Trying to work out whether Barnum’s Animals Crackers are safe for vegans to consume can be challenging.
Animal crackers and cookies often have many ingredients and most brands contain eggs, dairy, and the ever vague “natural flavors.”
To make sure that you are only eating food that aligns with your vegan diet and lifestyle, I’ve looked into the ingredients and production process of Barnum’s Animals Crackers.
Here’s what I found.
Are Barnum’s Animal Crackers Vegan?
Sadly, no. Barnum’s Animals Crackers are not vegan.
Even though these animal crackers don’t contain any animal-derived ingredients, they contain sugar that is probably processed using animal bone char.
Bone char is made from the bones of cattle and is used to refine sugar and make it white. While some companies have stopped using bone char in their sugar production process, it is still used by many, perhaps including the company that produces Barnum’s Animals Crackers, Nabisco, and its parent company, Mondelez International.
Unless the sugar in the product is explicitly labeled as “organic,” “raw,” or “unrefined,” there is a high chance that it has been filtered using bone char.
As such, Barnum’s Animals Crackers are not vegan.
Are Barnum’s Animal Crackers Cruelty-Free?
Yes! Barnum’s Animals Crackers are a cruelty-free product.
The company that makes these animal crackers does not test its products on animals and does not use any ingredients tested on caged animals, like artificial colors.
Animal testing is a cruel and unnecessary practice that should be stopped. I’m glad to see that the company that makes Barnum’s Animals Crackers does not support animal testing in any way.
Furthermore, Nabisco finally agreed to remove the depiction of caged animals from their animal crackers box, after animal rights activists lobbied for them to do so.
So, while these animal crackers are not vegan, they are cruelty-free. You can enjoy these delicious crackers without worrying about contributing to animal suffering.
What Are Barnum’s Animal Crackers Made Of?
Here are the ingredients of Barnum’s Animals Crackers:
- Unbleached enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate (Vitamin B1), riboflavin [Vitamin B2], folic acid)
- Soybean and/or canola oil
- Yellow corn flour
- Calcium carbonate (source of calcium)
- Baking soda
- Soy lecithin
- Natural flavor
- Artificial flavor
Let’s break down each ingredient of Barnum’s Animals Crackers:
Unbleached enriched flour
Unbleached enriched flour is used for most crackers. Enriched flour is milled from wheat kernels that have had the bran and germ layers removed. The remaining endosperm is then enriched with vitamins and minerals.
Wheat flour is used for most crackers. Wheat flour is a powder made from the grinding of wheat endosperm. It contains gluten and provides structure, texture, and flavor to baked goods. Organic wheat flour can be used as a substitute for all-purpose flour in many recipes. This is a vegan ingredient.
Niacin is a water-soluble vitamin that is part of the B-vitamin family. Niacin helps the body convert food into energy. Niacin is a vegan ingredient.
Iron is a mineral that is essential for the production of hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to cells throughout the body. Reduced iron is a form of iron that has been treated to make it easier for the body to absorb. Iron is vegan.
Thiamine mononitrate (Vitamin B1)
Thiamine mononitrate is used for most crackers. It is a water-soluble vitamin and part of the B-vitamin family. Thiamine helps the body convert food into energy and is necessary for the proper functioning of the nervous system. Thiamine mononitrate is vegan.
Riboflavin (Vitamin B12)
Riboflavin is used for most crackers. This vitamin helps the body convert food into energy and is necessary for proper cell function. Riboflavin is vegan.
Folic acid contains folate, a water-soluble vitamin that is part of the B-vitamin family. Folic acid helps the body convert food into energy and is necessary for proper cell function. Folic acid is vegan.
Sugar is a sweet, crystalline substance that is used to add flavor and sweetness to food. Sugar is made from sugar cane or sugar beets and is often processed using bone char, a charcoal made from the bones of animals. This makes it not safe for vegan consumption.
Soybean and/or canola oil
Soybean and/or canola oil is used for most crackers. Soybean oil is a vegetable oil extracted from soybeans. Canola oil is a vegetable oil extracted from the rapeseed plant. Both soybean and canola oils are vegan ingredients.
Yellow corn flour
Corn flour is a powder made from the grinding of corn kernels. It is a vegan ingredient.
Dextrose is a sugar that is made from corn and is often used as a sweetener in food. Dextrose is a vegan ingredient.
Fructose contains sugar and is often used as a sweetener in food. Fructose is made from corn and is a vegan-friendly ingredient.
Unlike other animal crackers that use high fructose corn syrup as an ingredient, Barnum’s Animals Crackers only has fructose as an ingredient, which makes them “a little bit healthier.”
