Ritz Crackers are an incredibly popular snack thanks to their simple flavor and wide variety of options. But are Ritz crackers vegan? Read on to find out more.
In the beginning, Ritz crackers had an original cheese flavor. However, since then, they have released hundreds of varieties over almost a century of history. In this mini guide, we’ll be taking you through just about everything you need to know about Ritz Crackers being vegan.
One thing to keep in mind is that Ritz has not clearly labelled their products as vegan unlike many other crackers on the market. So you may have to do some digging to get the answers.
Origin of Ritz Crackers
Born in the Nabisco company, Ritz crackers were created in 1934 by Sydney Stern. During the Great Depression, Stern was inspired to make expensive crackers at the Ritz Hotel accessible to everyone. Today, the Ritz brand is owned by Mondelez with 12 billion Ritz Crackers manufactured each year worldwide!
Are Ritz Crackers Vegan?
The Ritz brand is referred to as accidentally vegan, meaning it’s a popular product that turns out to be vegan even if that was not the manufacturer’s goal. However, there are many exceptions and qualifications to this statement.
The only definitively vegan product offered is Ritz Original Toasted Pita Crackers, which contains no animal products, sugar, natural or artificial flavors. As for other Ritz products:
- Most Ritz Originals Crackers varieties are accidentally vegan. Even their cheese flavoring comes from natural flavor with no dairy or animal products used. However, Honey Wheat is NOT vegan as it includes honey.
- Ritz Crisps and Thins are hit or miss. Salt and Vinegar, Barbecue and Tabasco are likely vegan, with the rest not being vegan due to whey and/or dairy in the ingredients.
- Ritz Bits are NOT vegan due to inclusion of whey, milk and cheese. All varieties of Ritz Crispers are NOT vegan as well.
- Ritz Fresh Stacks are likely vegan although they include sugar and natural flavor.
There are some qualifications to these statements, however. Read on to find out more and get the facts before making your decision.
Ritz Crackers contain some ingredients that are controversial for vegans. Let’s explore this more in depth:
- Sugar: Not all sugar made in North America is vegan, with a significant amount being filtered using bone char from cattle. Some vegans prefer to avoid products containing sugar, while others find it unreasonable, so this is personal preference.
- Natural Flavors: This umbrella term covers a wide variety of flavoring ingredients. Most natural flavors are vegan, but some are not, so this is again a question of preferences.
- Artificial Flavors: The FDA states that artificial flavors cannot be derived from natural substances like meat, fish, poultry, eggs or dairy products. However, some may have been tested on animals during development, so this boils down again to preferences.
- Artificial Colors: As with artificial flavors, many artificial colors are tested on animals, making them a controversial ingredient for vegans.
Ritz has not made disclosures on these issues, so it can be difficult to know whether these ingredients are in fact vegan.
Vegan Analysis of All Ritz Products
While ingredient formulations are subject to change at any time, we did an in-depth review of all Ritz Crackers varieties here:
|Ritz Original||Maybe||Contains sugar, natural flavor|
|Ritz Original Roasted Vegetable||Maybe||Contains sugar|
|Ritz Original Honey Wheat||No||Contains honey|
|Ritz Original Garlic Butter||Maybe||Contains sugar, natural flavor|
|Ritz Original Reduced Fat||Maybe||Contains natural flavor|
|Ritz Original Hint of Salt||Maybe||Contains sugar, natural flavor|
|Ritz Original Whole Wheat||Maybe||Contains sugar|
|Ritz Original Everything||Maybe||Contains sugar|
Most Ritz crackers are in the grey area of being vegan due to issues related to sugar and flavoring. The one exception is honey wheat which is not vegan.
Here is the analysis for Ritz Crisp and Thins:
|Ritz Crisp and Thins||Vegan?||Why|
|Ritz Crisp and Thins Original||No||Contains whey|
|Ritz Crisp and Thins Cream Cheese and Onion||No||Contains dairy|
|Ritz Crisp and Thins Salt and Vinegar||Maybe||Contains sugar|
|Ritz Crisp and Thins Barbecue||Maybe||Contains sugar, natural flavor|
|Ritz Crisp and Thins Cheddar||No||Contains whey|
|Ritz Crisp and Thins Jalapeno||No||Contains dairy|
|Ritz Crisp and Thins Tabasco||Maybe||Contains sugar|
Note that many Ritz Crisp and Thins contain whey and/or dairy, making them not vegan.
Last but not least, here are the details for the other Ritz brands:
|Ritz Fresh Stacks||Maybe||Contains sugar, natural flavor|
|Ritz Fresh Stacks Whole Wheat||Maybe||Contains sugar|
|Ritz Bits Peanut Butter||No||Contains milk|
|Ritz Bits Cheese||No||Contains buttermilk|
|Ritz Toasted Chips||No||Contains milk|
|Ritz Toasted Chips Cheddar||No||Contains dairy|
|Ritz Toasted Chips Multigrain||Maybe||Contains sugar|
|Ritz Toasted Chips Veggie||Maybe||Contains sugar, natural flavor, artificial flavor, artificial color|
|Ritz Original Toasted Pita Crackers||Yes||No sugar, flavors, colors or dairy|
|Ritz Toasted Chips Sour Cream and Onion||No||Contains milkfat|
|Ritz Cheese Cracker Sandwiches||Maybe||Contains sugar|
|Ritz Peanut Butter Cracker Sandwiches||Maybe||Contains sugar|
|Ritz Cheese Crispers (all varieties)||No||Contains cheese|
The only definitively vegan product is Ritz Original Toasted Pita Crackers. Many other varieties are clearly not vegan, such as Ritz Toasted Chips Sour Cream and Onion.
Are Ritz Crackers Healthy?
Ritz Crackers are fairly low in sodium, with one serving containing about 4 percent of your total daily recommended intake. However, they provide little or no vitamins or minerals. And the fat in these crackers is problematic because it’s mainly trans fat. Their Reduced Fat brand contains less fat than many alternatives.
You May Also Like
Vegan Ritz Cracker Chocolate Raspberry Bites
- 24 vegan RITZ Crackers
- 2 cups raspberries
- 4 oz vegan cream cheese softened
- 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips
- Add chocolate chips to a small microwaveable bowl. Microwave in 30-second internals until melted, stirring each time. Mix in cream cheese until blended.
- Spread chocolate mixture onto crackers. Top with 4-5 raspberries per cracker. Dust with optional powdered sugar.