Is Chex Mix Vegan? (Here’s Why It Depends)

chex mix

Chex Mix is a time-tested party snack everyone loves. It’s available in most convenient stores, gas stations, and even online platforms such as Walmart, Amazon, and Target.

According to chexmix.com, there are multiple flavors and variations, including:

  • Traditional
  • Cheddar
  • Bold
  • Max’d Buffalo Ranch
  • Max’d Spicy Dill
  • Honey BBQ
  • Sour Cream & Onion
  • Turtle
  • Trail Mix
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Jalapeño Cheddar
  • Hot & Spicy
  • Ghost Pepper
  • Honey Nut

Out of all the various Chex Mix flavors, the majority contain animal ingredients, but there are one or two exceptions. Let’s first take a glance at the non-vegan ingredients in Chex Mix.

Non-Vegan Ingredients in Chex Mix

chex mix

Chex Mix contains animal-based ingredients. The majority of the flavors contain derivatives of milk, but you also have two flavors that contain honey: Honey BBQ, and Honey Nut.

Here are the ingredients present in the “Bold” Chex Mix:

Ingredients: Whole Wheat, Degermed Yellow Corn Meal, Enriched Flour, Vegetable Oil, Sugar, Rye Flour, Monosodium Glutamate, Salt, Maltodextrin, Garlic Powder, Corn Syrup Solids, Yeast, Whey, Spices, Distilled Monoglycerides, Sodium Diacetate, Baking Soda, Onion Powder, Dried Romano Cheese (made from cow’s milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzymes), Dried Parmesan Cheese (milk, cultures, salt, enzymes), Molasses Powder, Yellow Corn Flour, Trisodium Phosphate, Disodium Inosinate, Disodium Guanylate, Calcium Carbonate, Disodium Phosphate, Natural Flavor, Soy Flour, Caramel Color, Barley Malt Syrup, Fumaric Acid, and Caraway.

A quick glance at the package, anyone would think this flavor would be vegan given the garlic and onion pictures on the cover. However, that just shows that some brands rely heavily on animal-based ingredients even for flavors that could potentially go without it.

That demands the question, which flavors are actually vegan?

Which Chex Mix Flavors Are Actually Vegan?

Among the 14 different flavors available, there are two flavors that can be considered vegan: Traditional Chex Mix and Ghost Pepper Chex Mix.

These are the ingredients in the Traditional Chex Mix:

Ingredients: Whole Wheat, Degermed Yellow Corn Meal, Enriched Flour (wheat flour, niacin, iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), Vegetable Oil (soybean, rice bran and/or canola), Sugar, Rye Flour, Salt, Maltodextrin, Yeast, Spices, Color Added, Dextrose, Distilled Monoglycerides, Baking Soda, Yellow Corn Flour, Trisodium Phosphate, Calcium Carbonate, Autolyzed Yeast, Dried Onion, Dried Garlic, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Barley Malt Syrup, Fumaric Acid, Citric Acid, Caraway, Disodium Inosinate, Disodium Guanylate, Natural Flavor, and Sodium Diacetate.

And these are ingredients in the Ghost Pepper Mix:

Ingredients: Whole Wheat, Degermed Yellow Corn Meal, Enriched Flour (wheat flour, niacin, iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), Vegetable Oil (soybean, canola and/or rice bran), Sugar, Rye Flour, Salt, Spices, Maltodextrin, Dextrose, Dried Garlic, Yeast, Yeast Extract, Dried Onion, Paprika Extract (color), Distilled Monoglycerides, Baking Soda, Yellow Corn Flour, Trisodium Phosphate, Calcium Carbonate, Citric Acid, Natural Flavor, Caramel Color, Barley Malt Syrup, Fumaric Acid, Caraway, and Sodium Diacetate.

Above I’ve bolded ingredients that may be considered questionable. In other words, these ingredients may not be vegan depending on one or more factors such as:

  1. Actual Source
  2. Refining process
  3. Direct or indirect impact on animal suffering

Generally, these ingredients include refined sugar, natural flavors, artificial flavors, and artificial colors. Mind you, not every vegan avoids questionable ingredients.

In fact, most vegans are fine with consuming such ingredients without further questioning because, in most cases, they’re either sourced from plants or are man-made.

This being said, if we make an effort to dive a bit deeper, sometimes that’s not the case.

Should Vegans Avoid Questionable Ingredients?

It all comes down to each individual’s definition of veganism. What I find is that there are vegans that are more tolerant than others, and vice-versa. However, for those that are against these “questionable” ingredients, there are powerful reasons fueling that belief.

Unfortunately, Chex Mix contains some of those ingredients:

Refined sugar: Depending on the type of sugar and how it’s refined, sugar may or not be vegan. In the United States, the use of bone char to filter and bleach sugar is quite common. Bone char is essentially obtained by carbonizing the bones of cattle. It’s what enables sugar to have such a white, and immaculate color. Read more on that here.

Natural flavors: The issue with natural flavors is a tad more complicated. Natural flavors can be derived from both plant and animal sources. You have the word “natural flavors” on a label, but you don’t have any idea what that represents. In most cases, this source is plant-based, but there is always a chance you may have animal derivatives in the mix. Feel free to read on it here.

Artificial flavors and colors: It’s true that anything artificial is man-made and it’s not derived from nature. Meaning, it’s not from an animal source. However, artificial ingredients are a byproduct of intense animal testing (in most cases), and therefore stricter vegans don’t agree with its consumption. Besides, it doesn’t seem to be a one & done deal when it comes to colors. In 2017 and 2018, animal tests were made to guarantee the safety of red #40, an artificial color.

For these reasons and more, questionable ingredients such as these sit on a “gray” area, where they still warrant debates within the vegan community.

Should you stop consuming these ingredients? Well, it all comes down to your own personal view of the matter. In my opinion, you’re not less of a vegan for consuming such ingredients.

However, you’re also bound to find people that digress.

Are There Any Better Alternatives

Although I haven’t found an equal alternative to Chex Mix, I’ve found some similar options that are healthier and 100% suitable for vegans:

Feel free to try ’em out!

Summary: Most Chex Mix Are Not Vegan

Yes, among the 14 Chex Mix flavors, only two flavors are considered vegan: Traditional Chex Mix and Ghost Pepper Chex Mix. However, if you’re a more stringent vegan, let me mention that both these products contain ingredients such as sugar, natural flavors, and artificial flavors & colors.

Ingredients that you may not be in alignment with due to the reasons I’ve mentioned earlier.

In any case, feel free to try some of the healthier alternatives I’ve suggested, as they’re 100% vegan as far as the information provided by the respective manufacturers goes.

I hope this blog post has served you somehow, and thank you for reading!

About the Author: Alexandre Valente

Hey there! My name is Alex and I've been vegan for more than three years! I've set up this blog because I'm really passionate about veganism and living a more eco-conscious life. Hopefully, I can use this website as a channel to help you out on your own journey!