Are Triscuits Vegan? (List of Vegan Flavors)


Are Triscuits Vegan?

Triscuits is a popular brand of crackers. I used to get these mixed up with Wheat Thins, another common cracker. Not the same. Triscuits have a texture similar to shredded wheat cereal—yeah, the stuff your dad eats. Anyway, I get asked quite a bit if the crackers are suitable for vegans.

Are they vegan? Some Triscuits are vegan, and others are not. Triscuits Original are vegan, as they simply contain whole grain wheat, plant oils (usually canola), sea salt, and BHT (to maintain freshness).1 But the line of crackers puts out several flavors that are off-limits for 100% plant-based eaters.

In this article, I’ll list both vegan and non-vegan flavors along with an analysis of the ingredients.

Vegan Triscuit Varieties

Basic Flavors: Original, Hint of Sea Salt, and Cracked Pepper

Again, the originals just contain:1

  • Whole Grain Wheat
  • Canola Oil
  • Sea Salt
  • BHT for freshness—it’s actually added to the packaging material.

BHT stands for butylated hydroxytoluene or dibutyl hydroxytoluene.2

It’s used as a preservative because it’s a derivative of phenol, and thus has antioxidant properties.3

Industrially, BHT is made via chemical synthesis using non-animal-derived precursors.4

And it is considered by the Vegetarian Resource Group (VRG) to be a vegan-friendly additive.5

Cracked Pepper and Hint of Sea Salt (two different flavors) are just the original plus pepper and salt, respectively. So, they’re also vegan.6,7

Rosemary and Olive

These contain:8

  • Whole Grain Wheat
  • Canola Oil and Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Rice Starch and Dried Pea Protein
  • Salt, Sugar
  • Spices (w/Rosemary and Celery)
  • Onion Powder, Leek Powder
  • Natural Flavor

As you can see, nothing but plant-based ingredients here. Not even the first preservative.

Roasted Garlic

These contain:9

  • Whole Grain Wheat
  • Canola Oil
  • Maltodextrin*
  • Salt
  • Garlic Powder
  • Dextrose
  • Natural Flavor

Maltodextrin just refers to molecules composed of chains of glucose.10

It’s always plant-based and is usually extracted from corn. Thus, it’s always vegan-friendly.

Dill, Sea Salt, and Olive Oil

Ingredients for these include:11

  • Whole Grain Wheat
  • Canola Oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Rice Starch
  • Sea Salt
  • Dillweed
  • Garlic and Onion Powders
  • Spices and Natural Flavor

Again, 100% plant-based with no synthetic additives.

Fire Roasted Tomato

These contain:12

  • Whole Grain Wheat
  • Canola Oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Ground Dried Tomatoes
  • Onion and Garlic Powders
  • Spices, Paprika
  • Natural Flavors
  • Citric and Malic Acids*
  • Malted Barley Flour, Rice Starch

Malic acid is an organic acid that’s found naturally in certain plant foods like apples.

Industrially, it’s produced synthetically without animal-derived precursors and is considered vegan by the VRG.5,13

You’re proably noticing a trend. The vegan flavors contain the original ingredients plus a few dried/powdered plant foods. You can’t go wrong with that. Also, we’ve yet to come across honey which is a common ingredient in crackers and one that’s usually considered non-vegan.

Avocado, Cilantro, and Lime

Ingredients for these include:14

  • Whole Grain Wheat
  • Canola Oil
  • Sea Salt, Sugar
  • Tomato Powder, Onion Powder
  • Distilled Vinegar Powder
  • Lime Juice Powder
  • Dried Parsley
  • Dried Jalapeno Peppers, Dried Red Bell Pepper
  • Natural Flavor (Contains Celery)

No problems here.

Non-Vegan Flavors

Smoked Gouda

These contain the usual ingredients along with several milk products and dairy derivatives.

Specifically, the ingredients include:15

  • Whole Grain Wheat
  • Canola Oil
  • Sea Salt, Salt, Sugar
  • Buttermilk
  • Rice Starch
  • Cheddar Cheese Powder (Cultured Milk, Enzymes, Salt)
  • Natural Flavor (Including Smoke Flavor)
  • Gouda Cheese Powder (Cultured Milk, Salt, Enzymes)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Non-Fat Milk
  • Malted Barley Flour

As you can see, there are several milk products. The food production industry separates out the various components of milk for use in processed foods. Milk has a number of compounds (mostly fats and proteins) that impart useful properties.

In this case, the buttermilk and cheese powders contain cultures that give the crackers a tangy cheese-like flavor profile. The proteins in the non-fat milk improve texture and mouthfeel (among other functions).

