Snack Foods

There are quite a few vegan friendly snacks in Japan; you just need to know what to look for. For example, SoyJoy bars (not SoyJoy Crispy), while sounding promising, are not vegan as they contain egg and butter. Also, regular Oreo cookies are not vegan in Japan as they contain dairy products (aside from the question of whether the sugar was processed using bone char).

20190211_164227Raisin soy joy - cross (from their website)

So which snacks are vegan?

Some of the best vegan snacks are the simple ones. In addition to the usual dried fruit and nuts, you can find roasted chestnuts and dried sweet potato in many supermarkets and convenience stores in Japan. Below are some examples of simple vegan snacks available in Japan.

Some of the products below have ingredients where the source is not clear such as flavourings or emulsifiers.

Gourmet Roasted Peeled Chestnut. Ingredients: Organic chestnuts.

Gourmet Roasted Peeled ChestnutsGourmet Roasted Peeled Chestnut - back

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are a couple of other examples of organic roasted chestnuts available in Japan:

Organic chestnutsOrganic chestnuts - 100 yen store

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sweet Potato Sticks

Lawson and Natural Lawson convenience stores:

These sweet potato sticks with Natural Lawson branding on the package are very filling.

• Organically cultivated dried potato stick/有機栽培の干し芋スティック. Ingredients: Organically cultivated sweet potato (satsumaimo).

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Katsumata Dried Soy Beans. Ingredients: Soy beans (domestic)(non-genetically modified). Note: manufactured in a facility that also makes products containing egg, milk, shrimp and crab.

Dried soy beansDried soy beans - back

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Imo kenpi is a traditional Japanese snack. According to Wikipedia, “They are strips of candied sweet potato, resembling french fries in appearance, but are hard and sugary sweet in taste. Now, in Japan, almost all super markets and convenience stores sell kenpi of their own brands.”

The following product was found in the 100 yen aisle of a supermarket.

• Imo kenpi/芋けんぴ. Ingredients: Sweet potatoes, vegetable oils and fats (rice oil, rapeseed oil, palm oil), sugar.

Uses domestically produced Kogane-sengan sweet potato, often used in sake brewing.

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Happy Dates bars have a product page here and can be ordered online here or found in selected stores. The three flavors are all free of the top 27 allergenic substances.

• Happy Dates Chocolate Brownie/HAPPY デーツ チョコブラウニー味. Ingredients: Dates, cacao mass, red sugar, roasted almonds, cocoa powder, concentrated date fruit juice, salt (salt from Miyakojima)

Chocolate brownie-flavoured bars with dates as the main ingredient. Milk, egg, wheat, refined sugar-free. Sweet with the flavour of roasted almonds. The taste is quite chocolatey.

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• Happy Dates Fruit Granola/HAPPY デーツ フルーツグラノーラ味. Ingredients: Dates, red sugar, cacao mass, granola (oats, brown rice puffs, rye flakes, isomaltooligosaccharide, malt extract, molasses), rice puffs, concentrated fruit juice (dates, raspberries), strawberries, chia seeds.

Chia seeds, strawberries, and granola are all included in this date-based bar.

Photo from website.

happy dates fruit granola

• Happy Dates Rum Raisin/HAPPY デーツ ラムレーズン味. Ingredients: Dates, red sugar, coconut, raisins, cacao mass, rum, concentrated date juice.

Rum is included in this date-based bar, making it a sweet treat for adults.

Photo from website.

happy dates rum raisin

While regular SOYJOY are not vegan as they contain egg and butter, SOYJOY crispy do not. They do have sugar that is confirmed to have been whitened using the bone char processing method.

According to the manufacturer’s website, Otsuka Pharmaceuticals, are “nutritional foods made with whole soybean flour, fruits and nuts, containing no wheat. They offer a smart and delicious way to enjoy the nutritional goodness of soy, including vegetable protein, soy isoflavones, and dietary fiber.”

They come in five regular flavours, banana, mixed berry, peach, plain, and white macadamia (contains non-dairy white chocolate made of soy). There is also a seasonal, limited edition sakura/cherry blossom flavour. 

Be sure to check that the package says “crispy” in English, as otherwise the packaging is virtually identical.

SOYJOY crispy is manufactured on the same equipment as items containing egg, milk and peanuts.

More information can be found on the English-language Otsuka Pharmaceuticals website

• Otsuka Pharmaceuticals SOYJOY Crispy, Banana/大塚製薬 ソイジョイ クリスピー バナナ. Ingredients: Soy flour (non genetically modified), margarine, puffed soy (soy protein, tapioca starch), processed banana, banana puree, processed pineapple, non-digestible dextrin, sugar, agave syrup, salt/sorbitol, flavouring.

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• Otsuka Pharmaceuticals SOYJOY Crispy, Mixed Berry/大塚製薬 ソイジョイ クリスピー ミックスベリー. Soy flour (Japan-processed, non genetically modified), margarine, puffed soy (soy protein, tapioca starch), sugar, processed cranberry, processed raspberry, non-digestible dextrin, processed strawberry, salt/flavouring.

