Which Lays Are Actually Vegan?

Which Lays Are Actually Vegan?

Lays has been one of the leading potato chip brands in the United States for decades, with an impressive 1.7 billion U.S. dollars worth of sales in 2017, accounting for roughly 30% of the potato chip market.

Given their popularity among consumers, it’s only natural for you to be wanting to know whether or not these potato chips are vegan.

However, as you probably suspect, the answer varies based on the specific flavor you purchase. In other words, some flavors are vegan while others may contain animal ingredients.

After carefully analyzing each flavor available on Lay’s official website, I came across a bunch of flavors that do not contain ANY animal ingredients, which include:

  • LAY’s Classic Potato Chips
  • LAY’s BBQ Potato Chips
  • LAY’s Salt & Vinegar Potato Chips
  • LAY’s Limón Potato Chips
  • LAY’s Dill Pickle Potato Chips
  • LAY’s Chesapeake Bay Crab Spice Potato Chips
  • LAY’s Lightly Salted Potato Chips
  • LAY’s Lightly Salted BBQ Potato Chips
  • LAY’s Simple Sea Salt Thick Cut Potato Chips
  • LAY’s Simply BBQ Thick Cut Potato Chips
  • LAY’s Baked Original Potato Crisps
  • LAY’s Kettle Cooked Original Potato Chips
  • LAY’s Kettle Cooked Reduced Fat Original Potato Chips
  • LAY’s Kettle Cooked Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper Potato Chips
  • LAY’s Poppables Sea Salt Potato Snacks
  • LAY’s Stax Original Potato Crisps
  • LAY’s Wavy Original Potato Chips
  • LAY’s Wavy Sea Salt & Pepper Potato Chips
  • LAY’s Wavy Reduced Fat Orignal Potato Chips
  • LAY’s Wavy Lightly Salted Potato Chips

In this article, I’m going to list the ingredients that each LAY’s potato chip contains, and I’m also going to mention some of the questionable ingredients that may be present in some of the vegan flavors, and why that may derange some vegans from purchasing certain flavors.

Vegan Lays

LAY’s Classic Potato Chips

lays originals

The Lay’s Originals contain the following ingredients:

  • Potatoes
  • Vegetable Oil (Sunflower, Corn and/or Canola Oil)
  • Salt

Like many other brands that sell plain potato chips, Lay’s Original recipe is also vegan.

LAY’s BBQ Potato Chips

lay's bbq

To my surprise, Lay’s BBQ potato chips are also vegan.

Here are the ingredients I’ve taken from LAY’s official website:

  • Potatoes
  • Vegetable Oil (Sunflower, Corn, and/or Canola Oil)
  • Sugar
  • Dextrose
  • Salt
  • Maltodextrin [Made From Corn]
  • Molasses
  • Torula Yeast
  • Onion Powder
  • Spices
  • Tomato Powder
  • Paprika
  • Natural Flavors
  • Corn Starch
  • Caramel Color
  • Yeast Extract
  • Paprika Extract
  • Garlic Powder
  • Mustard Seed Oil

As you can see, there are no animal ingredients, but let me remind you of the fact that certain ingredients are considered questionable according to some vegans. Ingredients like sugar and natural flavors are often the motive of controversy within the community, for the reasons I’ll explain later in this blog post.

LAY’s Salt & Vinegar Potato Chips

lay's salt and vinegar

The salt & vinegar flavored Lay’s contain the following ingredients:

  • Potatoes
  • Vegetable Oil (Sunflower, Corn and/or Canola Oil)
  • Maltodextrin [Made From Corn]
  • Natural Flavors
  • Salt
  • Malic Acid
  • Vinegar

LAY’s Limón Potato Chips

Lay's limon

The lemon-flavored Lay’s are made with the following ingredients:

  • Potatoes
  • Vegetable Oil (Sunflower, Corn, and/or Canola Oil)
  • Maltodextrin [Made From Corn]
  • Salt
  • Citric Acid
  • Sugar
  • Natural Flavors [Including Natural Lime Flavor]

LAY’s Dill Pickle Potato Chips

lays dill pickle

Not many dill pickle-flavored chips are vegan, but it turns out that Lay’s has managed to pull it off. Not sure if it was done accidentally, but these chips don’t have animal ingredients.

