Why Avoid Potato Chips If You’re Vegan

Potato chips may be a better choice than cookies or pastries from a nutritional standpoint, but they are not necessarily vegan. To start, manufacturers often add milk, sour cream, and other animal ingredients to enhance their flavor. Lay’s Flamin’ Hot, for example, contains potatoes, vegetable oil, salt, yeast extract and all kinds of flavorings based on butter, whey, blue cheese, lactose, etc. Whey, a by-product of the cheese-making process, comes from milk and therefore is not suitable for vegans. The same goes for casein, lactose and other ingredients.

Some brands also contain honey, which is not a vegan ingredient, notes the United States National Library of Medicine. Barbecue flavored chips, such as those of Lays, do not contain meat but may contain whey, skimmed milk and cheese milk in their composition. Your best bet is to check the label for animal-derived ingredients such as albumin, caseinate, collagen, egg protein, gelatin, stearic acid and hydrolyzed milk protein.

As a general rule, plain potato chips are the least likely to contain animal-derived ingredients. For instance, Pringles Original Potato Chips are made with wheat, corn and rice flour, potatoes, salt and additives. Lay’s Classic contains only three ingredients: potatoes, salt and vegetable oil. Other vegan options are Lay’s Dill Pickle Potato Chips, Lay’s Original Baked Potato Chips, Original Ruffles, PopChips Sea Salt Potato Chips, and Lay’s Potato Chips Kettle brand sea salt.

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