Wheat Thins are arguably one of the “healthiest” crackers you’ll find on the snack aisle of your local grocery store. They’re made from whole grain wheat and are an excellent source of dietary fiber and whole grains. Plus, they don’t contain a ton of chemical additives and artificial ingredients!
However, are Wheat Thins vegan?
Yes! Believe it or not, Wheat Thins are one of the few vegan-friendly crackers on the market. The original Wheat Thins along with several of the flavored varieties are perfectly safe for vegans to consume.
The only questionable ingredient is the sugar, as Wheat Thins hasn’t specified whether the sugar they use is refined or unrefined.
Wheat Thins are one of my favorite mid-afternoon snacks. I like to dip them in a bit of peanut butter or top them with a slice of cucumber or tomato. Sometimes I’ll even top them with a thin slice of my favorite vegan cheese!
In today’s post, I’ll answer some of the most common questions I’ve been getting about Wheat Thins and provide you with a complete breakdown of all of the main ingredients in the popular snack.
Then, I’ll show you all of the vegan-friendly (and not-so-vegan) flavors of Wheat Thins, so you know what to look for.
It’s time to get your crunch on!
Are Wheat Thins Plant-Based?
Almost all crackers and chips start off as plant-based foods. The main ingredient is typically flour made from corn, wheat, rice, or some other type of grain.
However, most mainstream snack companies add non-vegan toppings, oils, and flavors to the mix, making the otherwise plant-based snack non-vegan.
Thankfully, Wheat Thins are a plant-based snack! The number one ingredient is whole wheat flour, followed by a few naturally-derived sweeteners and sustainably-sourced canola oil.
They’re also a lot healthier than some of the other chips and crackers on the market. They’re low-fat, low-sugar, and don’t have as much salt or artificial preservatives as other popular brands!
Are Wheat Thins Gluten-Free?
Gluten is a protein found in grains, such as wheat, rye, barley, and triticale. Gluten-sensitive individuals or those with celiac disease can have a severe reaction when they consume even the slightest amount of gluten, so it’s important to look out for.
While Wheat Thins are vegan-friendly, they are NOT gluten-free.
The main ingredient in Wheat Thins is wheat flour, which is packed with gluten. Additionally, Wheat Thins also contain malt syrup, which contains barley, another gluten-containing grain.
There’s nothing wrong with gluten in and of itself, though. As long as you don’t have an allergy or intolerance to it, then it’s actually quite healthy! In fact, one of my favorite vegan protein sources is seitan, which is a meat alternative made from pure gluten.
What Are Wheat Thins Made Of? Ingredients Listed
Now that you know a little bit more about what sets Wheat Thins apart from some of the other popular crackers and chips on the market, it’s time to give you a full breakdown of all of the main ingredients used to make Wheat Thins.
There are several different flavors of Wheat Thins. For simplicity’s sake, though, I’m just going to discuss the ingredients used in the original flavor of Wheat Thins. All of the other flavored varieties of Wheat Thins use the same base cracker as well, just with added seasonings.
1) Whole Grain Wheat Flour
As you may have guessed by the name, the main ingredient used in Wheat Thins is whole grain wheat flour. As I’ve written about in previous posts, wheat flour is 100% vegan and plant-based, so it’s safe to consume.
Unlike most crackers that use all-purpose wheat flour, though, Wheat Thins are made using whole grain wheat flour. This is why the crackers are gold-colored and have texture instead of white and uncolored.
Whole grain wheat flour is a lot healthier than processed wheat flour. When wheat flour is processed, some of the healthiest parts of the grain are removed during the process.
Whole grain wheat flour contains more protein, more vitamins, and more trace minerals, and is a better source of fiber (which is great for your digestion).
2) Canola Oil
Thankfully, Wheat Thins are made using sustainably-sourced canola oil instead of palm oil!