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• Otsuka Pharmaceuticals SOYJOY Crispy, Peach/大塚製薬 ソイジョイ クリスピー ピーチ. Ingredients: Soy flour (non genetically modified), margarine, puffed soy (soy protein, tapioca starch), processed peach, sugar, non-digestible dextrin, processed papaya, processed orange peel/flavouring, sorbitol.

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• Otsuka Pharmaceuticals SOYJOY Crispy, Plain/大塚製薬 ソイジョイ クリスピー プレーン. Soy flour (Japan-processed, non genetically modified), margarine, puffed soy (soy protein, tapioca starch), sugar, processed papaya, processed pineapple, non-digestible dextrin, salt/flavouring.

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• Otsuka Pharmaceuticals SOYJOY Crispy, White Macadamia/大塚製薬 ソイジョイ クリスピー ホワイトマカデミア. Ingredients: Soy flour (Japan-processed, non genetically modified), margarine, puffed soy (soy protein, tapioca starch), soymilk chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, soy powder, other), sugar, non-digestible dextrin, macadamia nut, soy protein, salt/flavouring.

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• Otsuka Pharmaceuticals SOYJOY Sakura/大塚製薬 ソイジョイ クリスピー サクラ. Ingredients: Soy flour (Japan-processed, non genetically modified), margarine, sweet white bean paste, puffed soy (soy protein, tapioca starch), sugar, processed cranberry, non-digestible dextrin, salt/sorbitol, flavouring.

More information about this product can be found here on the English-language Otsuka Pharmaceuticals website.

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You may be able to find imported foods with English labels, like these cookies:

Gullon Butterfly Cookies. Ingredients: See photo below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

MD Crunchy Fried Beni Shōga snacks may be vegan. However, the source of the protein hydrolyzate is not specified as being of plant or animal origin, and the ingredient list also says その他/sono ta, other. In addition, it contains amino acids, etc. It isn’t possible to confirm if it’s vegan or not without contacting the manufacturer.

MD サクサク紅しょうが揚げ/MD Crunchy Fried Beni Shōga. Ingredients: Wheat flour, corn starch, vegetable oil (contains soybeans), ginger seasoning (ginger powder, salt, protein hydrolyzate, other), sugar, salt, ginger powder/modified starch, leavening agent, coloring (red mold-Monascus purpureus), seasoning (amino acids, etc.), spice extract, sweetener (sucralose), tricalcium phosphate.

The following snacks appear to possibly be vegan, but the source of the vitamin E is not listed.

Ritz Crackers. Ingredients: Wheat flour, vegetable fats and oil, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, malt extract, salt, leavening agent, lecithin (contains soybeans), antioxidants (vitamin E, vitamin C). (Product contains wheat and soybeans.)

Made in Indonesia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ritz Chocolate Sandwich Crackers/リッツ チョコサンド. Ingredients: Wheat flour, vegetable fats and oils, sugar, cocoa powder, high-fructose corn syrup, salt, corn starch, leavening agent, emulsifier, antioxidant (vitamin E, vitamin C). (Product contains wheat and soybeans.)

Made in Indonesia.

The company voluntarily issued a recall for the Ritz Chocolate Sandwich Crackers in December, 2018 as some Ritz Cheese Sandwich Crackers accidentally got mixed up in some of the packages. Affected products are only in the series of packages that have an expiration date 2019.06 and a code 0406 printed on the box. There’s a picture of the box here in the PDF the company issued explaining the recall (Japanese).

Rice Crackers. Ingredients: Non-glutinous rice (US and domestic), vegetable oil, sugar, soy sauce (contains soy and wheat), high fructose corn syrup, seasoning extract (contains soy), salt, modified starch (derived from wheat), seasoning (amino acid etc), caramel colouring. The seasoning may be animal derived.

Rice Crackers 1 - FrontRice Crackers 1 - Back

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Turn Rice Crackers may be vegan, but it isn’t clear if all the hydrolyzed protein is from plants/soybeans, and the label does not state the source of the powdered fat and oil.

• Happy Turn Rice Crackers/ハッピーターン. Ingredients: Rice (non-glutinous rice from America and Japan, glutinous rice from Thailand), vegetable fats and oils, sugar, starch, hydrolyzed protein (contains soybeans), salt, powdered fat and oil, processed starch, seasoning (amino acids, etc.), vegetable lecithin (soybean derived).

Produced in a factory along with products containing peanuts, etc.

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Rice Crackers. Ingredients: Rice (China, Japan and America), vegetable oil, starch, salt, sugar, soy sauce powder (contains soy and wheat), spice, modified starch, seasoning (amino acid etc), plant lecithin (from soy). The seasoning may be animal derived. Manufactured in a facility that also makes products containing milk.

Rice Crackers 3 - FrontRice Crackers 3 - Back

 

 

 

 

 

 

Turtle Crackers. Ingredients: Wheat flour, starch, vegetable oil, sugar, syrup, soy sauce, seasoning (amino acid etc), leavening agent, modified starch. The seasoning may be animal derived.

