You have probably grown up next to the rich and buttery Ritz Crackers. Because the most supreme quality of these crackers is their buttery flavor, most people never give thought to their possible non-vegan ingredients. If you dwell upon childhood favorites, we may have good news for you.
So are Ritz Crackers vegan? You would have never imagined this, but most flavors of Ritz Crackers are vegan. There is no real butter in these flaky little delights. There are but a few non-vegan flavors of Ritz Crackers. Let’s find out.
Vegan flavors of Ritz Crackers
This successful brand of heartwarming crackers has launched numerous flavors over the years. Some of them are probably vegan:
- Ritz Original Crackers
- Ritz Roasted Vegetable Crackers
- Ritz Bacon Crackers
- Ritz Whole Wheat Crackers
- Ritz Crisps & Thins: Bacon
- Ritz Crisps & Thins: Salt & Vinegar
- Ritz Crisps & Thins: Barbecue
You must be surprised to see Ritz Bacon Crackers on the list. Unlike Bacon, the flavor in Ritz Bacon Crackers is not animal-based. These crackers contain an artificial flavor known as “ natural smoke flavor” which is produced by the controlled burning of sawdust or wood chips and then passing the burning substance through the water. In this process, water captures the smoke-flavored components and dissolves them.
All the flavors in this list are probably vegan. They only contain suspicious ingredients like processed sugar and natural flavors in addition to the environmentally and socially unethical ingredients like palm oil.
Palm oil is present in Ritz Roasted Vegetable Crackers and Ritz Whole Wheat Crackers. Processed sugar is present in all the vegan varieties of Ritz. Ritz Original Crackers, Ritz Bacon Crackers, Ritz Crisps & Thins, Bacon, and Salt & Vinegar varieties contain natural flavors.
All other ingredients in these varieties are considerably vegan. Soy lecithin may arouse your suspicion but it is a substance derived from soybeans, not from animal sources. All Ritz Crackers have essentially similar basic ingredients. The ones in the above list can be considered vegan.
There are no direct non-vegan ingredients in these flavors. These don’t have any animal-based, egg, or dairy-based constituents.
Non-vegan flavors of Ritz Crackers
Most of the original flavors of Ritz Crackers are vegan. The non-vegan flavors are usually new and self-explanatory. While Ritz Bacon Crackers are vegan, Honey Wheat Ritz is not vegan. This variety contains honey and honey is not a vegan substance.
Honey is derived from honey bees through sheer exploitation. Bees make honey to sustain their colonies and infants. Humans often destroy beehives to steal honey that the poor bees have to make again. Because bees are animals, stealing honey is as much an act of animal cruelty as stealing cow’s milk.
After studying their ingredients, we have concluded that Ritz Toasted Chips, Ritz Sandwich Crackers, and Ritz Bits are not vegan. All of these products contain milk as an ingredient. As expected, the Cheese flavored Ritz Bits contain dairy cheese, milk, and whey.
Amongst the Ritz Crisps & Thins, the Original flavor with Creamy Onion contains whey as an ingredient and isn’t vegan. Ritz Crisps & Thins Sour Cream & Onion flavor contains cheese. Whey and cheese are both dairy-based ingredients and are not permissible in vegan diets.
The Sweet Chilli & Sour Cream flavored Ritz Crisps & Thins contain both whey and milk. In addition to this, Cheddar flavored Ritz Crisps & Thins contain whey, milk, and also cheese. It is poor on the part of the manufacturers not to use vegan substitutes when they are so easily available and just as good.
It is worth noting that even the original and otherwise vegan flavors of Ritz Crackers and Crisps & Thins contain some problematic ingredients. The Ritz Original Crackers contain processed sugar and natural flavors and the Ritz Roasted Vegetable Crackers contain palm oil.
Ritz Crackers have some problematic ingredients
Not all vegans consider these ingredients problematic, but these potential non-vegan ingredients are unacceptable to quite many vegans. Be it processed sugar, natural flavors, or palm oil, strict vegans tend to avoid all food products that could be non-vegan.
