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Are Goldfish Vegan? Can Vegans Eat Goldfish?

Are Goldfish Vegan? Can Vegans Eat Goldfish?

Answer: No.

No
Are Goldfish Vegan? Can Vegans Eat Goldfish?

We are sure you remember stuffing in Goldfish Crackers in your childhood — or at least seeing your kid munching on them now. Pepperidge Farm has released so many flavors of Goldfish that it is almost irresistible.

Although quite savory, Goldfish are not vegan. They contain milk-based products that are a no-go if you are on a vegan diet. Well, it may not be hard to substitute them as there are health concerns around them.

In this article, we have answered the burning question, are Goldfish Vegan, in detail. We have also covered some other health benefits of the fish-shaped crackers. Read till the end to find the best vegan alternative to Goldfish.

Ingredients In Goldfish

There are numerous varieties of Goldfish flavors available in the market. Therefore, it becomes crucial to know the ingredients used to make Goldfish and decide on its vegan nature. 

Read on to learn about the ingredients of a few Goldfish flavors highly consumed by people and why vegans should not consume them. 

Goldfish Original 

Ingredients used in Goldfish original are:

  • Enriched wheat flour 
  • Vegetable oils
  • Spices 
  • Celery
  • Onion powder
  • Salt 
  • Baking soda 
  • Sugar 
  • Nonfat milk 
  • Paprika 
  • Monocalcium phosphate

The presence of nonfat milk raises many questions over its consumption for vegans.

Goldfish Cheddar

Goldfish Cheddar is the most famous flavor consumed in the States. The ingredients used in making Goldfish Cheddar are:

  • Enriched wheat flour 
  • Cheddar cheese 
  • Vegetable oils 
  • Baking soda
  • Onion powder 
  • Monocalcium phosphate 
  • Salt 
  • Yeast 
  • Autolyzed yeast extract 
  • Paprika 
  • Celery 
  • Spices 
  • Sugar 

The questionable ingredient used in this flavor is cheese. 

Goldfish Parmesan

The ingredients used in making this flavor of Goldfish are:

  • Enriched wheat flour 
  • Vegetable oils
  • Salt 
  • Yeast 
  • Butter 
  • Sugar 
  • Autolyzed yeast extract 
  • Baking soda 
  • Onion powder 
  • Parmesan cheese (milk, cheese, enzymes)

The debatable ingredients used in flavor are parmesan cheese and butter. 

Is Goldfish Vegan?

No type of Goldfish Crackers is vegan. All of them contain at least one item which has non-vegan origins. Let us discuss these in detail.

Dairy-Based Products

Some flavors of Goldfish, like Cheddar, Parmesan, and Pizza, use cheese as their ingredient. However, cheese is a milk derivative and not vegan. 

Besides cheese, milk and butter are other common ingredients of all Goldfish Crackers. These make the Goldfish Crackers even more non-vegan.

The company uses fat-free milk in many flavors, like Original and Pretzel. But, even though fat-free and healthier, it is still a non-vegan ingredient of crackers. So, any vegan would like to avoid all flavors of Goldfish.

Sugar

Many large-scale manufacturers use sugar that has non-vegan processing.

The sugar derived from sugarcane is primarily a vegan ingredient. But many industrial manufacturers process it with cattle-obtained substances called bone char. It makes it non-vegan.

The company does not specify if the sugar it uses is vegan or not. So, it becomes difficult to believe the vegan nature of the products. However, many producers have successfully shifted to vegan alternatives, so it is good to assess the nature of the sugar before coming to a decision.

Vegetable Oil

Vegetable oils are oils derived from plant products. So, we assume these are vegan. But this might not be the case.

Mass industrial production of vegetable oils has many environmental and animal-related concerns. First, it leads to massive deforestation, causing many animals to lose their habitats. Second, it further has many harmful consequences.

Second, the production releases many greenhouse gases adding to pollution and global warming. As a result, both animals and humans get negatively impacted.

Veganism is against all cruelties towards animals, including their habitat destruction. So, this raises the debate whether Vegetable oils are vegan or not, and thus, whether Goldfish is vegan. We are more inclined towards it being non-vegan.

Goldfish Veggie Crackers

Paying regard to all the debates around the healthy nature of crackers, Pepperidge Farm introduced a new kind of crackers to its list. It is called the Veggie Crackers. Veggie Crackers are available in two flavors, cheesy tomato, and sweet carrot.

It focused on adding more plant-based ingredients to the crackers. So, in addition to wheat, oil, and other components, they said carrot and tomato. The crackers tasted better and had more nutritional values, equal to 1/3 of the vegetables.

