Oh… the daily struggle of figuring out exactly which foods are vegan-friendly and which are not… It can get a whole lot harder than most people would imagine. There is a multitude of products out there that would seem to fit the bill, but which are disqualified by one or two additives that go into their processing or manufacture. Tostitos seem to fall into this somewhat troublesome group, and that’s why we’ve decided to dive into the world of Tostitos chips.
Is Tostitos vegan? The simple answer is YES….and NO. See, Tostitos come in a large variety of flavours spread out among the different chip designs in their range.
Is Tostitos Vegan?
While most of the Tostitos variants out there are definitely vegan-friendly, some are rather questionable due to the addition of sugar (possibly bone-char processed), and these are the Black Bean & Garlic Triangles and the Multigrain Scoops. Others are disqualified outright due to the inclusion of dairy or dairy derivatives in their manufacture. The flavours that are definitely excluded from a vegan diet are the following:
- Salsa Ranchera Triangles
- Hint of Jalapeno Triangles
- Hint of Lime Triangles
- Sabritas Salsa Verde Rounds
- Roasted Red Pepper Rounds
Note that the ingredients of these products might be subject to change at any time, so it’s always a good idea to double-check the ingredient labelling before making your purchase.
Right. So today we will delve into the various categories and flavours under the Tostitos brand sold in the United States. A breakdown of all the possible non-vegan ingredients they may have, if any, will also be stated. With that established, we will re-examine at short length some of the more compelling health and environmental arguments in favour of a vegan lifestyle, just in case you needed some reminding.
Frito-Lay is the parent company that produces the tortilla chips we’ve come to love known as Tostitos. They are the guys that gave us Doritos as well. Tostitos have carved out a large presence in the American markets since the launch in 1979, with 16 flavours of tortilla chips as well as 13 flavours of dips forming their range of products. The spread of their product comprises triangles, scoops, and rounds, but this distinction isn’t of much value to us here, so that’s enough said about that.
Now, figuring out which ones among these are suitable to a vegan dietary regime will have to involve a close inspection of the ingredients that go into the chips themselves, and in some instances the very processes that these ingredients go through before being incorporated into the finished product.
As you might have guessed, there isn’t a whole lot that goes into the making of your average tortilla chip. Tostitos are no exception. Their foundation ingredients are corn, salt, and vegetable oil (Canola, Corn, or Sunflower oil). Anything else comes as extra and is usually where the vegan-unfriendly culprit is to be discovered.
To clarify as we go along, let’s first take a look at some of the additives that would disqualify a product from the list of vegan-friendly options. These include pork enzymes, whey, buttermilk, sour cream, lactose, milk protein concentrate, and sugar. Sugar might seem like an odd addition here, but this is explained by the fact that in some instances, the sugar will have been treated using bone char, even though the bone char will not be present in the final product. It’s better to be on the safe side and avoid the sugary options out there entirely. We’ll indicate the chips disqualified due specifically to their sugar components in our final list.
Vegan Tostitos Options
These are the Tostitos chips you can confidently include as part of your vegan diet:
- Original Scoops
- Baked Scoops
- Original Restaurant Style Triangles
- Lightly Salted Triangles
- Simply Organic Blue Corn Triangles
- Cantina Thin & Crispy Triangles
- Cantina Traditional Triangles
- Bite Size Rounds
- Crispy Rounds
Non-Vegan Tostitos Chips
Here, we will start with the chips that are clearly disqualified from any vegan diet, with the offending additives or ingredients stated right beside them.
- Hint of Lime Triangles – Whey, Sour Cream
- Hint of Jalapeno Triangles – Whey, Sour Cream
- Roasted Red Pepper Triangles – Whey, Sour Cream, Lactose, Buttermilk, Milk Protein Concentrate
- Sabritas Salsa Verde Rounds – Whey
- Salsa Ranchera Rounds – Natural Flavors with milk content
Continuing below are those in the (maybe) list, which comprise the products with sugar as part of their makeup. Bone char is made from the bones of pigs and cattle and has the widespread use of a decolorizing and de-ashing agent in the sugar refinery process. Although there are more vegan-friendly options to bone ash out there for this purpose such as ion-exchange resins and activated carbon, quite a few companies still source their sugar from bone char utilizing sugar mills. These are our suspects (Tostitos, not sugar millers).
