Is Skinny Pop Vegan? (Complete List of Vegan Flavors)


Is skinnypop vegan? Is skinny pop vegan?

Skinny Pop, stylized as SkinnyPop, is a brand of snack foods that manufactures and sells popcorn and popcorn-like products. Owned by Hershey Co., the products sell internationally.1 So, I get asked by vegans from all over if the tasty snack food is suitable for 100% plant-based eaters.

Is it vegan? Yes, SkinnyPop is vegan. In fact, all products on offer by the brand, including the cheese flavored snacks, are 100% vegan-friendly.

A lot of folks wonder if popcorn, in general, is vegan, mostly due to its chewy texture—chewy and puffy textures are sometimes a red flag. But, that’s only true with processed foods. Popcorn is all-natural.

Poppable kernels contain a hard hull that encloses a starchy endosperm. The endosperm is about 14-20% and that water content turns to steam when heated. Pressure builds up until the hull ruptures, causing the kernel to expand to 20-50 times its original size.2

Anyway, what we’ll do here is go over the various flavors and products, exonerating each on as vegan.

Vegan SkinnyPop Flavors

Original Popcorn

The original SkinnyPop is just a natural/minimally processed form of popcorn.

In its most basic form, popcorn is just corn—a variety of corn kernel that expands and puffs up when exposed to heat.

If you’ve ever heated kernels over a fire, you know that all that’s really needed is corn and a heat source. That’s one end of the spectrum.

Then you have the minimally processed pre-popped or microwavable popcorn which is just the corn along with oil and a bit of salt.

Finally, you have the generic (non SkinnyPop) ultra-processed stale pre-popped popcorn which comes with any number of additives and toppings like caramel and that bright orange cancer powder… I mean cheese powder.

SkinnyPop original popcorn, which comes as both pre-popped popcorn and microwave popcorn, falls in the minimally processed part of the spectrum.

The former (pre-popped) and latter (microwave) were launched in 2010 and 2017, respectively.3,4

Anyway, SkinnyPop original simply contains popcorn, sunflower oil, and salt.5

That’s it.

Sweet and Salty Kettle Popcorn

Kettle corn is usually just the standard popcorn recipe with a bit of sugar. It’s a great snack to get your sweet and salty fix.

Sure enough, SkinnyPop Kettle Corn contains all-natural popcorn, sunflower oil, evaporated cane juice, and Salt.6

Sea Salt & Pepper Popcorn

This one is like the original but with pepper. It only contains popcorn, sunflower oil, sea salt, and black pepper.7

Mini Cakes: Sea Salt

Since its inception, SkinnyPop has now expanded to offer other popcorn-based snacks like puffs and cakes.8,9

This one contains the same ingredients as the original product: popcorn, sunflower oil, and sea salt.10

Mini Cakes: Cinnamon and Sugar

This version contains popcorn, cane sugar, sunflower oil, cinnamon, and sea salt.11

Another good sweet and salty variety.

White Cheddar Popcorn

Don’t let the name fool you.

Ingredients for this one include:12

  • Popcorn
  • Sunflower oil
  • Natural Non-Dairy Cheddar Flavor
  • Salt
  • Rice Flour
  • Natural Flavor
  • Lactic Acid

Keep in mind that lactic acid, or LA, is not the same as lactose—though, lactose can be converted to LA.

Lactose is always milk-derived, but LA tends to be produced via microbial fermentation by LA-producing bacteria.

If the bacteria are cultivated on dairy-derived simple sugars (galactose), then the LA would be rendered non-vegan. However, LA is very commonly produced via bacteria cultivated on galactose from plant-based sources (e.g. beets and other vegetables).

For this reason, the ingredient is largely considered to be suitable for vegan consumption.

Also, it’s worth noting that, in making this particular product, manufacturers went out of their way to use non-dairy cheese flavoring. For this reason, it’s likely that the LA is also derived from vegan sources.

Mini Cake: Sharp Cheddar

This product contains:13

  • Popcorn
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Rice Flour
  • Sea Salt
  • Natural Non-Dairy Cheddar Flavor
  • Lactic Acid
  • Paprika Extract

Mini Cake: White Cheddar

Ingredients include:14

  • Popcorn
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Rice Flour
  • Sea Salt
  • Natural Non-Dairy Cheddar Flavor
  • Lactic Acid

If you’re like me, you might be wondering how the mini cakes were made with largely the exact same ingredients as the regular popcorn.