Four Cheese and Herb

These contain:16

  • Whole Grain Wheat
  • Canola Oil
  • Maltodextrin
  • Salt, Sugar
  • Whey Protein*
  • Natural Flavor (contains Mustard)
  • Monterey Jack Cheese Powder (Cultured Milk, Salt, Enzymes)
  • Tomato Powder
  • Romano Cheese Powder (cultured Milk, Salt, Enzymes)
  • Dried Parsley
  • Cultured Cream (Cultured Milk, Salt)
  • Dried Distilled White Vinegar
  • Parmesan Cheese Powder (Cultured Milk, Salt, Enzymes)
  • Onion Powder
  • Cheddar Cheese (Cultured Milk, Salt, Enzymes)
  • Spices
  • Nonfat Milk

As you can see, there are more milk products in this flavor that you can shake a stick at.

But, what could you expect with a name like Four Cheese.

*Whey is a dairy protein. It’s the second most abundant protein in cow’s milk. With an ambiguous sounding name like “whey” (as opposed to something like “milk protein concentrate”), it’s not always obvious to vegans that it’s dairy-derived.

It’s pretty ubiquitous in processed foods so it renders a lot of snack foods non-vegan.

Romano Cheese and Honey

Interesting combination.

These contain:17

  • Whole Grain Wheat
  • Canola Oil
  • Brown Sugar
  • Salt, Sugar
  • Maltodextrin
  • Enzyme Modified Romano Cheese Powder (from Cow’s Milk)
  • Enzyme Modified Parmesan Cheese Powder (Pasteurized Milk, Cultures, Salt, Enzymes)
  • Distilled White Vinegar
  • Honey Powder
  • Natural Flavor
  • Whey Protein

These are sometimes just referred to as Romano Cheese (without honey in the description).

Some vegans would not object to the presence of honey in the mix, but insect-derived ingredients are largely considered off-limits for vegans.

Either way, this variety contains cheese, so it would be rendered unsuitable for 100% plant-based eaters regardless.

That’s it for the vegan status of Triscuits. I’m sure I left out some flavors, as they’re constantly adding new and limited time only flavors. But, this will give you an idea of what to look out for: dairy derivatives and honey.

Thanks for reading.

You may also want to check out the following related articles:

References

  1. Nabisco Triscuit Original Crackers Family Size, 12.5 Oz. https://www.walmart.com/ip/Nabisco-Triscuit-Original-Crackers-Family-Size-12-5-Oz/339347453
  2. Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butylated_hydroxytoluene
  3. Yehye, Wageeh A., et al. (2015). “Understanding the chemistry behind the antioxidant activities of butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT): A review”. European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. 101: 295–312. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S022352341530101X?via%3Dihub
  4. Helmut Fiege, et al. “Phenol Derivatives” in Ullmann’s Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry, Wiley-VCH, Weinheim, 2002. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/14356007.a19_313
  5. Vegetarian Journal’s Guide To Food Ingredients. https://www.vrg.org/ingredients/
  6. Product Detail: Cracked Pepper and Olive Oil. https://www.snackworks.com/products/product-detail?product=44000050993
  7. Product Detail: Hint of Sea Salt. https://www.snackworks.com/products/product-detail?product=44000051006
  8. Product Detail: Rosemary and Olive. https://www.snackworks.com/products/product-detail?product=44000051013
  9. Product Detail: Roasted Garlic. https://www.snackworks.com/products/product-detail?product=44000051365
  10. Understanding Food: Principles and Preparation (Page 420). Amy Brown – Wadsworth Cengage Learning – 2011. ISBN-10: 0-538-73498-1
  11. Product Detail: Dill, Sea Salt, and Olive Oil. https://www.snackworks.com/products/product-detail.aspx?product=44000051334
  12. Product Detail: Fire Roasted Tomato. https://www.snackworks.com/products/product-detail?product=44000051341
  13. Malic Acid. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malic_acid#Production_and_main_reactions
  14. Triscuit Nabisco Crackers Avocado, Cilantro & Lime (8.5 Oz) from Kroger. https://www.instacart.com/kroger/products/18168053-triscuit-crackers-avocado-cilantro-lime-8-5-oz
  15. Product Detail: Gouda. https://www.snackworks.com/products/product-detail?product=44000051358
  16. Triscuit Crackers, Four Cheese & Herb (8.5 Oz) from Giant Food.  https://www.instacart.com/giant/products/18168058-triscuit-crackers-four-cheese-herb-8-5-oz
  17. Romano Cheese and Honey. https://www.fooducate.com/product/Nabisco-Triscuit-Crackers-Romano-Cheese-And-Honey/5ABA9F43-4996-4AFA-49B9-A3848F5D99B9

Drew Davis

Hi! I'm Drew and this is the place where I nerd out about vegan and plant-based diets. I have a BS in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Alabama and have taken dozens of classes in areas like organic and biochemistry, food science, medical nutrition therapy, nutritional genomics, and vegetarian diets. I'm still learning every day, and on this blog, I'll be sharing everything I discover about vegan diets as I go.

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