The amount of vegetables in Veggie Straws is almost equivalent to no vegetables in your freezer. The only role of vegetables in this apparently healthy snack is to give the straws a veggie coloration. And there are no more nutritional benefits as compared to every other pack of chips. Amongst these numerous misconceptions there also arises a question of their vegan-ness. Are Veggie Straws vegan?
Some of them definitely are while some obviously aren’t. We’ll take you through the vegan and non-vegan ingredients of all the Veggie Straws available in the US so that there are less doubts and more vegan snacks.
Flavours are always trickier than they appear
The Garden Veggie Straws made by Sensible Portions is available in five distinct flavours, all of which appear to be vegan and stuffed with as many vegetable nutrients as you can imagine. Veggie Straws come in Sea Salt, Cheddar, Sweet Potato, Zesty Ranch, Sea Salt and Sweet Potato flavours.
The fundamental ingredients in all of these flavours are similar and reliably plant based. Some of them are: potato starch, corn starch, potassium chloride, sugar, beetroot powder, and turmeric. Additional ingredients are added in each of the various flavours to make them distinct.
Sea Salt Veggie Straws
Along with the basic ingredients present in all Veggie Straws, this variety contains sea salt. It is worth noting that all the ingredients are absolutely vegan except a few controversial constituents present in all flavours that we will discuss later in this article.
Sweet Potato Veggie Straws
The normal flour constituents of Veggie Straws are potato flour and cornstarch. The Sweet Potato variety contains sweet potato flour in addition. This variety is also praised for using beta carotene coloring agents obtained from natural sources. All ingredients in this variety are vegan.
Zesty Ranch Veggie Straws
Along with the fundamental vegan ingredients of Veggie Straws, the Zesty Ranch variety also contains buttermilk, sodium caseinate, dairy milk cream, and sour cream which are all dairy based ingredients. This is one non-vegan flavour of apparently Veggie Straws.
Sea Salt and Sweet Potato Veggie Straws
This is a combination flavour of the two popular vegan Veggie Straws varieties and is also undoubtedly vegan.
Cheddar Veggie Straws
There are many non-vegan ingredients in the Cheddar flavoured Veggie Straws. This includes whey which is derived from dairy milk. This also includes cheddar cheese and sour cream. As dairy based products are unacceptable in the vegan lifestyle, Cheddar flavoured Veggie Straws are not vegan.
Sour Cream and Onion Veggie Straws
This flavour too has dairy products in its constituents and is absolutely not vegan.
Rosemary Olive Oil Veggie Straws
There is no problematic non-vegan ingredient in Rosemary Olive Oil flavour of Veggie Sticks. This flavour is vegan.
Apple Cinnamon Veggie Straws
You are lucky. Maybe this is your favourite flavour too, and it is totally vegan. There are just a few controversial ingredients that we have discussed and clarified further.
So Cheddar and Zesty Ranch are straightforward the only non-vegan flavours of Veggie Straws, but there’s a thing, some ingredients in all flavours of this apparently vegetable snack are considered doubtful and controversial.
How controversial are the controversial ingredients in Veggie Straws?
Some people are of the opinion that vegetable starch could secretly be animal based
It is okay to have such doubts. Vegans have to already deal with a lot of hidden animal ingredients so it is but natural to judge everything claimed to be vegan but in the case of vegetable starch, your usual doubts can go to relax.
Also known as amylum, the vegetable starch used in Veggie Straws is obtained from potatoes, corn, spinach, and sometimes sweet potato. Potatoes, like most other plants, store the energy within themselves in the form of starch. Starch is the product responsible for supplying all your plant based carbohydrates.
The problem is, vegans often confuse starch with glycogen. Glycogen is the form in which carbohydrates are stored in animal tissues. Glycogen is hardly ever extracted to be used as a food ingredient but the doubts are valid. Now you know, there is a difference between starch and glycogen and starch is always a vegan product obtained from plants.