Here are the ingredients present in these Lays:

  • Potatoes
  • Vegetable Oil (Sunflower, Corn, and/or Canola Oil)
  • Maltodextrin [Made From Corn]
  • Natural Flavors
  • Salt
  • Vinegar
  • Garlic Powder
  • Yeast Extract
  • Spice Extracts [Including Dill]

LAY’s Chesapeake Bay Crab Spice Potato Chips

lays chesapeake bay crab spice

With the word “crab” in the name, I would never think that this flavor could be vegan, but apparently, this particular flavor doesn’t contain any crab, nor any other animal ingredients.

Here are the ingredients present in the recipe:

  • Potatoes
  • Vegetable Oil (Sunflower, Corn, and/or Canola Oil)
  • Spices
  • Salt
  • Maltodextrin [Made from Corn]
  • Dextrose
  • Natural Flavors
  • Sugar
  • Onion Powder
  • Citric Acid
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Yeast Extract
  • Paprika Extracts

LAY’s Lightly Salted Potato Chips

lays lightly salted classic

These are basically the original Lay’s but with 50% less sodium.

The ingredients, however, are pretty much the same:

  • Potatoes
  • Vegetable Oil (Sunflower, Corn, and/or Canola Oil)
  • Salt

LAY’s Lightly Salted BBQ Potato Chips

lays lightly salted bbq

The same can be said for these lightly salted BBQ chips, as they also contain 50% less sodium.

Here are the ingredients:

  • Potatoes
  • Vegetable Oil (Sunflower, Corn, and/or Canola Oil)
  • Sugar
  • Dextrose
  • Maltodextrin [Made From Corn]
  • Salt
  • Molasses
  • Torula Yeast
  • Onion Powder
  • Natural Flavors
  • Spices
  • Tomato Powder
  • Corn Starch
  • Caramel Color
  • Yeast Extract
  • Paprika Extract
  • Garlic Powder

LAY’s Simply Sea Salt Thick Cut Potato Chips

lays simply

With the same taste as the Original Lay’s but with a thick cut.

The Simply sea salted Lay’s contain simple ingredients:

  • Potatoes
  • Expeller-Pressed Sunflower Oil
  • Sea Salt

LAY’s Simply BBQ Thick Cut Potato Chips

simply lays bbq

Akin to the original BBQ flavored chips, the Simply BBQ Lay’s are vegan.

Here are the ingredients:

  • Potatoes
  • Expeller-Pressed Sunflower Oil
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Organic Maltodextrin (Made from Corn)
  • Organic Dextrose
  • Maltodextrin (Made from Rice)
  • Onion Powder
  • Organic Paprika
  • Organic Tomato Powder
  • Organic Molasses
  • Spices
  • Natural Flavors
  • Organic Sunflower Oil
  • Torula Yeast
  • Yeast Extract
  • Garlic Powder

LAY’s Baked Original Potato Crisps

baked original lays

Lay’s Baked crisps contain 65% less fat than regular potato chips, making them a healthier choice alternative to common potato chips.

These are the ingredients:

  • Dried Potatoes
  • Corn Starch
  • Corn Oil
  • Sugar
  • Sea Salt
  • Soy Lecithin
  • Dextrose
  • Annatto Extracts

LAY’s Kettle Cooked Original Potato Chips

original kettle cooked lays

The Original Kettle Cooked Lay’s contain the following ingredients:

  • Potatoes
  • Vegetable Oil (Corn, Canola, and/or Sunflower Oil)
  • Sea Salt

LAY’s Kettle Cooked Reduced Fat Original Potato Chips

lays kettle cooked reduced fat

The Original Kettle Cooked Lays with 40% less fat contain the following ingredients:

  • Potatoes
  • Vegetable Oil (Corn, Canola, and/or Sunflower Oil)
  • Sea Salt

LAY’s Kettle Cooked Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper Potato Chips

kettle cooked sea salt and pepper lays

The sea salt & cracked pepper flavored Kettle Cooked Lays contain the following ingredients:

  • Potatoes
  • Vegetable Oil (Corn, Canola, and/or Sunflower Oil)
  • Sea Salt
  • Maltodextrin [Made from Corn]
  • Black Pepper
  • Onion Powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • Natural Flavors

LAY’s Poppables Sea Salt Potato Snacks

lays sea salt poppables

Lay’s came up with perfectly poppable crispy potato bites, and among the five different flavors available, only one is made without animal ingredients.