Additionally, these contained colors and flavors extracted from the plants themselves. Therefore, no artificial preservatives and additives are added while making Goldfish Veggie Crackers. 

Although the plant ingredients made them more plant-based, they didn’t resolve the non-vegan nature of the crackers. Veggie Crackers are healthier and more nutritional but still contain dairy-based products.

The cheesy tomato-flavored Goldfish Crackers contain cheddar cheese, whereas the sweet carrot Goldfish Crackers contain fat-free milk. 

Therefore, even Veggie Crackers do not fit you if you follow a vegan diet. It was a good but a mere commercial attempt by the company.

Are Goldfish Crackers Otherwise Healthy?

Now that we have established that Goldfish Crackers are non-vegan, are Goldfish Crackers otherwise healthy to eat or not? Being famous doesn’t necessarily give it a stamp of being a healthy food. 

The crackers contain a few components that might not be safe to consume. These can cause several health problems if consumed in high quantities.

Let’s look at the components that raise health concerns before we give a final verdict. 

GMOs

Many ingredients, like vegetable oils, are extracted from Genetically Modified Organisms GMOs. They are used because they improve the yield and reduce the cost.

GMOs are known to harm the ecosystem. Additionally, these are toxic and allergenic. Therefore, these are restricted or banned in almost 30 countries. 

There are proven studies that show GMOs can cause potential harm to the liver. It can hamper liver functions and cause significant damage. It may even cause toxemia, which can poison the bloodstream in your body. 

Further, GMOs are also harmful to infants and can lead to infertility problems in women.

Though the company officially states it uses non-GMO ingredients, it’s hard to believe. Consumers distrust such products because of the large-scale use of GMOs.

Sodium 

There is no denying the fact that sodium causes harm to your body if consumed in excess. The Goldfish Crackers contain a significantly high amount of sodium. There is 250mg of sodium present per serving. 

Sodium can cause potential dire effects such as kidney damage, heart problems, and high blood pressure. Such processed food contains more amounts of sodium than your body requires. If you slash all processed foods, you can still fulfill your sodium requirements by consuming whole foods. 

It is advisable not to consume Goldfish Crackers. If you consume these regularly, you may face a big problem. 

MSG

Another main component used in making Goldfish Crackers is autolyzed yeast. Again, it gets utilized as a flavor enhancer. The problem is that it is a form of MSG or monosodium glutamate. 

MSG is an excitotoxin. Excitotoxins cause damage to the cellular part of the brain through overstimulation. As a result, this can trigger learning disabilities and several neurological conditions. 

Additionally, autolyzed yeast causes headaches, nausea, chest pain, or sweating when consumed excessively. 

Allergens

Different allergens cause varied reactions in human bodies. Therefore, it is always advisable to read the ingredients corner on the packaging to be aware of the allergens used. Some common allergens are milk, peanuts, soy, and eggs.

The company has mentioned various allergens used in making Goldfish Crackers. You should make sure you are not allergic to any of them before consuming the product.

Vegan Alternatives

There are very few vegan crackers available, similar to Goldfish, in the market. The substitutes are explicitly non-vegan, or the ingredients are debatable, like Goldfish. 

The closest alternative we could find is Earth Balance Vegan Cheddar Flavor Squares. They are best for those who like the Cheddar flavor of Goldfish Crackers. Other than this, the one visible difference between them is the shape.

These crackers are made by using all plant-based products. Manufacturers don’t use dairy or GMO-derived products. As the company states, these crackers are vegan.

Still, we can find two controversial ingredients in Earth Balance crackers too. Vegetable oil and sugar, as discussed above, have debatable origins. Unfortunately, the manufacturers don’t state whether they have plant origins.

Very strict vegans don’t prefer consuming even Earth Balance Vegan Cheddar Flavor Squares. However, the more liberal ones can overlook these controversies and choose these over Goldfish Crackers. 

Endnotes

In this article, we have successfully established that Goldfish Crackers produced by Pepperidge Farm are not vegan. Their primary ingredients include dairy-based products like milk and cheese-making them non-vegan. In addition, some controversial products like sugar and vegetable oil increase the non-vegan nature further.

There are many other interesting vegan snacks out there for diet-conscious consumers. But, of course, you can always choose them over the existing crackers.

Cooking your vegan and gluten-free fish-shaped crackers is one alternative being taken up rapidly by all, whether vegan or not. You can eat them without any concerns about being non-vegan.