Funyuns being a popular snack since 1969 in the USA. Whether it’s a party or movie night, Funyuns will fit the occasion, but does it fit different diets? More importantly, are Funyuns vegan?
Funyuns Original and Funyuns Flamin’ Hot are not vegan. They both contain milk and several questionable ingredients such as artificial colors, niacin, riboflavin and enzymes.
In this article I will deep dive into the ingredients and list some amazing vegan alternatives.
Below are the ingredients that can be found in Funyuns Original and Funyuns Flamin’ Hot.
I have highlighted the ingredients that we need to take a closer look at.
- Corn Meal
- Corn Starch
- Cheddar Cheese
- Cheese Cultures
- Citric Acid
- Corn Flour
- Extractives of Onion
- Ferrous Sulfate
- Folic Acid
- Garlic Powder
- Gum Arabic
- Hydrolyzed Corn Protein
- Maltodextrin (Made from Corn)
- Monosodium Glutamate
- Natural Flavors
- Natural and Artificial Flavor
- Onion Powder
- Red 40 Lake
- Skim Milk
- Sodium Diacetate
- Sunflower Oil
- Thiamin Mononitrate
- Whole Corn Meal
- Yeast Extract
- Yellow 6 Lake
Nothing to say about the milk ingredients, it’s cow’s milk which is not vegan.
Below is a small list:
- Cheddar Cheese
- Cheese Cultures
- Skim Milk
This is a very controversial ingredient within the vegan community. Artificial colors do not contain any animal-derived ingredients, but that’s not the problem. Animal testing is still being conducted and this does not align with veganism.
The experiments are mostly done on mice and rats, which is animal cruelty. These kind of experiments are outdated and today there are more modern ways to perform tests such as cell tissues or computer simulations.
Not only that, but there are also several health issues connected to artificial colors such as hyper activity or in some cases cancer. Always consume this ingredient with care and if you can try to find alternatives to funyuns that uses natural colors instead.
In Funyuns you can find sugar and dextrose, these ingredients does not have any animal-derived ingredients, but it’s rather the production process that can make sugar non-vegan. In the candy industry the most common sugar is cane sugar.
To make cane sugar fit the candy products it needs to be refined to get bleached. A very common practice to bleach cane sugar is to actually use bone char from dead cows in the bleaching process. This would make some sugar in theory non-vegan and it’s almost impossible to know which is used in a candy product unless it’s disclosed by the company.
If the sugar used is raw cane sugar then it’s vegan or beet sugar which is a great alternative.
Enzymes can be made from both animals and plants, which makes it impossible to know the source. The best way to be sure is to contact the company, if it’s not disclosed on the product.
Corn is a very common GMO crop in the USA and corn in itself is 100% vegan, but when it’s a GMO crop it can effect the environment severely. It uses a high amount of herbicide and this can pollute surrounding water and damage the ecosystems around the farm.
The herbicide is needed to get good yields. If you want to avoid GMO’s then try and look for the non-GMO project label.
Natural And Artificial Flavors
Natural flavors can be a bit tricky because it’s an umbrella term, which means that companies can hide whatever ingredients they want here and not having to disclose them in the ingredients section of the product.
Natural flavors can contain ingredient from both animals and plants, making this ingredient highly questionable. There is an article on National Geographic where they reveal that some vanilla flavors uses butt goo from beavers as an ingredient.
Artificial flavors are usually vegan since they are made chemically in a lab.
Riboflavin & Niacin
These two ingredient does share the same problem and that’s because they both can be made with plant-based or animal-derived ingredients. Impossible to know the source unless the company discloses it. You can also contact the company to find out the source.
Vegan Alternative To Funyuns
I actually found a great vegan alternative to Funyuns and it’s called Trader Joe’s Baked Onion Rings.
Are Funyuns Vegetarian?
Funyuns Original and Funyuns Flamin’ Hot might be vegetarian, but they contain niacin, riboflavin and enzymes, which can be made with ingredients derived from animals.
Are Funyuns Dairy-Free?
Funyuns are not dairy-free. Ingredients such as buttermilk, whey, lactose, cheddar cheese, cheese cultures and skim milk can be found in Funyuns Original and Funyuns Flamin’ Hot.
Finding great vegan snacks and candy can be a bit tricky today. That is why I went the extra mile to found a great vegan alternative to Funyuns, that tastes amazing.
I couldn’t seem to find where Trader Joe’s Baked Onion Rings are sold, but the important thing is to know is that they are vegan.
The funyuns contains many dairy products and is a long way from being vegan.
I hope you found this article useful.