Packaged snacks are very much convenient in our busy lives. They save us both time and energy when running late for an urgent meeting and could not have a proper breakfast.
Besides the convenience they offer us, they also bring some controversies for vegan people. In most cases, the ingredient-list is very unclear to provide us specific details about every ingredient.
Sometimes, various brands hide some of the non-vegan ingredients in an umbrella term like ‘natural flavors’ to get vegan customers. That’s why we try to find details and ingredient sources of some of the most popular packaged healthy vegan snacks on our website.
Today we will discover if Pop-Tarts are vegan or not and how many vegan flavors (if any) they offer. We have also reviewed some of the candy brands like Skittles, Dum Dums, Lifesavers, Airheads, Starburst and many more for their vegan status. We will also give our readers particular answers about why many of the commonly used ingredients are not considered vegan by many vegans, even if they are plant-based. Let’s begin.
What Are Pop-Tarts?
Pop-Tarts are a brand of toaster pastries that are eaten as a snack or breakfast. They are rectangular-shaped thick toaster pastries with a delicious filling inside. Many of the variants of Pop-Tarts contain a hard frost coating.
Pop-Tarts was first introduced in 1964. And the most popular variant with the frost coating came around 1967. They need to be heated up in a toaster, preferably so that the filing can melt slightly.
You can even warm them up in a microwave oven. Or else, you can have it right from the package as they are precooked before the packaging.
The Kellogg Company introduced Pop-Tarts in 1964. They are usually sold inside mylar packages in pairs that do not need to be refrigerated.
Are Pop-Tarts Vegan?
Some of the variants of Pop-Tarts are vegan. Three flavors are considered to be vegan Pop-Tarts. Other flavors of Pop-Tarts are non-vegan. However, the presence of some of the questionable ingredients make Pop-Tarts not suitable for many vegans. So, if you are a strict vegan, you need to pass on this food item.
Non-Vegan Pop-Tart Ingredients and Flavours
Non-vegan ingredients –
Pop-Tarts, like other packaged snacks, include many non-vegan items. Especially, all of the variants except only three contain milk and Gelatin, which are both animal-derived. Gelatin is made from an animal product – animal collagen mainly, although collagen can be procured in a completely vegan friendly manner.
This animal collagen is one type of animal protein. So, the Pop-Tarts include both of the animal ingredients.
Additionally, some of the varieties of Pop-Tarts contain egg whites, which is also a non-vegan ingredient.
Here’s a list of all the non-vegan Pop-Tarts which include animal-derived ingredients.
- Gone Nutty Peanut Butter
- Cinnamon Roll
- Chocolate Chip
- Chocolate Fudge
- Brown Sugar Cinnamon
- Hot Fudge Sundae
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
- Vanilla Milkshake
Among various flavors of Pop-Tarts, there are only three of them which are considered vegan-friendly. They are –
- Unfrosted Blueberry
- Unfrosted Strawberry
- Unfrosted Brown Sugar Cinnamon
Concerns Over Certain Ingredients
All of the vegan people do not have the same perception or the same considerations regarding veganism. So, many ingredients arise a debate amongst vegans. Some of the confusing and questionable ingredients included in Pop-Tarts, even the vegan variants, are discussed below.
1. Palm Oil
Palm oil is vegan in the raw form. It is collected from palm fruit, which usually grows in Africa. Though it has a complete plant source, many vegans do not consider palm oil to be a vegan product.
There is a massive amount of exploitation connected to the extraction of palm oil. It causes pain and suffering to many animals. That’s why vegans do not consider palm oil as a vegan.
Palm oil is very difficult for sustainable production. It causes deforestation in Africa, America, Malaysia, and Indonesia. To produce palm oil, a large area of land needs to be cleaned out. This leads to the destruction of the rainforest. Also, many animals become homeless because of palm oil production.
The areas suitable for palm oil production are homes to animals like tigers, bears, orangutans, leopards, monkeys, elephants, and rhinoceros. Various species of animals are now facing or are close to extinction because of the excessive production of palm oil.
Apes have become very few. Many experts agree that the overproduction of palm oil plays a major role in all of these.
As we all know, vegans oppose the consumption of items that are linked with harming other lives. That’s why, although palm oil is a plant product, vegans don’t consider it as a vegan oil. If you are vegan you consider Olive Oil or Canola Oil.
2. Added Colors
There are only a few of the packaged snacks which are free from any added colors. Unfortunately, vegan Pop-Tarts also contain added colorings.
Unlike the natural colors from organic plant sources, most of these coloring additives are derived from insects or animals. For example, Carmine, one of the most popular red color additives, is derived from a particular bug species. To get this color, people unethically kill those insects.
Artificial colors, like red 40 (check vegan status), yellow 5, and yellow 6, are not produced from animals. But they are tested on animals. This raises the most significant ethical controversy amongst vegans as these artificial coloring additives are routinely tested on animals.
Recommended: Is E631 Flavor-Enhancer Vegan Food Additive?
3. Natural Flavors
Natural flavor is a complete umbrella term including various animal and plant flavor sources. Many of the brands use this whole term of ‘natural flavor’ to mask non-vegan sources. Two of the most common animal sources of flavors are beaver and anal glands and beetles.
When we read the term ‘natural,’ a feeling of goodness crosses our minds. We think that it is derived naturally and does not contain harmful chemicals. But natural does not mean vegan always. Natural Flavors are extracted from several animal products, such as meat, eggs, dairy items, seafood, and much more.
All of the animal products used in the making of natural flavors are natural. But of course, they are not vegan. And Pop-Tarts contain these natural flavors which are not being specified in their sources.
As even vegan variants of Pop-Tarts include controversial ingredients like palm oil, natural flavors, and added colors, we present you a vegan alternative to Pop-Tarts.
Vegan flavors of Bobo’s Toast’R Pastry are –
Chocolate Peanut Butter, Blueberry Lemon Poppyseed, Chocolate Almond Butter, and Strawberry Jam.
Frequently Asked Questions
When we have transitioned into a different life path after our soul awakening, it is hard and essential to know which foods you could have previously should not be eaten now. For vegans, food choices have always created a big question in their lives.
Most of the packaged snacks, including Pop-Tarts, are not vegan; even when Pop-Tarts have three flavors free from milk, egg whites, and gelatin, they contain confusing ingredients like palm oil and added colors.
So, it is up to you and your perception in deciding the ingredients that are good or should be eliminated.