No – overall, ritz crackers are not exactly vegan.
If you’re new to a plant-based lifestyle, you may have been wondering if ritz crackers fit into your vegan diet.
What are Ritz Crackers?
On the market since 1934 and almost a century, Ritz crackers have been a well-liked American classic snack cracker for some time now. They have a rich, buttery taste and flaky texture, and are a tasty, filling snack for anytime of the day. Ritz sandwich crackers might even bring you back to nostalgic childhood memories of munching on them in between catching roly-poly bugs.
The recipe varies according to which Ritz flavor you examine, but the base is fairly consistent with the following ingredient elements:
-Unbleached Enriched Flour
-Partially Hydrogenated Cottonseed Oil
-High Fructose Corn Syrup
-Malted Barley Flour
Potential Controversial Ingredients
There are some ingredients in Ritz crackers which do have the potential to be non-vegan. Without further ado, let’s get into the nitty gritty.
Since refined cane sugar is processed (via filtering and bleaching) with bone char, or ground-up animal bones, and has therefore been in cross-contact with the sugar, this ingredient isn’t vegan-friendly.
Nabisco company is unable to directly track whether their food products have sugar that has been processed in this way in their crackers, as they source this ingredient from various suppliers.
Due to the fact that bleach cane sugar is found in all flavors of Ritz crackers, we cannot categorize these snacks as vegan.
This additive ingredient can either be sourced from animal products or from a plant base. However, the company is unsure of where from the natural flavors in their snack product originate. If you’re a vegan that desires to steer clear of any potentially non-vegan ingredients, it’s advisable to choose a different cracker altogether. It’s also always an option to email the parent company of Ritz Crackers, Nabisco, to further inquire about the ‘natural flavor’ details.
When it comes to harvesting this particular ingredient that’s in the ritz crackers recipe – which is a vegetable oil, it’s valuable to know that entire ecosystems are destroyed as a result. When an individual purchases products that contain this ingredient, the consumer is essentially supporting this to continue.
When palm oil trees are planted, deforestation occurs as land must be cleared for the trees to have space to grow. This has a negative impact on biodiversity, the surrounding animal habitats, and also contributes to air pollution from the controlled burning of the land.
Some vegans have an issue with the ethicality of this ingredient, while others don’t. At the end of the day, what you consume is your personal choice.
Ritz Crackers Flavors
Throughout the years, Ritz has released many different flavors, some with blatantly non-vegan ingredients, and some with controversial vegan ingredients.
Ritz Original Crackers
This flavor of Ritz crackers has the controversial ingredients of both processed sugar and natural flavors.
A popular way to enjoy these is as-is, or with some hummus or peanut butter layered in-between two crackers to make a mini sandwich. You could triple stack it if you want, even.
Ritz Toasted Chips
First things first – this flavor does contain milk , so it’s not vegan-friendly.
Compared to standard fried potato chips on the market, this flavor of Ritz crackers has 55% less fat, for those of you that are working on improving your cardiovascular health. They are toasted and not fried, so are a bit healthier than the other flavors.
These come in convenient one ounce bags to take along with you if you need a snack when you’re out and about, or if you need something simple to pack in your child’s lunchbox.
Due to the dairy products in this flavor, this one’s definitely not considered vegan.
Ritz Roasted Vegetable Crackers
This healthy Ritz flavor is made with actual vegetables of which includes carrots, onion, cabbage, and red and green bell peppers.
Note palm oil is an ingredient in this flavor, for those of you that are concerned with the ethics behind this ingredient.
These are wrapped in individual packages inside of the box.
Ritz Crisps & Thins Sour Cream & Onion
This one does contain cheese in the ingredients list, so this flavor isn’t a ritz crackers vegan one.
And, these creamy onion flavored ones are toasted, too – not fried like other crackers and chips on the market.
Honey Wheat Ritz
This whole grain flavor of Ritz crackers air on the sweeter side because of the honey in the recipe.
Depending on your level of veganism (there are some vegans that are more strict with their food choices), you may or may not consider honey to be vegan.
If you are a vegan concerned with the ethic of how your food is harvested and collected, you may be curious to know that most often times, beehives are destroyed by humans in efforts to gather the honey – leaving them with the task of needing to build a brand new beehive, or die.
Bees produce honey to propagate their species – a byproduct of honeybees that’s not necessarily for human consumption.
On a lighter note, these do not have any cholesterol or trans fat, making them a heart healthy choice.
Ritz Crisps and Thins: Bacon
This variety of Ritz has a natural smoke flavor, and doesn’t actually contain any actual bacon.
Though this flavor doesn’t have any animal products, it still has the controversial sugar ingredient..
These ones are seasoned with black pepper for a little extra kick, if you’re feeling spicy.
These bite sized ritz crackers have been manufactured with cheese in between, resembling a tiny sandwich. Since these have cheese in the recipe, they certainly aren’t vegan.
Are Ritz healthy?
They aren’t the absolute best snack option as far as nutrition goes, but they’re also not the worst. It depends on whether your version of a snack is eating an entire box of them, or just a handful.
You can always make your ritz crackers healthier by adding in a bit of protein-rich peanut butter, or a slice of cucumber and tomato to make a mini sandwich.
For those you that may have an allergy to gluten or are just wanting to eliminate it in your diet, it’s important to note that none of the Ritz crackers flavors are gluten-free, as they all have enriched wheat flour in the recipes.
Ritz Crackers Vegan Alternative
If the controversial ingredients are too risky for you to consider making a part of your vegan diet, you can’t go wrong with tortilla chips that offer versatility in the many different ways you can enjoy them. Try them with homemade tomato salsa, crunched up over some vegan chili, or with melted vegan nacho cheese.
Whether you choose to snack on original Ritz crackers, some Ritz Bits crackers, or if you’ve decided you’re just better off without these non-vegan crackers in your life- it’s all good. And, if you decide you still fancy at least trying some, you can’t go wrong with any of the Ritz flavors.
The main idea to consider is the purpose behind why you’ve decided to go vegan – perhaps it’s for nutritional reasons, ethical reasons, or both.
It can be tricky to assess the origin of each and every single ingredient in your food items, but it’s also very much worth it to some. To each their own – you own your body and are the captain of whatever goes down your gullet.
And with that- we’ll leave you with a funny.
What did the cracker say when it checked into a 5-star hotel?
This is the Ritz.