BelVita biscuits are some of the most popular biscuit-style crackers in the world. Although they’re made in France, they’re sold throughout the US, UK, India, and many other countries.
They’re a slightly sweet, lightly flavoured, crunchy biscuit that’s typically eaten with breakfast or served with coffee and tea.
The real question we’re all here for, though, is, “Are BelVita vegan?”
For the most part, BelVita biscuits are 100% vegan. They don’t contain any obvious animal ingredients like dairy or other meat by-products.
However, all BelVita biscuits do contain refined sugar, which many vegans stay away from due to the ethical concern of sugar being refined with animal bone char.
Below, I’ll do my best to answer all of your dietary questions about Belvita biscuits and give you a full rundown of all of the ingredients used in this popular breakfast cracker so you can see for yourself!
Does BelVita Contain Dairy?
When it comes to breakfast food, it can be difficult to avoid dairy. Even products that don’t actually contain milk may contain dairy by-products, such as:
- Milk Solids
- Whey (or Whey Protein)
- Casein (or Sodium Caseinate)
Many popular foods, such as waffles, breakfast sandwiches, and protein powders contain one or multiple of these ingredients. The lesson is – never underestimate how much dairy is used in American foods!
If you take a quick look at the ingredients used to make BelVita crackers, you won’t find any obvious dairy ingredients.
However, if you take a closer look at the label, you’ll see a very important disclaimer:
“May Contain Milk”
So, what’s that supposed to mean? How does a product not contain milk in the ingredients but have a label that says the opposite?
Well, this all has to do with the factory where the biscuits are manufactured. Often, manufacturing is outsourced to third-party companies that may also manufacture dairy-containing products.
So, while BelVita biscuits might not contain dairy themselves, they might be made on an assembly line that also makes other dairy-containing foods for other companies.
So, are Belvita biscuits non-vegan?
I wouldn’t let this particular claim bother you too much. This is merely there as a disclaimer to let consumers know that there’s a possibility of micro-particles of dairy in the final product.
Whatever traces of dairy that end up in the final product are likely so low that they wouldn’t show up on any standardized tests. Plus, they’re not a part of the actual ingredients or intentionally used to make the product.
Do BelVita Biscuits Contain Eggs?
If you look at the recipe for most traditional biscuits (at least the big fluffy ones we eat in the US), you’ll see that many of them contain eggs. Eggs are often added to products like waffles, biscuits, and pancakes to strengthen the dough and give the food a higher protein content.
Thankfully, no BelVita biscuit flavours contain any eggs whatsoever!
This misconception typically comes from the fact that the European definition for “biscuits” is a lot different from the US definition for “biscuits.”
In the US, biscuits are thick, soft, flaky, and almost always contain milk, butter, and/or eggs.
In Europe, however, the word “biscuit” refers to thin crackers (typically sweet-tasting breakfast crackers). European-style biscuits rarely, if ever, contain eggs.
What Are BelVita Biscuits Made Of? A Look At The Ingredients
Alright, now that you know a little bit more about BelVita biscuits, it’s time to show you exactly why most people consider them to be a vegan-friendly snack! In this section, I’ll give you a full breakdown of all of the ingredients used to make BelVita biscuits, so you can see for yourself.
First, though, here’s the short-list of the ingredients for reference:
For the purpose of this article, I used the ingredients for BelVita’s best-selling Golden Oat flavour of biscuits. The other varieties share the same base ingredients, just with added flavours. Now, let’s go through the list and clarify all of the hard-to-understand jargon!
1) Whole Grain Blend
All BelVita biscuits start with a clean and simple blend of two whole grains. Rolled oats and rye flakes are used to create a hearty and wholesome blend that serves as the base of the biscuits.
Both of these are used in their whole-grain form, which means that they’re minimally processed and retain all of their nutritional value.
One of the best reasons to consume whole grains is that they’re naturally high in dietary fibre. Dietary fibre takes longer for our bodies to digest and break down than simple carbs. It also helps our digestive system flow smoothly, clearing up any “blockages.”
Many dieticians recommend consuming more fibre in the morning for breakfast, as it will help you feel full and satisfied. This, in turn, limits snacking throughout the day.
Since these two grains are all-natural and grow from the ground, they’re 100% vegan!
2) Enriched Wheat Flour
In addition to the whole grains, BelVita biscuits are also made with enriched wheat flour. Wheat flour is slightly more processed than “whole-wheat” products, as some of the nutritional value is lost during the pulverizing and filtering process.
