Ritz Crackers have been around since 1934 and were introduced as a touch of luxury for ordinary people during the hard years of the Great Depression.
Today they are enjoyed as a tasty snack by millions of people. But are Ritz Crackers vegan?
Ritz Crackers have come a long way since their inception in the early 1930s and today there are numerous varieties available. The Original line alone has 8 different flavors and variations.
The Crisp & Thins line are an oven baked variety with another 8 flavors.
Then there are the Fresh Stacked which stick to the original and whole wheat varieties and Ritz Bits which are bite sized pieces of cracker filled with peanut butter and cheese flavors.
Their Toasted Chips are available in 5 flavors, and they also have Toasted Pita as an option.
Cracker Sandwiches are two Ritz Crackers with a filling of either peanut butter or cheese and Seasonals feature a fudge covered cracker and snowflake shaped Ritz Crackers.
Cheese Crispers are oven baked thin and crispy versions of Ritz Crackers and come in 2 flavors.
Most of their varieties are available in Go-Packs and Multipacks for convenience.
Why Ritz Crackers Are Both Vegan And Non-Vegan
With this many versions of Ritz Crackers available to buy it can be hard to discover which are vegan and which are not.
The fact that most of them are advertised as being cheese flavored can be confusing as some cheese flavors involve no real cheese.
So let’s take a look at which ingredients are vegan and which are non-vegan.
Vegan Ritz Cracker Ingredients
In original Ritz Crackers the listed ingredients are:
- Unbleached and enriched flour
- Canola oil
- Palm oil
- High fructose corn syrup
- Soy lecithin
- Natural flavor
All of these ingredients are vegan. Some people will avoid any kind of sugar in their food as most cane sugar is filtered and whitened using bone char.
However, other people accept sugar as a plant based food.
Surprisingly some flavors of Ritz Crackers which at first glance may seem to be non-vegan are perfectly fine and without any animal products.
One such flavor is Garlic Butter which despite the name shows no sign of butter in its ingredients, only garlic powder.
Vegan Ritz Crackers
The following flavors are vegan friendly and have no animal derived ingredients:
- Originals (Original, Roasted Vegetable, Reduced Fat, Everything, Whole Wheat, Garlic Butter, Hint of Salt)
- Cracker Sandwiches (Peanut Butter)
- Toasted Chips (Multigrain, Pita)
- Crisp & Thins (Barbecue, Tabasco, Salt & Vinegar)
- Seasonal (Snowflake)
The Seasonal Snowflake and Cracker Sandwiches Peanut Butter flavors do not contain any animal products but are made on the same equipment as non-vegan crackers.
These flavors therefore carry an allergy warning for milk on their packaging.
Non-Vegan Ritz Crackers
There are some Ritz Cracker flavors which are obviously non-vegan such as the Honey Wheat Crackers and Crisp & Thins Cream Cheese & Onion.
These have honey and milk among their ingredients so don’t qualify as being vegan. Not all vegans object to honey but enough do to warrant it as a non-vegan food.
Other non-vegan ingredients in some Ritz Crackers are buttermilk, lactose, whey, butter and sour cream.
The following Ritz Crackers are non-vegan:
- Originals (Honey Wheat)
- Fresh Stacks (Original, Whole Wheat)
- Crisp & Thins (Original, Cream Cheese & Onion, Cheddar, Jalapeño, Cheddar, Creamy Onion & Sea Salt)
- Cracker Sandwiches (Cheese)
- Ritz Bits (Peanut Butter, Cheese)
- Toasted Chips (Original, Cheddar, Veggie, Sour Cream & Onion)
- Cheese Crispers (Cheddar, Four Cheese & Herb)
- Seasonal (Fudge)
Tips For Checking If Ritz Flavors Are Vegan
Without trawling through the whole list of ingredients on every box of Ritz Crackers there are easier ways to discover whether they are vegan or not.
- Look for the allergy warning under the ingredients list for milk derivatives
- Know your additives and chemical names for things that may be animal derived products such as sodium caseinate which is a compound made from the milk protein casein
- Beware of words that sound like a non-vegan product but which are safe for vegans such as lactic acid which is not the same thing as lactose, a sugar found in cow’s milk. Lactic acid is an organic acid used in fermentation and can be man made or plant based
While some Ritz Crackers are vegan more than 60% of their products are non-vegan. So the advice is to check the ingredients and know what is in each flavor before you eat them.
Then you can enjoy your snack with a clear conscience.