Nabisco’s Teddy Grahams launched in 1988 and quickly became a favorite among kids, including myself.
They’re essentially cute, bear-shaped graham crackers that come in a bite-sized shape, making them easy for toddlers to eat. They’re often marketed as a semi-healthy treat for kids.
Are Teddy Grahams vegan, though?
It depends on the flavor you’re looking at. The original Honey Teddy Grahams are non-vegan as they contain real honey.
The Chocolatey Chip Teddy Grahams are also non-vegan because they contain confectioners’ glaze. That being said, the Cinnamon-flavored and Chocolate-flavored Teddy Grahams are vegan!
Below, I’ll give you a full breakdown of the ingredients used to make Teddy Grahams and show you which additives you need to be on the lookout for. Are you ready to learn more about how these bite-sized bears are made?
Are Graham Crackers Vegan-Friendly?
Teddy Grahams are pretty much just cute-looking, miniature graham crackers.
When most people think of graham crackers, they think of s’mores. Unfortunately, the Hershey’s bar and marshmallows used for s’mores aren’t vegan due to dairy in the chocolate and gelatin in the marshmallows.
What about the crackers themselves, though?
Unfortunately, most graham crackers are non-vegan because they contain honey.
However, you may find some varieties and flavors of graham crackers that are honey-free and made with other flavors and sweeteners.
Is Honey Vegan?
When it comes to Teddy Grahams’ classic Honey flavor (and graham crackers, in general), honey is one of the main reasons why they aren’t vegan. This can be a bit surprising for first-time vegans, as most people grow up being taught that honey is a healthy, natural sweetener.
While honey may be healthy and all-natural, vegans should remember that honey is an animal product.
Without bees, there wouldn’t be any honey. Worker bees spend their days flying around gathering nectar from flowering plants.
Then, they take this nectar back to their hive where they infuse it with digestive enzymes, which turn the hard-to-digest honey into a simpler sugar. This is how honey is made.
If bees had no use for honey, then it might be vegan-friendly.
The problem is that bees actually need honey. It’s the primary source of food for their young larvae, as the larvae can’t yet digest pure plant nectar. Additionally, the adult bees also consume honey during the fall and winter months, when there aren’t any flowering plants to gather nectar from.
Simply put, when we take honey from a bee colony, we’re removing a vital food source that they need for survival.
Additionally, there’s also the issue of how some modern beekeeping operations work. While some of them are responsible and look out for the health of their hives, many of them are not.
Large commercial bee farms often see death and disease due to overcrowded, unnatural conditions. Whenever disease strikes a colony, beekeepers may kill the entire colony with poisoned gas to prevent the spread of the disease.
Most of these diseases wouldn’t be an issue if it weren’t for irresponsible farming conditions.
To learn more about why most vegans don’t eat honey, check out my full post on the topic here.
What Flavors of Teddy Grahams Are Vegan?
When Teddy Grahams were first launched, they were only available in their signature Honey flavor. Today, though, Teddy Grahams are available in four different flavors. Half of them are vegan, while the other half are not:
|Vegan Teddy Grahams Flavors||Non-Vegan Teddy Grahams Flavors|
|Cinnamon||Honey (due to honey)|
|Chocolate||Chocolatey Chip (due to confectioner’s glaze)|
The Honey Teddy Grahams are, of course, non-vegan for the reasons we just discussed. However, you may be wondering what exactly a confectioner’s glaze is. This shiny glaze is often used to coat candy, donuts, and other sweet treats to make them look more appealing.
Unfortunately, the shine in the glaze comes from shellac, which is obtained from exploited lac bugs. The female lac bugs excrete a thick, slimy, goo that’s known for its sheen and protective properties.
To learn more about how shellac is made and where it comes from, check out this quick video:
What Are Teddy Grahams Made Of? Breaking Down The Ingredients
Now that you know which flavors of Teddy Grahams aren’t vegan, it’s time for me to give you my traditional ingredients breakdown. Below, I’ll give you a simple explanation of all of the ingredients used to make the original Honey Teddy Grahams.
This will help you better understand what’s in your food and which ingredients you need to avoid while shopping for your vegan-friendly pantry. Let’s take a look!