The processed sugar in Ritz Crackers may be non-vegan
Most sugar factories in America utilize bone char to bleach cane sugar. Raw cane sugar is brown in coloration and it is whitened to make it more aesthetically pleasing.
The problem with the sugar industry lies in the bone char. Bone char is a product made by burning the bones of animals at high temperatures in combustion chambers. The final product is dark, highly porous, and absorptive and is used in the sugar whitening process.
Although bone char is not present as a remnant in the finally manufactured cane sugar, the presence of such a product in the production process is problematic to vegans.
Not all factories employ bone char to whiten and filter their sugar. Quite a large number of sugar mills in America use granular activated carbon to attain the desired pristine white sugar coloration. Many sugar producers also produce beet and coconut-based sugar instead of cane sugar. The sugar derived from the beet and coconut is naturally white.
Ritz Crackers contain sugar derived from either of the above processes. The manufacturers are unable to track different batches of sugar that arrive at their facility.
We would personally recommend you to not bother about the processed sugar in your food. We wish it was impactful as the depth of your intention. Avoiding meat, eggs, and dairy as a whole is an act of great effect when it comes to veganism. It has direct consequences.
The natural flavors present in Ritz Crackers may be non-vegan
The FDA has clearly stated that natural flavors may be derived from both plant and animal-based sources. This could be tricky ground for vegans who don’t want any sort of non-vegan ingredients to enter their food.
Natural flavors are present in Ritz Original Crackers and Ritz Bacon Crackers. The Salt & Vinegar and Barbecue flavors of Ritz Crisps & Thins also contain natural flavors.
The manufacturers haven’t specified where their natural flavors are obtained from. They may be derived from plant-based sources only, they may be derived from animals based sources.
It is important to mention here that you can’t track down every possible ingredient. It may not be impossible, but all the effort may not be worth it.
Ritz Crackers contain palm oil as an ingredient
Ritz Roasted Vegetable Crackers and Ritz Whole Wheat Crackers contain palm oil. Palm oil is extracted from commercial plantations that have proven to be hazardous for our environment.
Palm oil is not only non-vegan, but it is also unethical and unsustainable. The capitalist plantations that produce palm oil have been built after the uprooting of thousands of acres of nonrenewable rainforests. A large variety of flora and fauna have dwindled since the onset of this capitalist agriculture. This includes the Orangutan, the Sumatran Rhino, and the Bornean Pygmy Elephant.
The rampant deforestation incurred by these forests has resulted in a sharp spike in global warming. Palms may be plants, but they only drain the soil and the air in which they are planted. These plants die out to release peat into their underlying soil which eventually produces harmful gases like methane.
Methane is a greenhouse gas, twenty times more responsible for global warming than carbon dioxide. The death of sprawling rainforests along with the release of toxic gases and the ever-increasing area under these plantations harbor dangerous conditions for our planet. The earth is witnessing a sharp rise in global warming because of the unperturbed rise in the release of greenhouse gases and the felling of vital trees.
This is not all harm palm plantations cause. The workers employed in these plantations are bonded by inhumane contracts that don’t grant them the basic decencies of living. Such gross exploitation of human beings should not be accepted or entertained. The families of these workers suffer equal exploitation at the hand of their masters. Even the children are not spared the exploitation.
Sustainability and deference from cruelty are the hallmarks of veganism. Palm oil is one extremely problematic product so prevalent in modern-day and age.
So are Ritz Crackers vegan?
All Ritz Crackers contain some problematic ingredients. Considering this, none of the Ritz Crackers is vegan. But a line has to be drawn between the acceptable and the unacceptable. It isn’t advisable to completely restrict all the potential non-vegan ingredients in your food.
Processed sugar may be obtained from factories that use bone char in their processes. It is also possible that it is obtained from factories that do not utilize bone char. Your complete eradication of sugar from the diet will also be unfair to producers who do not employ any product with a history of cruelty.
Likewise, natural flavors may or may not be obtained from animal-based sources. There shouldn’t be a stop until you aren’t sure about their source.
Palm oil is a gravely unethical and unsustainable product. Your decision to limit palm oil is appreciable. Only two flavors of Ritz Crackers contain palm oil, so the rest of them can be considered vegan.