As a kid, I used to love Bugles. I would always put the little cones on my fingers and pretend that I had claws. I can still hear my mom yelling at me, “Stop playing with your food!”
Today, they’re just as popular as they’ve ever been and are available in even more flavors. The only question is, “Are Bugles vegan?”
The original Bugles are vegan-friendly and aren’t made with any animal-derived ingredients. A few other flavors are also vegan-friendly. You should also be aware that all Bugles are made with refined sugar, which many vegans try to avoid for ethical reasons.
Below, I’ll give you a full breakdown of the ingredients in Bugles and show you which flavors are vegan-friendly and which ones contain animal-derived ingredients. Let’s take a look!
Do Bugles Contain Dairy?
Believe it or not, dairy is one of the most common non-vegan ingredients used in chips. All cheese-flavored chips (which there are a lot of) contain dairy in the form of cheese or cheese powder.
However, a number of other chips that aren’t cheese-flavored may also contain dairy in the form of whey.
Whey is a milk-derived protein that’s often used to help seasonings bind to the surface of chips. The protein pretty much just acts as a binding agent. So, it’s always a good idea to double-check for this ingredient, even if you think you’re looking at a vegan-friendly snack!
Thankfully, the original Bugles do not contain any dairy! You won’t find any cheese or milk powder, whey, casein, or other unexpected milk by-products.
This makes them a great choice for both vegans and lactose-intolerant dieters alike.
What Flavors of Bugles Are Vegan?
There are currently six different flavors of Bugles. Some of them are vegan-friendly, while others are not. The easiest way to be sure is to simply read through the ingredients list on the back of the packaging and make sure that there aren’t any dairy or meat-derived additives.
For simplicity’s sake, though, here’s a quick chart outlining the non-vegan and vegan flavors of Bugles:
|Vegan Bugles Flavors||Non-Vegan Bugles Flavors|
|Original Bugles||Nacho Cheese Bugles|
|Hot Buffalo Bugles||Ranch Bugles|
|Churro Bugles||Caramel Bugles|
I’ve always been a fan of the original Bugles myself. However, I also really enjoy the Churro Bugles as well. One of my favorite desserts to make at home is to crush a bit of the sweet Churro Bugles over a small bowl of my favorite vegan ice cream!
What Are Bugles Snacks Made Of? Ingredients Analyzed
I always like to be as thorough as possible when I write these posts. I also think that it’s a great idea for all vegans to understand a little bit more about what’s actually in their food. So, with that in mind, I’ll give you a full ingredients breakdown so you can see what Bugles are really made of.
Compared to other brands of chips I’ve looked at, Bugles use a fairly simple recipe that consists of just five simple ingredients and an added preservative. It’s always nice to see that some companies are sticking to simple foods!
Here’s the shortlist for reference:
Now, let’s take a closer look at what each of these ingredients actually is…
1) Degermed Yellow Corn Meal
Corn meal is a coarse flour that’s derived from yellow corn. If you’ve ever used masa or traditional corn flour before, then try to visualize a flour that’s thicker and has heavier granules.
Corn meal is a 100% vegan-friendly baking product. It’s a simple form of flour that’s made by drying and grinding corn kernels until they’re broken down into a thick powder.
Compared to regular corn flour, cornmeal makes for a thicker texture and gives the chips a more wholesome flavor. Corn meal is also minimally processed, so you don’t have to worry about any added bleach or other unwanted compounds!
2) Vegetable Oil
Almost all mainstream brands of chips are fried in vegetable oil. According to the label, Bugles are fried in either coconut oil or palm kernel oil. While coconut oil is 100% vegan, palm kernel oil is not.
Although palm oil is classified as a plant-based oil (it comes from pressed palm kernels), the palm farming industry is the exact opposite of everything that vegans stand for.
Palm oil farming is responsible for thousands upon thousands of acres of natural rainforest being burned down every year. When they destroy the rainforest, it’s not just the trees they’re burning either. They’re destroying entire ecosystems full of rainforest animals that are already endangered.
In particular, palm oil farming and production are closely linked to the endangerment of Orangutans. The primates are regularly involved in altercations with heavy equipment and machinery being used to destroy their home.
Since there are very few laws to protect Orangutans in Brazil and Indonesia (where most of the world’s palm oil comes from), they’re often shot dead without a second thought.
If you’ve ever eaten Bugles before, you may remember that they have a slightly sweet taste. This is what makes them taste different from Fritos, which are made with the same basic ingredients, minus the sugar.
Sugar tends to be a bit of a gray area for most vegans. Although all sugar comes from a plant-based source (sugarcane), not all sugar is vegan-friendly.
The majority of the sugar you’ll find on store shelves or used in everyday snacks and candy is white sugar. White sugar starts off as natural cane sugar, which is 100% vegan and is regularly found in vegan specialty snacks.
The only problem is that the refining process involves filtering the cane sugar through animal bone char, which is a type of high-carbon charcoal made from animal bones.
Many vegans aren’t aware of this, which is why they still continue to consume white sugar products. Others are aware but don’t care, as it’s a relatively hard ingredient to avoid altogether.
I’ll leave it up to you to decide what your own viewpoint on this sweetener is.
Salt is found in almost all snacks and chips, including Bugles. First and foremost, salt provides flavor, giving the Bugles that crunchy saltiness that you’d expect from any chips. Secondly, salt acts as a strengthening agent when combined with the corn meal dough used to make the chips.
Lastly, salt also acts as a preservative for the chips, as bacteria find it hard to reproduce in salty environments.
5) Baking Soda
Baking soda is just sodium bicarbonate, a baking powder made from all-natural elements (sodium and carbon). It adds texture to the chips and is the reason why they’re extra-crispy!
6) BHT Preservative
BHT is a preservative that’s used to line the inner wall of the packaging. It prevents bacteria from setting in the chips, even after the package has been opened and the airtight seal has been lost.
Conclusion – Are Bugles Vegan-Friendly Snack?
As long as you stick to the original flavor, the Hot Buffalo, or Churro-flavored Bugles, then Bugles are vegan-friendly. Just keep in mind that all Bugles are made with refined sugar, and some packages may contain palm oil, two “gray area” ingredients that some vegans avoid.
If you’re looking for some even healthier vegan snacks that don’t involve any guesswork or moral arguments, then I suggest taking a look at my list of the best vegan chips next!