Palm oil is a major problem for our environment, as the industry behind it has resulted in the wholesale destruction of our planet’s rainforests. This, in turn, has put a number of other species at risk (such as orangutans).
By contrast, canola oil is highly sustainable. It comes from the seeds of canola flowers, which are small yellow flowers that are grown in open fields and hills.
Sugar is the only questionable ingredient in Wheat Thins. Although all sugar comes from plant-based sources, refined white sugar is generally avoided by vegans.
To bleach the sugar and turn it from a natural brown color to white crystals, the natural sugar must be filtered through animal bone char, which directly supports the meat industry.
This is why most ethical vegans avoid white sugar in favor of unrefined cane sugar!
It’s unclear what type of sugar is used in Wheat Thins, as they only list “sugar” in the ingredients list. Since all of the other ingredients are vegan, I’m inclined to think that they use natural unrefined sugar. However, I’m not 100% certain, so don’t take my word for it.
Cornstarch is a common plant-based food additive that’s 100% vegan. It’s used in Wheat Thins to soften the flour used for the crackers. Cornstarch minimizes the harsher flavors of whole wheat, and improves the overall texture of the crackers, making them more palatable.
5) Malt Syrup
Malt syrup is added as a secondary sweetener that works alongside the sugar to provide a mild, slightly sweet taste, so the crackers don’t taste like pure bread. The malt syrup used in Wheat Thins comes from a mixture of corn and barley, which makes it both plant-based and vegan.
All Wheat Thins are seasoned with a bit of salt to give them more flavor! If you don’t like salt, Wheat Thins also offers a low-sodium variety.
7) Refiner’s Syrup
Refiner’s syrup is a golden-colored syrup that’s made with sugar and water. It’s similar to molasses but is a little less viscous and more golden instead of dark brown.
Both sides of the crackers are coated with a small amount of refiner’s syrup to give the Wheat Thins a more vibrant golden color and make them more appealing.
I far prefer this to some of the artificial “caramel coloring” used by most processed food companies.
8) Leavening Agents
Last but not least, calcium phosphate and baking soda are added to Wheat Thins dough to prevent the crackers from rising. Naturally, the wheat flour dough would rise like bread in the oven.
However, when a leavening agent like baking soda is added to the mixture, it prevents the dough from rising. This is the difference between a cracker and bread.
Are All Wheat Thins Vegan?
The original flavor of Wheat Thins is the best-selling favorite that everyone knows and loves. As I’ve shown you, it’s pretty much 100% vegan (other than the questionable sugar). That’s not the only good news, though…
There are several great-tasting flavored varieties of Wheat Thins that are 100% vegan as well. That being said, not all flavors of Wheat Thins are vegan-friendly.
Vegan Wheat Thins Flavors vs. Non-Vegan Wheat Thins Flavors
Based on my research here are the most popular vegan-friendly flavors of Wheat Thins as well as the well-known non-vegan flavors of Wheat Thins that you should look out for:
|Vegan Wheat Thins Flavors||Non-Vegan Wheat Thins Flavors|
|Wheat Thins Original||Wheat Thins Ranch|
|Wheat Thins Original Low-Sodium||Wheat Thins Honey Mustard|
|Wheat Thins Reduced-Fat||Wheat Thins Chili Cheese|
|Wheat Thins Multigrain||Wheat Thins Smoky BBQ|
|Wheat Thins Tomato & Basil|
|Wheat Thins Zesty Salsa|
|Wheat Thins Spicy Buffalo|
|Wheat Thins Cracked Pepper|
The Verdict – Are Wheat Thins Vegan-Friendly?
Wheat Thins are one of the most vegan-friendly snacks on supermarket shelves! Although they’re not specifically marketed as a vegan crackers, most of the flavors you’ll find are vegan. The only non-vegan flavors are the ones that contain honey, cheese, or milk derivatives.
If you’re looking for some great-tasting vegan snacks, be sure to check out my list of the best vegan chips brands next!