Quick Answer: Are Goldfish Crackers Vegan?

Goldfish crackers are a beloved snack that everyone, from children to adults, loves to munch on. They come in many flavors, all of which contain milk products. So, no, Goldfish Crackers are not vegan.

Veganism means avoiding ingredients that are derived from animals and unethically sourced. So, companies are coming up with vegan alternatives to many popular snacks. Read till the end to find the vegan versions of these cheese-flavored crackers.

Continue reading to find out why Goldfish crackers are not vegan, the ingredients to avoid, and the health concerns they raise.

Types Of Goldfish Crackers?

Pepperidge Farm offers a wide variety of delicious flavors of Goldfish crackers. Currently, no flavor is 100% plant-based. The following are the types of crackers available and the ingredients they contain that can be a red flag for vegans. 

  1. Goldfish Original (Contains non-fat milk)
  2. Goldfish Cheddar (Contains cultured milk)
  3. Goldfish Colors (Contains cheddar cheese)
  4. Goldfish Parmesan (Contains parmesan cheese)
  5. Goldfish Pizza (Contains cheddar cheese)
  6. Goldfish Pretzel (Contains non-fat milk)

As you can see, all of these products contain at least one milk derivative. Pepperidge Farm released a new healthier snack called “veggie crackers.” These come in cheesy tomato and sweet carrot flavors.

This was an attempt to add more plant-based ingredients to the crackers. These contain carrot juice and tomato paste powder. The vegetables add natural colors and remove the need to add them artificially. They are nutritious, with no added preservatives. 

These crackers may have more healthy and plant-derived ingredients, but they are still not completely dairy-free. They contain cheddar cheese and non-fat milk. 

Are They Healthy?

These baked goods are cheesy, crunchy, and adorably shaped. But, unfortunately, they are not healthy. They are, after all, junk foods and can raise health concerns if consumed in high quantities. 

Let’s take a look at these components:


GMOs stand for Genetically Modified Organisms. These include genetically altering animals, plants, and anything animate. Many animal rights activists often protest against GMO technology because it often includes experimentation with animals. 

The patenting of modified animals is another concern, as it is synonymous with treating animals as property.

GMOs have been used in a variety of food products since 1996. Genetically modifying plants increases the yield and lowers the cost of production. But this can disrupt the ecosystem. They contain novel proteins that are toxic and can cause allergic reactions. 

A GMO diet can also lead to liver and kidney diseases. So, consumers, be cautious about what goes in your food!


Sodium is required by our bodies to maintain blood volume and pressure. But it is only needed in small quantities. Processed foods like Goldfish Crackers have a high sodium content of over 250 mg. 

A high sodium diet causes high blood pressure, which can lead to strokes and heart problems. So it is advised to only consume it in a healthy amount and not overeat junk food. 

You can achieve the daily sodium requirement by consuming whole foods and vegetables instead of eating processed foods. 


MSG stands for monosodium glutamate. It is used as a flavor enhancer. The commonly used MSG component in Goldfish Crackers is autolyzed yeast. It can cause severe headaches, chest pains, and nausea if consumed excessively. 

Studies show that MSG damages the cellular part of the brain and can cause learning disabilities. Research shows that they are also associated with high rates of obesity and higher BMI. 


Goldfish crackers contain some of the most common allergens, such as dairy products, peanuts, and soy. You will find these ingredients listed on the product so be sure to read them carefully. Make sure you are not allergic to any of them!

Ingredients To Look Out For

These are the ingredients that are questionable in a vegan diet. Here is why:

Milk Products

This one is pretty easy to understand. Vegan food does not contain any animal-derived products, which include dairy and eggs. All Goldfish Cracker flavors contain cheese, milk, and butter, among other non-vegan products. 

The original Goldfish Crackers contain non-fat milk, which makes it a healthier choice, but it still remains non-vegan. The parmesan, cheddar, and pizza flavored crackers have cheese in them, making them uneatable for vegans!


Sugar is a naturally-derived product from sugarcane. But, whether the sugar is vegan or not, purely depends on the way it is processed. It is vegan when ethically sourced and produced. But some manufacturers use cattle-obtained substances to produce sugar, which makes it non-vegan. 

Although it is difficult to know which type of sugar is used in the food you consume because it is not specified on the label, you can email the manufacturer or read about them online. 

Vegan Alternatives Of Goldfish Crackers

Since Goldfish Crackers are not vegan, many people have invented vegan recipes for these delicious munchies! 

But if you don’t want the hassle of baking at home, here are some snacks that are vegan and healthier alternatives to goldfish crackers:

Earth Balance Cheddar Flavor Squares

These are square-shaped cheddar cheese-flavored crackers. Aside from the shape difference, they are pretty close to cheddar goldfish tastewise. They are manufactured with 100% plant-based products, with no dairy and GMOs. 

They are advertised as vegan by the company, but there is one ingredient that can raise questions. It contains palm oil, which is derived from plants but is unethically sourced.

It causes deforestation and a major loss of flora and fauna. Many vegans and environmentalists see this as cruelty against animals and avoid this product. But many of them overlook these issues and prefer them over goldfish.

Plant Snacks Store Cheddar Mix

These plant-based snacks are produced from cassava. It is completely gluten-free and rich in vitamin C. Cassava also has magnesium and fiber, which makes this snack not only vegan but healthy too. 

They are non-GMO certified and free from the most common allergens. And they come in a wide variety of flavors!

Final Thoughts

We conclude that Goldfish Crackers by Pepperidge Farm are not vegan. However, some alternatives taste just as good. Read the ingredient list and avoid all the items that may raise concerns, health or otherwise. And if you don’t trust the manufacturers, you can always make a healthier version of it at home. 

Brett White
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