That being said, wheat flour is still 100% vegan. At the end of the day, it’s a plant-based product and is processed mechanically, without the need for any chemicals.
The wheat flour base is then enriched with vegan-friendly vitamins and minerals. This adds to the nutritional value of the flour, which is why it’s so popular in breakfast foods.
All BelVita biscuits are slightly sweet thanks to the addition of sugar in the dough mixture. That being said, sugar can be a problematic ingredient for many vegans.
While all sugar comes from a plant-based source (the sugarcane plant), not all sugar is equal. For example, raw cane sugar is 100% vegan, as it’s just pure sugar that’s left behind after water evaporates from sugarcane juice.
However, the refined white sugar that’s used for 95% of processed foods isn’t quite as vegan-friendly. This is because it goes through a filtration and refining process that uses high-carbon charcoal called animal bone char.
Bone char is made from the fire-baked remains of cows and pigs that have been slaughtered for meat. Due to this filtration process, a growing number of vegans are boycotting white sugar.
However, many vegans who aren’t as ethically concerned still consume sugar, as it’s kind of hard to avoid.
Personally, I try to stay away from white sugar.
However, I don’t mind consuming a bit here and there in small amounts. I just try my best to purchase products made with natural cane sugar instead!
4) Canola Oil
Like most biscuits and crackers, BelVita biscuits are made with a bit of vegetable oil. Thankfully, no palm oil is used! Instead, the biscuits are made with sustainably-sourced canola oil, which is pressed from the seeds of canola flowers.
Canola oil serves as fat and helps strengthen the dough, giving it a thicker, softer consistency.
5) Whole Grain Wheat Flour
Although enriched wheat flour is the main ingredient, BelVita biscuits also contain a bit of whole grain wheat flour as well. This is a thicker, more coarse form of flour that isn’t as processed as your typical white flour or all-purpose flour.
6) Malt Syrup
Malt syrup is a slightly sweet, nutty-flavored syrup that’s made by processing the sugars in corn and barley. Since it comes from plant-based sources, it’s 100% vegan! It doesn’t go through any of the bone char filtrations that white sugar goes through either.
7) Baking Soda
Baking soda is the common name for sodium bicarbonate. This compound is vegan-friendly and doesn’t come from animals. It’s a simple baking additive that’s added to most crackers to help create a softer texture and help the biscuits rise a little bit.
Even though BelVita biscuits are known for being sweet, they also contain a bit of salt. This is added less for flavor and more for texture. Whenever salt is added to a baking mix, it strengthens the dough, allowing it to become harder, firmer, and less crumbly.
9) Soy Lecithin
Soy lecithin is one of the most common preservatives used in today’s processed food. As the name implies, soy lecithin is derived from soybeans. However, it’s not quite as natural as it may sound, given the complex chemical processes it must go through to be created.
Check out the following video to learn more about it:
However, soy lecithin is vegan-friendly as it’s plant-based and doesn’t contain any animal by-products.
10) Disodium Phosphate
Disodium phosphate is a chemical preservative that’s added to a number of processed foods. It’s not quite as natural as soy lecithin, but it is vegan since it’s man-made in a lab.
Datem is the anagram for Diacetyl Tartaric Acid Ester of Mono- and Diglycerides.
How’s that for a mouthful?
This compound is an artificial chemical that’s added to bread products (such as biscuits) to make the dough stronger. It functions similarly to salt in the dough but doesn’t affect the flavor as much as salt.
12) Added Vitamins & Minerals
Last but not least, all BelVita biscuits contain an added blend of vitamins and minerals. Thankfully, all of the added vitamins and minerals are 100% vegan. You don’t have to worry about any vitamin D3, which is a non-vegan vitamin that’s added to many breakfast cereals.
Are BelVita Soft Bakes Vegan?
While BelVita’s crunchy biscuits are probably their best-selling variety, they also offer a line of soft breakfast bars that they’ve dubbed Soft Bakes.
BelVita Soft Bakes are vegan-friendly and don’t contain any animal by-products. The only questionable ingredient is, of course, the refined sugar that’s used to sweeten them.
The Verdict – Are BelVita Biscuits Vegan-Friendly?
If you’re a simple dietary vegan who doesn’t care too much about the ethics behind refined sugar, then BelVita biscuits can be considered vegan-friendly.
If you’re looking for some more great breakfast options, then be sure to check out my list of the best vegan breakfast cereals next!