Chex Mix snack mix is a party staple beloved by thousands of people. A large bowl of this snack is also an essential part of any movie night.
But is Chex Mix vegan? The answer depends on various factors, and I've gathered all the info you may need.
So, let's dive into this article and get all the answers!
What is Chex Mix Made of?
The available Chex Mix flavors include:
- Max’d Buffalo Ranch
- Max’d Spicy Dill
- Honey BBQ
- Sour Cream & Onion
- Trail Mix
- Dark Chocolate
- Jalapeño Cheddar
- Hot & Spicy
- Ghost Pepper
- Honey Nut
Most of the flavors contain milk derivatives or honey. Take a look at the ingredients in the Bold Chex Mix:
- Whole Wheat, Degermed Yellow Corn Meal, Enriched Flour, Vegetable Oil, Sugar, Rye Flour, Monosodium Glutamate, Salt, Maltodextrin, Garlic Powder, Corn Syrup Solids, Yeast, Whey, Spices, Distilled Monoglycerides, Sodium Diacetate, Baking Soda,
- Onion Powder, Dried Romano Cheese (made from cow’s milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzymes), Dried Parmesan Cheese (milk, cultures, salt, enzymes), Molasses Powder, Yellow Corn Flour,
- Trisodium Phosphate, Disodium Inosinate, Disodium Guanylate, Calcium Carbonate, Disodium Phosphate, Natural Flavor, Soy Flour, Caramel Color, Barley Malt Syrup, Fumaric Acid, and Caraway.
From the look of the packaging, you'd think the flavor is vegan, given that it has garlic and onion images.
However, you'll see the brand relies heavily on animal-based ingredients for flavoring when you study the ingredients. Many also enjoy it with Worcestershire sauce, which also isn't vegan.
But vegans shouldn't despair.
3 Problematic Ingredients
There's an ongoing debate whether these ingredients are vegan or not. The vegan community is divided — some see no issue in using them, while others are very loudly against them.
1. Refined Sugar
Sugar is probably one of the most controversial ingredients. Most vegans avoid it because the manufacturing process may include animal bone char .
2. Natural Flavors
“Natural” doesn’t always mean vegan, or healthy for that matter. Here’s how the FDA defines natural flavors:
“The essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional.”
— 21 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 501.22
Many natural flavors are derived from animal sources, and therefore non-vegan.
So, unless the product label clearly says "vegan," you may want to stay away from the product or find an alternative.
3. Artificial Flavors and Colors
It's a fact that artificial products aren't derived from animal sources; they're man-made.
But, the issue with artificial flavors and colors is that they're often tested on animals. Many vegans believe that products related to animal cruelty are non-vegan.
Moreover, artificial colors have been linked to severe health issues like causing hyperactivity in sensitive children, cancer, and allergic reactions .
Is Chex Mix Vegan?
Yes, Chex Mix is vegan. Even though most of these snack mix flavors are non-vegan, vegans can enjoy three plant-based Chex Mix vegan recipes.
3 Vegan Chex Mix Flavors
These flavors contain some questionable ingredients, which I’ll discuss in more detail later, but vegans can enjoy:
1. Traditional Chex Mix
Traditional Chex Mix that contains: Wheat, Degermed Yellow Corn Meal, Enriched Flour (wheat flour, niacin, iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), Vegetable Oil (soybean, rice bran and/or canola), Sugar, Rye Flour, Salt, Maltodextrin, Yeast, Spices, Color Added, Dextrose, Distilled Monoglycerides, Baking Soda, Yellow Corn Flour, Trisodium Phosphate, Calcium Carbonate, Autolyzed Yeast, Dried Onion, Dried Garlic, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Barley Malt Syrup, Fumaric Acid, Citric Acid, Caraway, Disodium Inosinate, Disodium Guanylate, Natural Flavor, and Sodium Diacetate.
2. Ghost Pepper Chex Mix
Ghost Pepper Chex Mix that contains: Whole Wheat, Degermed Yellow Corn Meal, Enriched Flour (wheat flour, niacin, iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), Vegetable Oil (soybean, canola and/or rice bran), Sugar, Rye Flour, Salt, Spices, Maltodextrin, Dextrose, Dried Garlic, Yeast, Yeast Extract, Dried Onion, Paprika Extract (color), Monoglycerides (Distilled), Baking Soda, Yellow Corn Flour, Trisodium Phosphate, Calcium Carbonate, Citric Acid, Natural Flavor, Caramel Color, Barley Malt Syrup, Fumaric Acid, Caraway, and Sodium Diacetate.
3. Ghost Pepper Chex Mix
Popped Chex Mix that contains: Sugar, Degermed Yellow Corn Meal, Whole Wheat, Vegetable Oil (Soybean, Palm, Sunflower, Corn, Canola and/or Rice Bran), Popcorn, Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Corn Syrup. Contains 2% Or Less Of: High Fructose Corn Syrup, Salt, Brown Sugar, Fructose, Molasses, Soy Lecithin, Distilled Monoglycerides, Baking Soda, Yeast, Maltodextrin, Modified Corn Starch, Trisodium Phosphate, Yellow Corn Flour, Calcium Carbonate, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Disodium Inosinate and Guanylate, Milk, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Barley Malt Syrup. Freshness Preserved By Bht and TBHQ.
4 Vegan Alternatives
There isn't an identical vegan Chex Mix alternative, but I've found some similar vegan options that are 100% vegan and much healthier options.
You may want to check out:
- Orchard Valley Harvest Trail Mix
- Nature’s Garden Healthy Trail Mix
- Enjoy Life Seed & Fruit Mix
- Raw Superfoods Mix
Is Chex Mix Dairy-Free?
Yes and no. Some Chex Mix flavors contain dairy, but Traditional Chex Mix, Ghost Pepper Chex Mix, and Popped Chex Mix are dairy-free and vegan. Additionally, Honey BBQ Chex Mix is also dairy-free, although it's not vegan.
Is Honey Nut Chex Vegan?
Honey Nut Chex Mix isn’t vegan. Even if you’re one of the vegans who consider honey vegan, this party mix contains non-fat milk and processed sugar.
Is Chex Mix Vegan? The Final Verdict
The answer depends on your definition of veganism, but Chex Mix is vegan.
Even though most flavors include non-vegan ingredients, such as dairy, sour cream, butter, and cheddar, there are three snack flavors vegans can enjoy.
That is if they don't mind the controversial ingredients. Share your thoughts in the comments!