Answer: It depends.
Answer: Not all flavor varieties of Ruffles chips are vegan. But luckily, like in almost every food brand, some flavors are made with 100% plant-based ingredients. However, there are also some that contain animal derivatives, particularly those with additional flavors.
Ruffles is one of the popular brands of store-bought potato chips in the United States and most European countries. It is another delicious creation by Frito Lay, the food company that also brought Lay’s, Doritos, and Cheetos to the American market.
Every snack has its own distinct characteristics that make it so irresistible to the mouth. As for Ruffles, it is the ruffled or crinkle-cut shape of each chip that makes it extra thick and crunchy. Ruffles is considered to be among the preferred potato chips brand by a nation of couch potatoes. No pun intended.
However, those who are following a special diet might want to double-check their bag of Ruffles if they are good for late-night snacking habit. The vegans, in particular, might think that Ruffles is completely plant-based for the fact that the chips are solely made from potatoes. Unfortunately, not all Ruffles products are vegan-approved.
The primary ingredients are potatoes, vegetable oil, and salt. We can say in a nutshell that all of these three do not originate from animal remains. To be extra careful, we will analyze each ingredient and confirm their vegan status.
Potatoes are without a doubt plant-based. The part of the potato plant that we are used to eating is the tuber, an enlarged structure in the plant’s rhizome that is mainly composed of starch. As a starchy root vegetable, it is considered an important energy-giving food.
So far, there are no concerns that growing potatoes in farmlands may potentially affect the animals that live nearby. In the case that cultivation of a certain plant species is proven to be negatively impacting the living situation of animals in their own natural habitat, then the vegan status of that particular plant can be questioned. Just take palm oil as an example.
According to the official product page of Ruffles, the oil used to prepare potato chips is vegetable oil. By the name itself, we are confident that it is a plant-derived oil. Specifically, three kinds of vegetable oil are used in this product, namely sunflower, corn, and canola oil.
Fortunately, sunflower, corn, and canola oil are plant-derived products that are also cruelty-free. As explained earlier, there are food products that are seemingly vegan because of their origin, but the production stage poses danger to the animals in an already existing ecosystem.
If you are a little nitpicky, you may do a little background check regarding the kind of sunflower, corn, and canola oil used to make the Ruffle chips. It can be argued that the refining process to keep the vegetable oil pure makes use of a filtering system with the animal bone matter.
The good news is that there are no confirmed reports that these vegetable oils undergo a refining process with animal-based reagents.
Table salt or sodium chloride is the last of the Ruffles chips’ trifecta of vegan-approved ingredients. We know for sure that salt is a chemical compound found in every food product for the purpose of adjusting its taste. What some of you may still not know is where the table salt came from.
There are vitamins added in food products such as vitamin D3 that can be found in animals. Therefore, some manufacturers make use of animal remains to extract these vitamins and put them in their products.
In the case of table salt, it is a mineral that can only be obtained from the earth. To be more specific, the salt crystals that are refined to produce consumable table salt are situated underground. Therefore, table salt is not a plant-derived ingredient, but it is not animal-derived either.
What Makes Ruffles Non-Vegan?
The original plain salted variant of Ruffles chips is definitely vegan-friendly. When special flavoring is added, we need to be more careful because that is when most animal-derived contents are able to sneak into many food products. This happens in our favorite potato chips brand most of the time.
Some potato chips can have dairy and honey when flavorings are added. We know that honey is a sweet substance harvested from beehives. While it is not made directly from animal remains, honey is produced because of the exploitation of bee colonies. It’s a good thing that Ruffles do not have special varieties that make use of honey to add flavor.
Do Ruffles Have Dairy?
When it comes to dairy, some Ruffles chip variations contain flavors that come from milk ingredients. In fact, dairy is most often preferred by potato chip manufacturers to create new flavors for their products because of the milk’s rich taste.
The good thing is that we can tell by reading the list of ingredients in a potato chips bag if there are any dairy contents present inside. After all, reading the label before putting the product inside the cart is a habit that vegans have already grown accustomed to.
It is pretty much easy to screen out all the products containing dairy if we are extra careful in reading the list of ingredients.
Which Ruffles Flavors Are Vegan?
For your convenience, we have listed down the Ruffles potato chips flavors that are safe for vegan consumption:
- Ruffles Original
- Ruffles All Dressed
The abovementioned are the only Ruffles chips flavors that do not contain dairy. They are sprinkled with plain salt.
Non-Vegan Ruffles Flavors
Another easy way to spot the Ruffles chip varieties that contain dairy is to identify the cheese and sour cream-flavored potato chips. Cheese and cream are well-known dairy products, and powdered flavors derived from these two are very much likely to contain the same milk contents that give these products their distinct flavor.
Ranch flavor is another giveaway because the original ranch dressing is made of butter and sour cream. The other Ruffles potato chips flavors included in this list are not related to cheese or cream, but they are also found to use dairy ingredients to enhance the savory taste of the chips.
We have also listed down the dairy-rich Ruffles potato chips variants that vegan consumers should avoid:
- Ruffles Sour Cream and Onion
- Ruffles Cheddar and Sour Cream
- Ruffles Queso Cheese
- Ruffles Lime and Jalapeno
- Ruffles Jalapeno Ranch
- Ruffles Flamin’ Hot
- Ruffles Double Crunch: Hot Wings
- Ruffles Double Crunch: Zesty Cheddar
Take note that there may be some flavored Ruffles chips that are not included in this list, especially those that are newly-released or special edition flavors exclusive in selected locations in North America and Europe. In that case, you can simply read the label of these special flavored chips to confirm if they are dairy-free or not.
What Frito Lay Chips Are Vegan?
Aside from Ruffles, Frito Lay has other popular potato chip brands that use the same flavors that Ruffles chips have. Remember that the primary trait that separates Ruffles from other Frito Lay potato chips is the texture. It is only expected that two or more brands under the same company would share the same flavor.
Here are some of the Frito Lay chips that are guaranteed to be vegan:
- Lay’s Original Baked
- Lay’s Classic Potato Chips
- Lay’s Salt & Vinegar Potato Chips
- Lay’s Limón Potato Chips
- Lay’s Poppables Sea Salt Potato Snacks
- Lay’s Stax Original Potato Crisps
- Lay’s Wavy Original Potato Chips
- Lay’s Wavy Sea Salt & Pepper Potato Chips
- Lay’s Wavy Reduced Fat Orignal Potato Chips
- Lay’s Wavy Lightly Salted Potato Chips
There are many potato chips products from Frito Lay that are mostly drenched in cheese and cream flavoring. Cheetos, for example, is impossible to have a vegan-friendly variant because of its mostly dairy-based flavor.
As always, it would help if you like to read up on the label of these potato chip variants to check if there are other new products that pass as a vegan snack option. You just have to be wary of the dairy that these flavored potato chips are most likely to contain. Otherwise, you may just opt for the original or plain salted variant.
As a vegan, you should not feel guilty while eating Ruffles potato chips. We have already established that the base ingredients of this product are plant-based so you have nothing to worry about as far as your being vegan is concerned.
However, it is a different issue if you consider the health benefits that you will get from consuming Ruffles. The amount of saturated fat, even from products that use vegetable oil for frying, is still quite significant, especially if you will eat them on a regular basis.
There is nothing wrong with opening a bag of potato chips every once in a while as you enjoy watching your favorite movies or TV series on your couch. Eating too much will cause unwanted setbacks such as elevated blood pressure and impaired kidney function due to sodium build-up. Always eat your food in moderation.