14 surprising junk foods you had no idea were vegan
Being vegan is nbd these days. There are tons of amazing recipes online and you’re catered for anywhere and everywhere from Pret to your local pizza joint. But whilst dinner might be sorted, what about those moments when you get a hankering for your old junk food go-tos?
Well, er, actually it turns out you can have most of those too, because even though you might not realise it, loads of the sweet and savoury snacks that you love are vegan already.
1. Jelly Tots
Most gummy-style sweets are a no-no for vegetarians, because they contain gelatine, which is made by boiling animal by-products like bones and skin (soz, meat eaters, you’re gonna have to push that one to the bottom of your brain the next time you eat Haribo). Jelly Tots, however, are one of the few exceptions to the rule.
2. Party Rings
The icing in party rings used to contain gelatine as a setting agent, but Fox’s changed the recipe back in 2015, and now they’re totally fine for dunking in your vegan cuppa. Plus, they’re still only 29 calories per biscuit, so as sweet snacks go, they’re definitely not the worst for you/
Bourbons are both chocolate flavoured and come with a creamy filling, so it’d be totally fair to assume there’s some milk or butter lurking in these bad boys. But you’d be wrong, as most supermarket-own makes are free of animal products – just be sure to check the label before you buy.
‘Prawn cocktail flavour tapioca snack’, the info on the back reads, but somehow these fizzy little bites contain literally no prawn. The packet does have a milk warning but this is from an allergen perspective, because they may have been produced in an environment that handles dairy, rather than having it in their actual ingredient list.
5. Pop Tarts
Don’t get too excited about this one, cos it’s only the unfrosted variety, but hey, small victories, right? Even though there’s gelatine in the frosting, you can still enjoy the blueberry, brown sugar and strawberry flavours, and if you’re that keen, you can easily whip up your own coating with icing sugar and water anyway.
6. Biscuit spread
Biscuit spread has become a massive thing over the last few years, and when it comes to flavours like custard cream, vegans have had to miss out. However, the original, and we’d wager the best, Lotus Biscoff Spread, is completely vegan friendly. Our preferred method of serving? Spoon, meet mouth.
7. Pot Noodle
Anyone who pretends they left a love of Pot Noodles back in their student days is a big liar – we don’t eat them on a daily basis or anything, but there are definitely times when only a cheap cup of salty broth will do. The Bombay Bad Boy, Sweet and Sour and even the Southern Fried Chicken (we know, WTF) flavours are all fine for vegans to eat.
8. Chupa Chups
Suck it, vegans – literally, cos Chupa Chips lollies (mostly) don’t contain any animal products. Pretty much all of the fruity flavours are just sugar and colourings, although you should look out for the ‘& cream’ situation, because they have milk powder in them.
Funnily enough, we’re not talking about the Tangy Cheese variety here, or, sadly the Cool Originals, which are made with buttermilk. However, you can still make incred vegan nachos with a packet of Chilli Heatwave, Lightly Salted, and bizarrely, BBQ rib, as long as, as with the Skips, you don’t mind the milk allergen warning.
In yet another meat-flavoured anomaly, Peta lists the original, BBQ, paprika and (wait for it) smoky bacon tubes as suitable for vegans. Baffling, we agree, but we’re also happy that we can keep on popping til we can’t stop etc etc.
Skittles were off the vegan menu for years, due to the inclusion of cochineal, or ground up bugs (yep, another one to repress retrospectively) in their colouring. However, Wrigley’s revised the recipe and removed the E120, so now vegans can taste the rainbow again.
This is one of the few times that British junk food triumphs over America – Starburst in the UK are suitable for vegans, but the formula in the States contains gelatine (even the Sours). So if you’re heading Stateside anytime soon, you might want to pack a stash…
As if your sweet tooth wasn’t satisfied enough, you can feast on the strawberry, bubblegum, raspberry, cola, blackcurrant and apple flavours of these chewy little nuggets of joy. If you’re not sure where to start, we’d highly recommend getting one of the big jars and pretending you’re not going to eat them all in one sitting. Heh.
14. Bacon rashers
We’ll say that again – bacon. rashers. Okay, so not the meaty kind you still under the grill, but the kind that cost 90p from the corner shop. Again, brands vary, so read the label first, but for such meaty tasting crisps, you’d be surprised how many of them are, well, meat-free.