- Multigrain Scoops – Sugar
- Black Bean & Garlic Triangles – Sugar
For those looking to partner their chips with something else, it might be nice for you to learn that all their salsa options are vegan-friendly, but their dips seemingly all contain dairy products. Here’s a handy list of the salsa options to complete your vegan-approved pairings:
- Mild Chunky Salsa
- Mild Splash of Lime Flavored Chunky Salsa
- Medium Roasted Garlic Chunky Salsa
- Medium Chunky Salsa
- Medium Restaurant Style Salsa
- Medium Organic Chunky Salsa
- Hot Chunky Habanero Salsa
What’s so Great about Being Vegan, anyway?
Veganism refers to the practice of avoiding the usage of animal-derived products, especially for our nutritional needs, as well as a complete rejection of the treatment of animals as commodities. This might seem like a lopsided proposition, in that animals come out the only clear winners, but a closer look at the scene reveals a more balanced picture.
Now, there are plenty of benefits to choosing a vegan lifestyle for yourself and loved ones, let alone what you do for the environment and those creatures that share it with us. It isn’t a lifestyle choice one should undertake lightly, as it comes with its share of sacrifice, self-denial, and inconvenience. It’s about looking at the bigger picture and doing our part to make the view better for everyone and everything in it. Let’s refresh our memories a bit, reminding ourselves why we choose the vegan lifestyle every day, warts and all.
Environmental Benefits of Veganism
Greenhouse emissions are greatly reduced as a direct result of a vegan lifestyle. The agricultural raising of animals represents one of the planet’s leading causes of climate change. To produce half a pound of beef would require greenhouse emissions roughly equal to driving a vehicle for 9.8 miles. Yep. Half a pound. A study conducted back in 2016 estimated that should the world decide to go vegan, food-related greenhouse gas emissions would drop by 70% by the year 2050.
In 2018, the journal of Current Biology published a report that said that 87 % of the world’s oceans are currently dying. Even though many people out there are trying to go plastic-free in order to reduce their role in this sad situation, it turns out that the trouble comes from an unexpected area. The fishing nets used to catch our seafood and fish are actually the source of over half the plastic matter choking our oceans. Let’s not even get into the effects of overfishing, factory farm runoff disposal, livestock overgrazing, and other threats to our oceans, seas, and inland freshwater resources.
With the effects of climate change becoming harder and harder to ignore as time goes, it’s about time the world thought seriously about how to take better care of our natural environment. Raising animals to satisfy our nutritional requirements takes up incredible amounts of land. This inevitably leads to deforestation of existing forests, with a good example being the decimation of the Amazon forest by beef farmers in Brazil.
The leather industry has a long history of being one of the environment’s heavy polluters, leave alone the ethical considerations involved here. The leather treatment process involves the use of over 250 chemical elements that include such deadly substances as cyanide, formaldehyde, arsenic, and chromium, among others.
Health Benefits of Being Vegan
Nearly everyone out there passed a certain age has either felt the dread touch of cancer or has witnessed its destructive capabilities up close. Back in 2015, the World Health Organization labelled red meat a Group 2 carcinogen (cancer-causing agent). Asbestos and tobacco smoking were placed in group 1, along with pepperoni, bacon, and other processed meats. Need more be said?
A vegan diet has been shown to significantly improve a person’s overall mood and emotional stability. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) undertook a study detailing the eating habits of 3,486 people for a duration of five years. Their results solidly showed that participants on a plant-based diet reported fewer symptoms of depression.
Diabetes is another one of the rampant lifestyle diseases plaguing our society today. There is plenty of research out there indicating that a plant-based diet significantly reduces the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes.