With Pringles, the fourth most popular snack product in the world, it might be a case of you not being able to stop once you pop, but should vegans be popping in the first place? In other words, are Pringles vegan friendly?
The good news for snack fiends is that many of the Pringles flavours available in the UK are indeed fine for vegans to consume. Though there are some that are made using products derived from animals and are not vegan (though perhaps not the flavours you suspect).
Here we go through all the flavours and varieties currently sold by Pringles in the UK and explain which are okay for vegans to chomp, and which should be avoided. Of course, whilst Pringles are undoubtedly popular, and rather moreish, that’s not to say they are particularly healthy, of course. Those who are particularly drawn to the health benefits of being vegan might not be overly keen to grab a tube (or canister as they are officially called) of these potato-based snacks. But there are plenty of vegans (including lots here in our office!) who are not averse to a little junk food from time to time. So, this article is for you – just snack responsibly!
Which Pringles Flavours Are Vegan?
For a quick reference, here we go through the various flavours of Pringles available in the United Kingdom and state whether or not they are okay for vegans to eat. Note that occasionally food producers will change their recipes or add or withdraw flavours at short notice, so always check the ingredients of Pringles products to be on the safe side.
Based on the information currently available and the recipes utilised at the time of writing, the following Pringles flavours are vegan friendly:
- Pringles Original
- Pringles Sweet Chilli
- Pringles Paprika
- Pringles Smokey Bacon Flavour
- Pringles Texas BBQ Sauce
The main reason that some Pringles varieties are not suitable for vegans is their inclusion of one or more ingredients derived from dairy products (for instance the milk-derived lactose in the Salt & Vinegar flavoured Pringles).
Also, not that this section refers to the standard Pringles. For information on some of the other Pringles products (such as their tortillas) please scroll down.
Pringles (Standard 200g Canister)
- Pringles Original* – Vegan
- Pringles Sweet Chilli – Vegan
- Pringles Paprika* – Vegan
- Pringles Smokey Bacon Flavour – Vegan
- Pringles Texas BBQ Sauce* – Vegan
- Pringles Cheese and Onion* – NOT Vegan
- Pringles Cheesy Cheese – NOT Vegan
- Pringles Prawn Cocktail Flavour – NOT Vegan
- Pringles Salt & Vinegar* – NOT Vegan
- Pringles Roast Chicken & Herbs – NOT Vegan
- Pringles Steak – NOT Vegan
- Pringles Sour Cream & Onion* – NOT Vegan
- Pringles Hot & Spicy* – NOT Vegan
*Also available in 40g canister/tube at the time of writing
It is perhaps surprising that the Salt & Vinegar Pringles are not okay for vegans, but Smokey Bacon Pringles are fine! (They use yeast and various salts to get the bacon flavour). Surprising but very good, as long as you like Smokey Bacon and not Salt & Vinegar.
What Are Pringles?
Pringles are potato-based snacks that are made in a saddle shape (or hyperbolic paraboloid, if you want to be geometrically correct) that enables them to be packed in a tube while minimising their chances of breaking when stacked or transported. You thought the shape was just for making duck lips with? Oh, no, my friend, there is a lot of science behind Pringles!
Pringles were originally developed by consumer goods giant Proctor & Gamble in 1967. The iconic shape of the crisps and the tubes in which they are sold was developed by Frederic Baur, a food storage technician and organic chemist. Baur was so fond of his invention that he requested that some of his ashes be placed in a Pringles tube and buried, a request with which his children duly complied.
The Pringles brand was sold to another gigantic corporation, Kellogg’s (think cereals), in 2012, at which point they were the fourth most popular snack product in the world with a market share of more than 2%.
Pringles are sold in re-sealable tubes (canisters) with the standard size containing 200g of the snack. They also sell a 40g mini tube of some of the main flavours (as detailed above), although frankly that’s over as soon as it’s popped in our house!
What Are Pringles Made From?
Though classified as a potato-based snack, the actual potato content is only around 42% in the standard varieties. The full list of ingredients listed below is from the Pringles Original variety, that is the one in the recognisable red tube. As you will see, there is little here to cause too much in the way of head-scratching for vegans. But let’s run through them one-by-one, just to be on the safe side.
Ingredients of Original Pringles in the UK
- Dehydrated Potatoes – Potatoes with most of the water removed; definitely vegan
- Vegetable Oils (Sunflower, Corn) – Oil produced from vegetables (obviously!), so again, definitely vegan
- Rice Flour – Rice is a plant; yep, it’s vegan
- Wheat Starch – Wheat is also a plant… we’re on a roll here!
- Corn Flour – Flour from corn, aka maize, which is a plant – vegan
- Emulsifier (E471) – Okay, less straightforward, as E471 refers to fatty acids that can be derived from animals, but in the case of the E471 in Pringles, they are derived from plant sources, so they are vegan
- Maltodextrin – A polysaccharide produced from starch that has been sourced from plants – vegan
- Salt – Sodium, tick; chlorine, tick; combine the two: salt; no animals here so definitely vegan
- Yeast Extract – Yeast is not derived from plants, but neither does it come from animals as it is a fungus, so it is vegan-friendly
- Yeast Powder – As above
- Colour (Annatto) – A red/orange food colouring that is produced using the seeds of the achiote tree, so this too is vegan friendly
Other Pringles Products
As well as the standard potato crisps, Pringles offer a number of other snack products. They may also bring out various special edition flavours or products from time to time, but here we cover the main offerings from Pringles.
Pringles Rice – Not Vegan
Pringles Rice are similar to the originals but, as the name suggests, they contain rice (or rice flour) as the main ingredient. They still include dehydrated potatoes too, but the use of rice flour offers a slightly different consistency to the crisp.
The bad news for vegans here is that currently none of the four Pringles Rice flavours is vegan friendly. This is because all of them include ingredients (such as lactose) that has been derived from milk. Note, however, that the Peking Duck flavour does not contain any ingredients that come from ducks. Just for the record!
- Pringles Rice Fusion Malaysian Red Curry
- Pringles Rice Fusion Peking Duck with Hoisin Sauce
- Pringles Rice Fusion Indian Tandoori Chicken Masala
- Pringles Rice Fusion Japanese BBQ Teriyaki
Pringles Xtra – Not Vegan
The Pringles Xtra crisps have flavours that pack a little more punch than the standard options, so are aimed at the slightly more adventurous snack-heads out there. As with the Rice flavours, all the Xtra options contain ingredients derived from milk and so these too are out of bounds for vegans.
- Pringles Xtra Cheesy Nacho Cheese
- Pringles Xtra Kickin Sour Cream & Onion
- Pringles Xtra Spicy Chilli Sauce
- Pringles Xtra Saucy BBQ
Pringles Tortilla – Only Original is Vegan
Perhaps looking to make a dent in the dominance of Doritos in the tortilla chips market, these corn flour-based offerings from Pringles are proving very popular with consumers. And, thankfully, for vegans, the Pringles Tortilla Original flavour is vegan friendly!
Unfortunately, the Spicy Chilli, Nacho Cheese and Sour Cream Tortilla Chips all contain ingredients derived from milk, so they are no good for those following a plant-based diet.
- Pringles Original Tortilla Chips
- Pringles Spicy Chilli Tortilla Chips
- Pringles Sour Cream Tortilla Chips
- Pringles Nacho Cheese Tortilla Chips
Vegan Friendly Pringles – What Are The Options?
In summary, there are a fair number of Pringles products that are fine for vegans to eat, namely: Pringles Original, Pringles Sweet Chilli, Pringles Paprika, Pringles Smokey Bacon Flavour, Pringles Texas BBQ Sauce and Pringles Original Tortilla Chips. So, go and grab a tube or two and tuck in with your favourite vegan salsa or other dip.