Are Goldfish Vegan?

As you look around your local supermarket, you’re likely to find a litany of items old and new trying to capitalize on the plant-based craze. This, of course, makes perfect sense, and we wouldn’t expect anything to the contrary.

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Vegan foods are big business right now, with more companies getting in on the action in an effort to get their piece of the proverbial pie. From snacks to crackers and everything in-between, there’s appears to be no shortage of vegan-friendly alternatives to your favorite foods.

This got us wondering; are Goldfish vegan? The classic cracker is a beloved snack that everyone seems to enjoy. Hopefully, you can add them to your vegan diet without issue.

There’s only one way to find out, so join us as we share our in-depth research on Goldfish crackers to determine if they are indeed vegan-friendly.

What Are Goldfish?

Not the species of fish, Goldfish are the cute little cracker snacks that are shaped like fish but taste similar to Cheez-Its. Goldfish crackers are made by Pepperidge Farm, a branch of the Campbell Soup Company.

The snack was first introduced back in 1958 and continues to be a big seller for Campbell to this day. Over the years, Goldfish have seen a wide variety of flavors, ranging from Original to Strawberry Shortcake.

Take a moment to check out the many varieties of Goldfish that have graced store shelves.

  • Baby (Miniature crackers)
  • X-Treme Zingy Chili Lime
  • X-treme Screamin’ Hot
  • Sour Cream and Onion
  • Whole Grain Cheddar
  • Whole Grain pretzel
  • Blasted Atomic BBQ
  • Salt and Vinegar
  • Frank’s RedHot
  • White Cheddar
  • Fudge Brownie
  • Mac & Cheese
  • Cheeseburger
  • Xplosive Pizza
  • Xtra Cheddar
  • Queso Fiesta
  • Cheese Trio
  • Parmesan
  • Rainbow
  • Cheddar
  • Cupcake
  • Original
  • Sesame
  • Pretzel
  • Nacho
  • Ranch
  • Pizza
  • BBQ

There are also selections of Goldfish that have their own unique series of flavors. Grahams, for example, come in the following flavors:

  • Strawberry Shortcake
  • Cookies ‘n Cream
  • Vanilla Cupcake
  • Chocolate Chip
  • French Toast
  • Honey Bun
  • Hot Cocoa
  • Cinnamon
  • Chocolate
  • S’mores
  • Vanilla
  • Honey

Mix is another such selection that has a few unique flavors to choose from, including:

  • Pretzel and Honey Mustard
  • Pretzel and Xtra Cheddar
  • Chocolate Mint Pretzel

And lastly, the Puffs selection comes in:

  • Twisted Grilled Cheese
  • Sizzlin’ Hot Wings
  • Salsa Con Queso
  • Cheddar Bacon
  • Mega Cheese
  • Buffalo Wing
  • BBQ

Surely with so many selections and flavors, Goldfish crackers have to be vegan, right? Let’s continue our discussion to find out.

So, Are Goldfish Vegan?

To our dismay, all Goldfish crackers contain a single ingredient that disqualifies them from being vegan: dairy. Yes, there’s a milk derivative in all Goldfish. This is unfortunate, as everything else in Goldfish is plant-based and 100% vegan-friendly.

Let’s look at what’s included in the ingredients of some of Goldfish’s most popular flavors to give you a better idea of what we’re talking about.

Original

The one that started it all, Original’s ingredients are as follows:

  • Monocalcium phosphate
  • Enriched wheat flour
  • Onion powder
  • Vegetable oils
  • Nonfat milk
  • Baking soda
  • Paprika
  • Celery
  • Spices
  • Sugar
  • Yeast
  • Salt

Unfortunately, the nonfat milk places Original Goldfish crackers in the non-vegan category.

Cheddar

Cheddar is a very popular flavor for Goldfish, with ingredients that include:

  • Cheddar cheese (contains cultured milk, salt, and enzymes)
  • Monocalcium phosphate
  • Autolyzed yeast extract
  • Enriched wheat flour
  • Onion powder
  • Vegetable oils
  • Baking Soda
  • Paprika
  • Celery
  • Spices
  • Sugar
  • Yeast
  • Salt

Being made with cheddar cheese, you know it’s a milk product and thus disqualifies it as a vegan-friendly food.

Pizza

Pizza could technically go either way. But let’s see what its ingredients consist of.

  • Cheddar cheese (contains cultured milk, salt, and enzymes)
  • Monocalcium phosphate
  • Enriched wheat flour
  • Paprika extract
  • Onion powder
  • Vegetable oils
  • Tomato paste
  • Baking soda
  • Celery
  • Spices
  • Yeast
  • Salt

With cheese in the ingredients, Pizza sadly becomes non-vegan. Plus, on the front of the package are the words “100% Real Cheese.”

Pretzel

Since many pretzels are vegan, we were hopeful that this flavor would pass the test. But what do its ingredients have to say on the matter?

  • Enriched wheat flour
  • Malted barley flour
  • Baking powder
  • Vegetable oils
  • Nonfat milk
  • Dextrose
  • Salt

Nonfat milk, yet again. Bummer. OK, we have one more popular Goldfish flavor to consider.

Parmesan

The name alone should serve as an immediate red flag, but let’s examine the ingredients just to be sure.

  • Parmesan cheese (contains milk, salt, cultures, and enzymes)
  • Autolyzed yeast extract
  • Enriched wheat flour
  • Onion powder
  • Vegetable oils
  • Baking soda
  • Butter
  • Sugar
  • Yeast
  • Salt

Right off the bat, parmesan stands out as a disqualifier. And if you look further down the list, you can see that butter makes this flavor non-vegan, as well.

It appears that Goldfish are off the table for vegans, right? Well, not so fast. Just a couple of years ago, Campbell released two new flavors in its Goldfish line: Veggie Cheesy Tomato and Veggie Sweet Carrot.

The “Veggie” part is what stands out to many vegans, hopeful that they finally have a plant-based alternative. Sadly, though, we looked into the ingredients of both flavors and discovered that they still contain nonfat milk.

So once again, vegans are left out in the cold on this brand. If you really want to try Goldfish crackers, we found alternatives that truly are vegan. Mustache Munchies is one such brand. But instead of goldfish-shaped crackers, you get mustache-shaped crackers.

And with flavors like “Cheddarish,” you can get your Goldfish fix without affecting your vegan diet. Mustache Munchies cost about three times the price of Goldfish, but that is often the case with vegan alternatives.

Are Goldfish a Good Choice for Vegans?

Not at all, unfortunately. Goldfish crackers — even their Veggie selections — contain milk products that keep them from being vegan. This is a shame, too, as the rest of the ingredients in most flavors are perfectly vegan.

Oh, well. At least you have some vegan options if you want the Goldfish experience without the animal products. If you want to learn more about what’s vegan and what’s not, be sure to head on over to our vegan info page.

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