Calcium carbonate (source of calcium)
Calcium carbonate is a mineral that is found in rocks and bones. Calcium carbonate is a vegan ingredient.
Baking soda is a leavening agent that helps baked goods like animal crackers rise. Baking soda is a vegan ingredient.
Soy lecithin is a fat derived from soybeans. Soy lecithin is a vegan ingredient.
Salt is a mineral that is essential for the body’s electrolyte balance. Salt is a vegan ingredient.
“Natural flavor” can describe a variety of flavors, including fruit, spice, herb flavors, and animal-derived flavors. Natural flavor can be either vegan or non-vegan ingredients depending on the source of the flavor. Nabisco did not disclose the source of the natural flavor in Barnum’s Animals Crackers, so it’s safer to assume that it is not vegan.
Artificial flavor is a term that can be used to describe a variety of flavors, including fruit, spice, herb flavors, and animal-derived flavors. Artificial flavor is vegan because it is not derived from an animal source.
Why Aren’t Barnum’s Animal Crackers Vegan?
Barnum’s Animals Crackers aren’t vegan because they contain sugar. Sugar is often processed using bone char to make it whiter. Bone char is charcoal made from the bones of animals.
Not all sugar is processed using bone char, but unless the sugar in the package is clearly labeled “organic,” “raw,” or “unrefined,” it’s best to assume that it isn’t vegan.
Other than sugar and natural flavors, all of the ingredients in Barnum’s Animals Crackers are vegan friendly.
Are Mondelēz Ritz Crackers Vegan?
No. Ritz Crackers are not vegan because they contain refined sugar. Additionally, some products contain milk, which is definitely not vegan.
This cracker is not a vegan-friendly product.
Are Mondelēz Triscuit Crackers Vegan?
Yes and no. It depends on the flavor. Some contain sugar, cheese, and milk products, while some don’t. Some products, like pepper and olive oil crackers, do not contain any animal products or by-products.
This cracker can be a vegan or non-vegan product depending on the flavor.
Are Mondelēz Honey Maid Crackers Vegan?
No. Honey Maid Crackers are not vegan because as the name suggests, they contain honey. In addition, they also contain sugar that may have been processed with animal bone char.
This cracker is not a vegan-friendly product.
Are Mondelēz Premium Crackers Vegan?
Yes. Premium crackers are vegan products. They do not contain any animal products or by-products. However, they do contain palm oil, which some vegans may have ethical concerns about.
This cracker is a mostly vegan-friendly product.
Are Mondelēz Stoned Wheat Thins Crackers Vegan?
No. Stoned Wheat Thins Crackers are not vegan. They contain refined sugar and milk products.
This cracker is not a vegan-friendly product.
Are Glutino Animal Crackers Vegan?
No! The Glutino Gluten-Free Animal Crackers are not vegan. These animal crackers have egg whites.
This animal cracker is not safe for vegans to consume.
What About Other Brands of Animal Crackers?
Other brands of animal crackers are not vegan. Many brands of animal crackers use honey, refined sugar, and milk products in their animal crackers.
Stauffer’s Iced Animal Crackers are the only frosted animal crackers that, like Barnum’s, are close to being vegan. If not for the sugar, they would’ve made the cut.
There are other classic animal crackers that are vegan friendly, and a good example is Trader Joe’s organic animal crackers. Trader Joe’s animal crackers contain organic brown rice syrup, organic lemon flavor, organic cane sugar, and other vegan ingredients.
Vegan-Friendly Animal Cracker Recipes
If you’re in the mood for a classic animal cracker that’s actually vegan, your best bet is to make your own at home, especially if you aren’t lucky enough to be near a Trader Joe’s. With a few simple ingredients, you can make delicious and vegan-friendly animal crackers. Here are some of my favorite recipes for animal crackers:
- Homemade Vegan Animal Crackers by Fork and Beans
- Vegan Mother’s Bunny Cookies by Vegan Dollhouse
- Vegan Animal Crackers by The Herban Farmacy
- Vegan Banana Bread Animal Crackers by Healthful Pursuit
As many vegans eat animal crackers, these recipes are the best way to get your fix without contributing to animal cruelty.
So, there you have it! Barnum’s Animals Crackers are not vegan because of their sugar content. These animal crackers are almost vegan because they don’t have eggs, milk, or honey, like most crackers on the market. However, sugar is a deal-breaker for vegans.
If you want to eat vegan animal crackers, the best way is to make your own at home using one of the recipes above. With a little bit of time and effort, you can make your own vegan version of Barnum’s Animals Crackers.