The short answer to the great debate of whether Doritos are vegan is no, they are not. Find out in the rest of the blog post why they are not.
If your goal is to live a fully vegan lifestyle, you may be wondering whether the Doritos that you’re buying are actually vegan. It might seem like an innocuous question, but the answer is surprisingly nuanced.
All of the regular flavors of Doritos are vegetarian-friendly,” including Nacho Cheese, Cool Ranch, and Fire Roasted Jalapeño – which are all made with vegetable oil instead of animal fat. But the chips themselves are not vegan, even though all of the ingredients have been changed. So if you’re concerned about animal suffering, you’d be better off sticking to a different brand of chips.
For one thing, it’s difficult to determine which ingredients are animal-derived. The cheese flavor contains gelatin derived from animal sources (mostly bone). “The vegetable oil used for Cool Ranch is typically sourced from corn and/or soy,” says Consumer Reports . “Although these ingredients are vegan, the oil could be processed on equipment that also processes animal products.”
For example, any of Frito-Lay’s peanuts may have come in contact with dairy during processing. Then again, maybe not. “The FDA does not require companies to list the sources of ingredients on a label,” PETA points out. “The facility producing chips can also be manufacturing other products containing animal ingredients.”
To be sure, you need to do your research and contact the company directly for a conclusive answer. But you’re probably better off just going for something that’s designed to be animal-free from the start.
And then there’s the matter of which animals die for our Doritos. Cool Ranch and Nacho Cheese use real cheese made from cow’s milk. But the Fire Roasted Jalapeño flavor is wholly vegan, and its oil comes from a palm tree. “The oil for the Fire Roasted Jalapeño flavor is produced from a non-GMO version of the fruit, called Palmyra Olives,” says Consumer Reports. In fact, it’s the only Doritos flavor that is vegan.
That brings us to the question of whether non-vegan-approved ingredients are used in making Doritos. Some flavors do contain high fructose corn syrup, which is made from genetically modified corn. This has led some people to call these chips “Frankenchips.” But Consumer Reports explains that this ingredient is used to prevent the oils from separating over time and helps maintain their crispness.
In a nutshell: “All Doritos are not created equally,” says Gary Reineccius, an associate professor of food science at the University of Arizona who has studied genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in foods. “A recent study found that none of six popular types of Doritos chips tested actually had any GMO content.” The question is pretty simple: Are Doritos vegan? The answer depends.
If you’re a vegan who wants to avoid animal products and GMO foods, the types of Doritos that are the most likely to meet your criteria are Cool Ranch and Nacho Cheese, which use no animal products.
If you’re really concerned about GMOs (and feel free to skip this paragraph if you’re not), “the most common genetically modified organism (GMO) is corn,” Reineccius says. “Most of the corn supply in the U.S. has been genetically modified by introducing genes from other species, such as bacillus bacteria. Corn is a common ingredient in most snack foods, including Doritos. There is no evidence that consumers are being harmed by the introduction of these genetic modifications into foods. However, if you want to avoid GMO ingredients, you will have to read ingredient lists on food packages.”
The final question is: Are all of the Doritos vegan? The answer to this one can’t be simple because it depends on whom you ask and how they define “vegan.”