It’s not obvious that a binder of some kind wouldn’t be needed—which often spells trouble for vegans.

For example, popcorn balls are another popular snack food made up of popcorn cake-like structures. However, with popcorn balls, corn syrup and often butter are used as binders to help the kernels stick together.15

However, starchy plant matter, like that of the endosperm of poppable kernels, does pretty good serving as its own binder.

That’s it for the vegan status of SkinnyPop. Thanks for reading.

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

References

  1. Skinny Pop. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SkinnyPop
  2. Learn How Popcorn Pops. Anne Helmenstine – https://www.thoughtco.com/how-does-popcorn-pop-607429
  3. Business Is Popping For Healthier Snack. Melissa Harris – http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-02-08/business/ct-biz-0209-confidential-skinnypop-20120204_1_grocery-stores-garrett-popcorn-bags
  4. Skinnypop Tries Its Halo on Microwave Popcorn. Jessica Wohl – http://adage.com/article/print-edition/skinnypop-halo-microwave-popcorn/308038/
  5. Skinnypop Popcorn, Skinny Pack, Original, 6 Bags, 0.65 Oz Each, Gluten-free Popcorn, Non-GMO, No Artificial Ingredients, Healthy Snack. Nina-Kenny Bonz- Gramma- Susan- Shawna – https://www.walmart.com/ip/SkinnyPop-Popcorn-Skinny-Pack-Original-6-bags-0-65-Oz-each-Gluten-Free-Popcorn-Non-GMO-No-Artificial-Ingredients-Healthy-Snack/38453298
  6. Skinny Pop Sweet and Salty Kettle Popcorn, 5.3 Oz, (pack Of 12). Yossam- Andie – https://www.walmart.com/ip/Skinny-Pop-Sweet-and-Salty-Kettle-Popcorn-5-3-oz-Pack-of-12/36483182
  7. Skinny Pop Sea Salt & Pepper Popcorn, 4.4 Oz (pack Of 12). Licia – https://www.walmart.com/ip/Skinny-Pop-Sea-Salt-Pepper-Popcorn-4-4-oz-Pack-of-12/37182446
  8. Sweet and Salty! Hershey Buys Skinnypop Maker. Candy king Hershey is buying Amplify Snack Brands – http://money.cnn.com/2017/12/18/investing/hershey-skinnypop-amplify-snack-brands/index.html
  9. Amplify C.E.O. Expects Rebound in Ready-to-Eat Popcorn. https://www.foodbusinessnews.net/articles/9741-amplify-c-e-o-expects-rebound-in-ready-to-eat-popcorn
  10. Skinny Pop Popcorn Mini Cak Sea Salt,5 Oz (pack Of 12). Judi – https://www.walmart.com/ip/Skinny-Pop-Popcorn-Mini-Cak-Sea-Salt-5-Oz-Pack-Of-12/781363832
  11. Skinny Pop Popcorn Mini Cake Cinnamon Sgr,5 Oz (pack Of 12) https://www.walmart.com/ip/Skinny-Pop-Popcorn-Mini-Cak-Cinn-Sgr-5-Oz-Pack-Of-12/331522273
  12. Skinnypop Popcorn, Skinny Pack, White Cheddar, 6 Bags, 0.65 Oz Each, Gluten-free Popcorn, Non-gmo, No Artificial Ingredients, Healthy Snack. Simon – https://www.walmart.com/ip/SkinnyPop-Popcorn-Skinny-Pack-White-Cheddar-6-bags-0-65-Oz-each-Gluten-Free-Popcorn-Non-GMO-No-Artificial-Ingredients-Healthy-Snack/152525180
  13. Skinny Pop Popcorn Mini Cak Sharp Cheddar,5 Oz (pack Of 12). https://www.walmart.com/ip/Skinny-Pop-Popcorn-Mini-Cak-Shp-Chdr-5-Oz-Pack-Of-12/528868296
  14. Skinny Pop Popcorn Cake Lg 3 Cheese,4.7 Oz (pack Of 12). https://www.walmart.com/ip/Skinny-Pop-Popcorn-Cake-Lg-3-Cheese-4-7-Oz-Pack-Of-12/853080230
  15. Understanding Food: Principles and Preparation (Page 519). Amy Brown – Wadsworth Cengage Learning – 2011

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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