Many of us have raised eyebrows at potassium chloride at some point in their lives
Unlike many popular beliefs, potassium chloride is as vegan as a substance can be. It is common to find this ingredient as a substitute for our much more common table salt. One advantage of this ingredient is the reduction in sodium levels in the overall food composition which promises no adverse effects on your blood pressure. Other than that, it tastes exactly like your common salt and is absolutely vegan.
You must be wondering about the types of colors used in Veggie Straws
Vegans all around the world have been busy escaping artificial colors used in almost all foods. Artificial colors are notorious for being tested on lab animals for guaranteeing their safety and optimum use in food for humans. Many animals are left deprived and diseased after they suffer the harmful consequences of these dangerous colors. All such animals are killed, that is, if they don’t die directly because of the testing.
Such unethical products are a common ingredient in many popular food items. Thankfully, the colors used in Veggie Straws are vegan and natural. The yellow is derived from turmeric which is a much admired spice from the lush lands of India. Other colors are obtained from beetroot powder and tomato paste.
It is almost glorious that Veggie Straws chose to make their product cruelty free amidst carnivorous capitalism that only relies on the cheapest ingredients without caring about the ethics and environmental consequences.
A question arises about the type of oil used in Veggie Straws
Don’t worry. Palm oil is not an ingredient in Veggie Straws. Canola oil, safflower oil, and sunflower oil are utilized in preparing these snacks but never palm oil.
It is understood that you maintain caution when it comes to this apparently plant based oily ingredient. Palm oil cultivation has devastated thousands of acres of tropical rainforests which has in turn endangered numerous wildlife species who are left hunting for shelter in places where they aren’t welcome and are often harmed. The lack of food and natural resources is driving these animals fast towards extinction and palm oil plantations are only spreading wider and larger due to our unhalted consumption. It is important to take responsibility and arrest the use of palm oil wherever and whenever possible.
Does the use of processed sugar in Veggie Straws concern you?
It is true that all Veggie Straws contain processed sugar as a part of their ingredients. Many vegans consider this ingredient problematic since cane sugar is often filtered through bone char in factories in order to whiten its appearance. Bone char is a product created after burning animal bones at a very high temperature. The final product is highly absorptive and this is why it is utilized in bleaching sugar.
Although it is known that bone char is not passed into the final refined sugar, the use of unethical means in the production of sugar is disturbing for many people at large. Since recently, many factories have now replaced bone char with granular activated carbon which has equal or better absorptive qualities and is free from any sort of animal cruelty.
A few types of organic sugar are also available in the market, some of which is brown unfiltered cane sugar and some is instead obtained from beetroot or coconut. The problem is, we don’t know what type of sugar goes into factory made products.
Whichever sugar is added to our processed foods, we must remember that avoiding sugar as a vegan will not be as impactful as actually avoiding meat, eggs, and dairy which will affect such industries clearly and directly.
Should you be eating Veggie Straws anyway?
Well, they are not healthier than literally any other packet of chips you’ll find in the aisle. Veggie Straws have just as many empty calories and just as much lack of nutrition as any other fluffed up potato chips you may have labelled ‘not good’.
The fact that they are called Veggie Straws makes you assume they are a healthier option and you end up consuming more of them than you would in case of any other snack. Beware, there are hardly any vegetables in there. The only part vegetables play in Veggies Straws is to provide their color, that’s it.
Are Veggie Straws vegan afterall?
If you are comfortable with the consumption of processed sugar, most flavours of Veggie Straws are vegan. A few of them contain dairy products which classifies them in the non-vegan category.
To clearly summarize: Sea Salt, Rosemary Olive Oil, Sweet Potato, Sea Salt and Sweet Potato mix, and Apple Cinnamon flavours are completely vegan.
The non-vegan flavours of Veggie Sticks are Zesty Ranch, Cheddar, and Sour Cream and Onion.
Although this ain’t a much recommended snack if you consume it after assuming it to be healthier. But if you love Veggie Sticks, we hope you have your good news.