Turtle CrackersTurtle Crackers - back

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yaokin Umaibou Salad Flavour/やおきん うまい棒 うまい棒 やさいサラダ味. Ingredients: Corn (not genetically modified), vegetable oil, sugar (glucose, sugar), garlic seasoning, spice, bread crumbs, cabbage extract powder, potato, salt, protein hydrolyzate, parsley, seasoning (amino acids etc.), acidulant, paprika color, caramel color, flavour. (Product includes wheat, milk, soy.)

Umaibou, or “Delicious Sticks,” are extremely inexpensive snacks aimed at children. Only the salad flavour appears to possibly be vegan. However, the source of the protein hydrolyzate is not listed. It may be from soy as there is a warning that the product contains soy. It isn’t clear if the milk is part of the ingredients or if it is just a cross-contamination warning.

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POPCORN

Fukagawa Oil &Fat Company, Ltd. Lightly Salted Chemical Seasoning & Additive-free Popcorn/深川油脂工業 化学調味料無添加ポープコーンうす塩味. Ingredients: Corn (not genetically modified), vegetable oil (rice oil), salt.

No chemical seasonings or preservatives are used.

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• Natural Taste Products Popcorn/自然味良品 ポップコーン. Ingredients: Corn (non-genetically modified), sugar, starch syrup, salt, leavening agent. Does not contain milk, egg, shrimp or crab.

Does not use artificial colors or preservatives.

Popcorn FrontPopcorn Back

 

 

 

 

 

 

RICE SNACKS

Brown Sugar Rice Snacks. Ingredients: Syrup, brown rice, brown sugar, maltose, sugar (non-centrifugal sugar beet sugar), adlay (Job’s tears), vegetable oil (palm oil), isomaltooligosaccharide, salt.

Brown Sugar Rice Snacks 1 FrontBrown Sugar Rice Snacks 1 - Back

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brown Sugar Rice Snacks. Ingredients: Rice (domestic), sugar, starch syrup, brown sugar, caramel.

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COOKIES

Lotus Biscoff/ロータス ビスコフ オリジナルカラメルビスケット. Ingredients: Wheat flour, sugar, vegetable oils, candy sugar syrup, raising agent (sodium hydrogen carbonate), soya flour (not genetically modified), salt, cinnamon. (Product contains soy).

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Mire Biscuits/ミレービスケット. Ingredients: Biscuit dough (wheat flour, sugar, shortening, glucose, salt), vegetable oil, salt/leavening agent, emulsifier (derived from soy).

Foods containing peanut, eggs, dairy, buckwheat, prawns, sesame, and cashew nuts are made on the same production line/with the same equipment.

The shortening is made of rapeseed oil and palm oil. It’s available in a round variety in lots of shops, but Sanrio lovers can get a whole box of a Hello Kitty-shaped variety by mail-order here. Or go for this long shelf life Hello Kitty-shaped version in a tin that you can even keep in your emergency kit in case of a disaster.

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While regular Oreos in Japan, unlike in some other countries, are not vegan as they contain dairy, there is currently one potentially vegan flavour of Oreo Crispy, Mint Ice Cream. The other flavours of Oreo Crispy, Vanilla Mousse and Chocolate Brownie, are not vegan as they contain dairy.

Oreo Crispy Mint Ice Cream/オレオ クリスピー ミントアイス. Ingredients: Wheat flour, sugar, vegetable oil, corn starch, cocoa powder, salt/leavening agent, emulsifier, flavouring, antioxidant (vitamin E, vitamin C), coloring (gardenia, carotene, turmeric). Product contains wheat and soy.

Products containing dairy and eggs are processed in the same factory.

These may be vegan, but the ingredient list doesn’t state the source of the vitamin E, flavouring, or emulsifier. Since it contains soy, the emulsifier could be soy emulsifer.

Photo from website.

Oreo Crispy Mint Ice Cream (2)

The following product may be vegan, but the ingredient list doesn’t state the source of the vitamin E or flavouring.

Natural Taste Products Vanilla Cream Cracker/自然味良品 バニラクリームクラッカー.  Ingredients: Wheat, sugar, vegetable oil, starch, salt, malt extract, leavening agent, flavouring, emulsifier (derived from soy), enzymes, antioxidants (BHT, vitamin E, vitamin C, citric acid).

WAFFLES

The following product was spotted at a Bio C’ Bon grocery store in Yokohama.

Crossroads Coconut Waffles, Cocoa/クロスロード ココナッツワッフル ココア. Ingredients: Organic flour, organic coconut milk, organic sugar, organic coconut oil, organic coconut cream, organic cocoa powder, organic agave syrup, baker’s yeast, organic coconut sugar, organic coconut (fine), sun salt, stabilizer (guar gum).

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Crossroads Coconut Waffles, Plain/クロスロード ココナッツワッフル プレーン. Ingredients: Organic flour, organic coconut milk, organic sugar, organic coconut oil, organic coconut cream, organic agave syrup, baker’s yeast, organic coconut sugar, organic coconut (fine), sun salt, stabilizer (guar gum).

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