Here are the ingredients in the sea salt-flavored Poppables:

  • Dried Potatoes
  • Vegetable Oil (Sunflower, Corn and/or Canola Oil)
  • Potato Starch
  • Sea Salt
  • Tumeric

LAY’s Stax Original Potato Crisps

lays stax

If you love the taste and crispiness of Pringles, you’ll also love Lay’s Stax potato crisps. However, among 10 different flavors, only the Original potato crisps are vegan.

Here are the ingredients:

  • Dried Potatoes
  • Vegetable Oil (Cottonseed, Sunflower, And/Or Corn Oil)
  • Unmodified Potato Starch
  • Rice Flour
  • Mono- And Diglycerides
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Dextrose
  • Soy Lecithin

LAY’s Wavy Original Potato Chips

wavy originals

The Original Wavy Lay’s are plain potato chips but are cut in a way that’s very similar to Ruffles.

Here are the ingredients used in this recipe:

  • Potatoes
  • Vegetable Oil (Sunflower, Corn, and/or Canola Oil)
  • Salt

LAY’s Wavy Sea Salt & Pepper Potato Chips

wavy salt and pepper

The Wavy sea salt & pepper flavored Lay’s contain the following ingredients:

  • Potatoes
  • Vegetable Oil (Sunflower, Corn, and/or Canola Oil)
  • Salt
  • Maltodextrin [Made From Corn]
  • Black Pepper
  • Onion Powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • Natural Flavors

LAY’s Wavy Reduced Fat Orignal Potato Chips

lays wavy reduced fat

The Wavy Original Lay’s with reduced-fat are made using the following ingredients:

  • Potatoes
  • Vegetable Oil (Sunflower, Corn, and/or Canola Oil)
  • Salt

LAY’s Wavy Lightly Salted Potato Chips

wavy lightly salted

Much like the Original Wavy Lay’s but with 50% less sodium.

Here are the ingredients present in the recipe:

  • Potatoes
  • Vegetable Oil (Sunflower, Corn, and/or Canola Oil)
  • Salt

Questionable Ingredients

Throughout this post, I’ve bolded ingredients often considered questionable by some members of the vegan community based on three potential factors:

  1. Actual source
  2. Processing
  3. Indirect impact on animal suffering

For instance, I’ve noticed that a lot of the vegan flavored Lay’s contained a few of these ingredients, more specifically sugar and natural flavors.

Sugar

If the product you’re purchasing contains sugar derived from sugarcane, it’s possible that the sugar may not be vegan because bone char might’ve been used during the refinement process.

Bone char is a charcoal-like powder obtained by boiling and incinerating the bones of cattle. Some sugar suppliers use bone char to process, filter, and bleach cane sugar to remove inorganic impurities.

The good news is that not all sugar suppliers use bone char since alternatives like activated carbon and ion-exchange resins also can be used to achieve the same result. I invite you to read my blog post on refined sugar for more detailed information on this subject.

Natural Flavors

Most natural flavors are actually derived from a plant-based source but they can also be derived from animal sources. Unless there’s a major allergen included, you won’t find which source has been used.

I’ve written a more in-depth post on natural flavors, so feel free to check it out if you’re interested.

Lastly, if you’re interested in knowing which sources are actually being used to create these “natural flavors”, and if you want to know whether or not Lay’s contain sugar filtered using bone char, my ultimate suggestion would be for you to contact Frito-Lay which is essentially Lay’s parent company.

Conclusion

Fortunately, Lay’s has a lot of vegan-friendly chips.

In fact, we’ve covered 20 different varieties of potato chips that are vegan, and while the majority may be old plain potato chips with distinctive shapes, you’ll be surprised to know that there are uniquely flavored Lay’s that are vegan-friendly.

If you feel like this blog post has been helpful in any way, please share it with friends or family that may also find it useful. Thank you for reading!

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!

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