From the package:
1) Graham Flour
Graham flour is very similar to whole wheat flour, as both are whole grain products. The only difference is that graham flour has a thicker, more coarse grind. This is why graham crackers look, taste, and feel different from regular wheat flour-based crackers and wafers.
Whole grain graham flour is a lot healthier than some of the processed, bleached flour used in other children’s snacks. Since the resulting flour is made from whole grains, it has a higher nutritional value.
Graham flour contains a higher concentration of fiber and protein, which makes it more filling.
2) Enriched Unbleached Flour
Graham flour is the primary type of flour that’s used for Teddy Grahams. However, the recipe also includes a bit of your everyday enriched flour as well.
The enriched flour is very similar but is ground into a lighter, finer powder. It’s also enriched with natural minerals and B vitamins, giving Teddy Grahams a higher nutritional value.
Since enriched flour is made from wheat, it’s a plant-based, vegan-safe food product.
All Teddy Grahams are sweetened with a bit of sugar. Unfortunately, this can be a bit problematic for some vegans. Unlike raw cane sugar (which is commonly used in vegan snacks), refined white sugar goes through a filtration and refining process that isn’t the most vegan-friendly.
Raw cane sugar may be the most natural sugarcane extract, but it’s not the sweetest or the most concentrated. So, the raw sugar is filtered through animal bone char, which removes the outer layer of plant material, leaving only the pure white sugar crystals behind.
The problem, of course, is the fact that the filters contain the fire-charred remains of animal bones. This means that sugar refineries indirectly support the meat industry. As a result, many vegans have chosen to boycott white sugar.
Some vegans aren’t as strict, though, and still consume white sugar, since it’s technically a plant-based sweetener. I’ll leave it up to you to make your own decision!
4) Canola Oil
Canola oil is a natural, plant-based cooking oil that’s extracted from pressed canola flower seeds. Unlike palm oil, canola oil is sustainably sourced and doesn’t contribute to deforestation.
It’s mostly used as a binding fat additive that helps the dough remain smooth and helps it cook evenly.
Dextrose is a simple starch that’s extracted from corn (and sometimes potatoes). It’s commonly used as both a light sweetener and a starchy thickening agent. Dextrose has a similar consistency to corn starch, but its sweeter flavor makes it more useful in sweet-tasting snacks.
Dextrose is plant-based, but it’s not very healthy. It’s absorbed directly into your bloodstream as a super-simple sugar, which can cause dramatic blood sugar spikes.
Honey is added as both a sweetener and a flavoring in Teddy Grahams. For the reasons we discussed above, though, honey is not vegan-friendly. It’s an animal-derived sweetener that’s obtained from exploited bee colonies.
7) Calcium Carbonate
Calcium carbonate is a dietary supplement that’s added to food to give it a higher nutritional value. This compound is vegan-friendly, though, and is a great way to get your calcium as a vegan.
Maltodextrin is very similar to dextrose, as both are starchy sugars that are extracted from corn. However, maltodextrin is more processed. It’s often used as a drying agent in foods. When added to liquid sugars (such as honey), it absorbs all of the moisture, giving it a more solid form.
9) Baking Soda
Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is made from two natural compounds: sodium and carbon. This is an all-natural baking ingredient that’s vegan-friendly and used in many different baked goods.
Even though Teddy Grahams aren’t exactly a “salty” food, they still contain a small amount of salt. When added to the dough, salt helps to thicken and strengthen the dough, making for stronger, less crumbly graham crackers.
11) Soy Lecithin
Soy lecithin is a somewhat natural soy-derived emulsifier that comes from soybeans. It helps the dough remain homogenous and also acts as a natural preservative, preventing bacteria from reproducing in the dough.
12) Natural Flavors
Last but not least, Teddy Grahams are naturally flavored with unspecified flavors. These are usually natural plant-based extracts that are highly concentrated and only used in small amounts.
The Verdict – Are Teddy Grahams A Vegan-Friendly Snack?
Cinnamon Teddy Grahams and Chocolate Teddy Grahams are vegan-friendly! Just make sure to avoid the Honey and Chocolatey Chip Teddy Grahams, as each contains one non-vegan ingredient.
If you’re looking for some other great-tasting vegan snacks, then be sure to check out my list of the best vegan granola next!