those that you don’t know to ensure they don’t contain any animal products. This can be quite tedious, which is why I’ve set out to make things easier for you by doing the investigation on your behalf.

While you can make your own sandwich version at home, the Smacker Company offers a more convenient solution with their crustless sandwich. In this article, I cover everything you need to know about this snack concerning its vegan status. Be sure to go through the entire text so you can make a well-informed decision about uncrustables.

Are Uncrustables Vegan?

Today’s market is filled with different kinds of uncrustables, some of which are vegan and others that contain animal products. Here’s a look at some of the common uncrustables together with their vegan status:

Peanut Butter and Grape Jelly

This is probably what comes to mind when people think of Smackers uncrustables. The Peanut Butter and Grape Jelly uncrustables are quite popular and customers’ favourite. After all, who doesn’t love the PB & J combination for their sandwich?

This sandwich is made using peanut butter, grape jelly, enriched unbleached flour, unbleached whole wheat flour, sugar, yeast, water, soybean oil, salt, and dough conditioners. Looking at the ingredient list, nothing is an animal product or by-product, meaning this Smackers uncrustables is completely suitable for a vegan.

Peanut Butter and Strawberry Jam

This uncrustables contains the same ingredients as the one above except it uses strawberry jam instead of grape jelly. Needless to say, it is also vegan-friendly.

Reduced Sugar Peanut Butter and Strawberry Jelly on Whole Wheat

This uncrustables is not only vegan-friendly but also contains 25% less total sugar than the regular Peanut Butter and Strawberry Jam Sandwich.

Reduced Sugar Peanut Butter and Grape Jelly on Whole Wheat

This is another healthier uncrustables with 25% less total sugar than the regular Peanut Butter and Grape Jelly Sandwich.

When it comes to the non-vegan uncrustables, the list is quite long. These sandwiches contain animal products, including skim milk, whey, honey, and different kinds of meats. Here are some of the uncrustables you should keep off as a vegan:

  • Uncrustables BBQ Chicken Bites
  • Uncrustables Chocolate Flavoured Hazelnut Spread
  • Uncrustables Peanut Butter and Honey on Whole Wheat
  • Uncrustables Taco Bites
  • Uncrustables Turkey and Colby Jack Roll-Ups
  • Uncrustables Uncured Ham and Cheddar Roll-Ups

My main concern with uncrustables is that they are made with peanut butter. Peanut allergy is one of the most common food allergies, especially in children, and it’s on the rise. Exposure to peanuts can occur in three ways:

  • Direct contact: An allergic reaction can occur when one eats peanuts or foods containing peanut or even direct skin contact with peanuts. There are a number of uncrustables containing peanut butter, starting with the Peanut Butter and Grape Jelly. So, keep off them if you have a peanut allergy.
  • Inhalation: Here, an allergic reaction occurs when one inhales dust or aerosols containing peanuts from peanut flour or other peanut sources.
  • Cross-contact: This occurs when peanuts are unintentionally introduced into other food products during processing and handling. In the case of uncrustables, all of the flavours are processed in the same factory, using the same equipment, meaning there’s the possibility of cross-contact and cross-contamination. For some people with peanut allergy, even tiny amounts of peanuts can cause a serious reaction that can even be life-threatening (anaphylaxis). Therefore, those with serious peanut allergies should probably avoid uncrustables altogether due to the possibility of cross-contact.

Other Things to Note When Buying Uncrustables

Although the Uncrustables Chocolate Flavoured Hazelnut Spread is classified as non-vegan, it’s not impossible to find actual chocolate that’s vegan-friendly. Research has shown that some varieties of plants can produce quality healthy milk and some companies now use soy and coconut milk instead of skim milk, making their chocolate flavours vegan-friendly.

Sugar is a common ingredient in vegan uncrustables. While it’s vegan in itself, the way it’s produced is a bit controversial in the vegan world. Bone char, which is produced by charring animal bones, is often used to filter and bleach sugar to give it a pure white colour. And, although there are vegan-friendly filtering agents that can be used to process sugar, the Smacker Company likely sources its sugar from different places, making it impossible to trace what kind of sugar was used to make the sandwich you eat.

I should also note that both vegan and non-vegan uncrustables are produced on shared equipment, thus risking cross-contamination and cross-contact. While most vegans don’t scrutinize such products others will want to steer clear of them for the possibility that there could be traces of animal products in their food items. This all depends on how strict you are with your vegan diet.

Is Uncrustables Healthy?

A majority of the people who go the vegan route do it for ethical and environmental reasons. But others are drawn to it for its health benefits. That’s because being a vegan is often associated with eating plant-based foods, which are generally healthier than meat and dairy products. But given the fact that not all vegan products are healthy, let’s dive into the health status of uncrustables.

Uncrustables contain high-fructose corn syrup, which has been shown to drive inflammation and linked to diabetes. It also increases the risk of other serious diseases like heart disease, obesity, cancer, etc.

Secondly, they contain Trans fat, which is considered to be the worst type of fat you can eat. That’s because it raises your LDL (bad) cholesterol while lowering the HDL (good) cholesterol, thus increasing your risk for heart disease and stroke.

Uncrustables also contain many additives and conditioners to help stabilize the bread dough for the long shelf life. These ingredients are chemically produced and generally not good for your body.

Most of the ingredients in this sandwich are chemically processed, stripping it of its nutrients and leaving a less nutritious product. Therefore, while it contains plenty of calories, it offers minimal to no essential nutrients.

Summary, So Should You Have Uncrustables?

It’s a common misconception that a vegan diet has to be boring, with just having salads all day long. This is evidently not the case as consumers’ favourite PB & J sandwich is without any vegan guilt. Of course, vegan or not, you should not consume too much-processed foods.

While it’s great news that vegans out there can eat uncrustables, there’s no denying that they are not the healthiest or most nutritious choice of food. But despite being junk food, it’s not the worst kind. You can make up for the lack of nutrients with other meals during the day. For instance, add some soy products that have proteins and some salad on the side and you’ll be good to go.

We all have times we want to indulge in store-bought treats and not cook at home, which is fine as long as the major part of your meals is on the healthier side. Just make sure you have uncrustables in moderation and watch out for wheat and peanut allergy!

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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