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Are Fritos Vegan?
Reviewing All the Flavors You Can Have

Rafid Nassir
Published by Rafid Nassir
Fact checked by Markus Oliver, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: March 9, 2021

Vegan chips land more on the delicious than the nutritious side of things, which means you still need to pay close attention to the ingredients label recipes.

Some chips may be vegan, plant-based, or vegetarian at first glance, but there are a few animal-derived products they may contain that might still mean they aren’t really.

So if you’re looking for something dairy-free but crispy for your snack, you might be asking, “are Fritos vegan?” Let’s take a closer look and find out.

Are Fritos Vegan?

Fritos with papaya

Yes, Fritos are vegan. The original, BBQ, and scoops varieties are at least.

As with all chips, there are far too many flavors and different variations to list them all definitely, and we’d recommend always checking the label yourself.

Notable Fritos flavors that are not vegan include the flaming hot Fritos, the flavor twists, and unsurprisingly the chili cheese flavored Fritos.

Some of the flavors are vegan, and some of them are a little more blurry. Let’s take a closer look at what to look out for.

2 Vegan Fritos Flavors

Ingredients on spoon

Fritos Original & Fritos Scoops

The nutrition label for the classic original flavor Fritos is super simple; just whole corn, corn oil, and salt.

That makes Fritos a lot less processed and more fundamentally plant-based and healthy than most other chips.

Vegan chips recommendations:

3 Problematic Flavors That are Non-Vegan

1. Fritos Bar-B-Q

Corn Chips inside the bag

The Bar-B-Q flavor was discontinued and then apparently un-discontinued but is still notoriously difficult to find.

If you can get your hands on a bag, the nutritional label is a lot longer, with more to look out for.

1. Sugar

Sugar is made from sugar cane, and so by all rights is entirely plant-based.

Unfortunately, a lot of white sugar is processed using bone char in the refining process, which would make the ingredient decidedly less plant-based [1].

2. Artificial Colors

The Bar-B-Q Fritos also use artificial colors, which, while synthetic and made in a lab that should be vegan, are much less vegan if you look into it further.

Artificial colors are routinely tested on animals to be declared fit for human consumption.

This means animals-from mice to dogs-are tortured and will continue to be tortured if this ingredient is continued to be used.

What makes it worse is that science is starting to point out that this research isn’t relevant or useful [2].

2. Fritos Flamin Hot & Fritos Chili Cheese

Variety of Cheese

Arguably two of Fritos best and most popular flavors, and not only are they not vegan. I don’t think they’re even vegetarian.

The whole corn, corn oil, and salt at their core also contain two different types of cheese.

1. Romano Cheese (Rennet)

To make hard cheeses like parmesan or romano cheese, you have to use rennet extracted from goats or sheep's stomach lining.

Extraction makes it sound invasive but non-lethal, which isn’t true. Rennet doesn’t involve a still-living animal.

2. Cheddar Cheese

Unsurprisingly cheese, which is made from milk, isn’t vegan. While it is commendable that Fritos are still using authentic flavors from whole food sources, it, unfortunately, isn’t plant-based. Its inclusion in their famous spicy flavoring makes it more of a spicy cheese variety than just a spicy boy.

3. Whey

Whey is another milk-based product which is usually included in food to add portion or improve the texture. We can only assume it’s added to the chips as some glue or emulsifier to keep the coating in place. Because surely it has nothing to do with taste.

3. Fritos Honey Bar-B-Q Twists

pouring honey on glass

Fritos set the Honey BBQ twist to replace the original Fritos BBQ until many uproars from Bar-B-Q fans around the country caused them to backpedal.

The nutritional information for this chip is by far the most processed.

Honey

If cheese is one fairly obviously not vegan ingredient, honey and eggs are the others.

The honey on the BBQ twist makes this chip not vegan. Aside from this, they also use artificial colors that aren’t vegan as we mentioned above. They might taste great but they aren’t on the menu.

Also Read:

Are Tootsie Products Vegan?

Are Graham Crackers Vegan?

The Company isn't Vegan

Yes, there are a few Fritos flavors that we like to call “accidentally vegan.” They, at first glance, appear to be vegan.

But if you are asking, “are Fritos vegan?” the answer is the ultimate no.

The company doesn’t value or even recognize ethics and doesn’t consciously choose to avoid animal products and suffering.

This is obvious in two of their flavors, not even being vegetarian.

By giving them money by buying the “vegan” flavors, they won’t notice why those flavors might perform better due to the increasing vegan population.

They will put the profit back into using rennet in a new chip flavoring—sad truth.

So, Are Fritos Vegan?

Yes and no. The Original and Fritos Scoops varieties contain less processed food compared to other savory snacks and so are vegan and a little more healthy.

The company as a whole, however, is decidedly not vegan and their chips regularly contain non-vegan foods in their recipes.

You won’t save any pig’s bacon by only buying the vegan one.

If the Original Fritos or the Scoops are a personal favorite food, then treat yourself. I would suggest finding a better vegan corn chip brand going forward though.


References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6213724/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4594046/

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