There are potentially vegan potato chips and corn chips in most supermarkets and convenience stores in Japan. One of the main issues is whether the amino acid and flavourings are animal or plant derived. Below are some examples.
• Calbee Salted Jagged Potato Chips/Calbee ポテトチップスギザギザ味わいしおしお味. Ingredients: Potato (non-genetically modified), vegetable oil, salt (54% Sicilian rock salt, 44% Australian sea salt), dextrin, yeast extract, spice, sugar, onion powder, flavouring (contains soy), seasoning (amino acid, etc.). Photo from Calbee’s website.
They are fried with palm oil and rice oil and made on common manufacturing equipment with products containing egg, milk, wheat, shrimp, and crab.
• Family Mart Lightly Salted Potato Chips with Two Kinds of Salt/ ファミリーマート ポテトチップス2種のうすしお味. Ingredients: Potatoes (non-genetically modified), vegetable oil, salt (60% rock salt from France, 40% Setouchi sea salt), dextrin, sugar, corn starch, seasoning (amino acids, etc.).
100% domestically grown potatoes used.
• Family Mart Strong Laver & Salt Potato Chips/ファミリーマート ポテトチップス濃いめのり塩. Ingredients: Potatoes (not genetically modified), vegetable oil, salt, nori, sea lettuce, red pepper, seasoning (amino acids, etc.).
Both kinds of seaweeds and the salt are domestically produced.
• Fukagawa Oil &Fat Company, Ltd. Lightly Salted Chemical Seasoning & Additive-free Potato Chips/深川油脂工業 化学調味料無添加ポテトチップスうす塩味. Ingredients: Domestically produced non-gmo potatoes, vegetable fats & oils, salt.
• Natural Lawson Potato Chips fried in Olive Oil/オリーブオイルで揚げたポテトチップス. Ingredients: Potato (not genetically modified), olive oil, salt (100% Italian sun-dried salt used).
These excellent potato chips are available at Lawson and Natural Lawson convenience stores.
• Natural Lawson Sweet Potato Chips/種子島産安納芋チップス. Ingredients: Sweet potato (100% annou imo from Tanegashima), vegetable oil.
These sweet potato chips are available at Lawson and Natural Lawson. They use “annou imo,” a special type of potato with a high sugar content and orange-hued flesh, which is grown on Tanegashima, an island located to the south of Kyushu.
• Pure, Made In-Country Potato Chips- Seaweed Salt, Lightly Salted, and Black Sesame/純国産ポテトチップス- のり塩、うすしお、黒ごま. Ingredients (Seaweed Salt/のり塩): Hokkaido potatoes, rice oil, salt, roasted seaweed. Ingredients (Lightly Salted/うすしお): Hokkaido potatoes, rice oil, salt. Ingredients (Black Sesame/黒ごま): Hokkaido potatoes, rice oil, black sesame, salt. All ingredients produced domestically. Note that the Citron/柚子 flavor is not vegan as it contains fish powder.
• 7-11 Salt potato chips (with salt from Ishigaki island)/7-11石垣の塩で味付け厚切りポテト. Ingredients: potatoes (not genetically modified, vegetable oil, salt (100% salt from Ishigaki island used), corn starch, yeast extract powder, kombu powder.
7-11’s customer service has stated that they don’t know if their fresh products like anman and rice balls have small amounts of animal products since they are made in different locations across the country (with the exception of the salt onigiri, which is animal-ingredient free). It isn’t clear if their packaged items like chips are the same.
The Calbee Jyagariko salad flavoured potato sticks below are not vegan because they contain skim milk powder. And, as you might expect, the cheese flavour contains cheese, and the butter potato flavour contains butter.
• Que Pasa Nacho Chips. Ingredients (Nacho): Volcanic stone ground corn*, sunflower* and/or safflower* oil, vegan nacho seasoning* (rice flour*, cane sugar*, sea salt, onion powder*, tomato powder*, yeast extract*, garlic powder*, paprika powder*, vegan cheddar cheese flavor*, spices*, jalapeño pepper powder*, red bell pepper powder*, green bell pepper powder*, annatto extract*, lactic acid, citric acid), chia seeds*, red quinoa*, trace of lime. *Organic.
• Que Pasa Jalapeno & Lime Chips. Ingredients (Jalapeno & Lime): Volcanic stone ground corn*, sunflower* and/or safflower* oil, jalapeño lime seasoning* (rice flour*, cane sugar*, sea salt, lime juice powder* (maltodextrin*, lime juice*), green bell pepper powder*, onion powder*, garlic powder*, yeast extract*, jalapeño pepper powder*, chipotle pepper powder*, spices*, lime flavor*, citric acid), chia seeds*, red quinoa*, trace of lime. *Organic.
Both varieties of Que Pasa chips are labeled vegan on the package and can be found in upscale and specialty stores.
• Tonkari Corn Chips. Ingredients: Corn, vegetable oil, sugar, salt, soy sauce powder, spice, seasoning (mineral salt etc.), baking soda, caramel colouring, antioxidant (Vitamin E). Contains soy and wheat.
• Dontacos Corn Chips – Grilled Corn Flavour. Ingredients: Corn (non-genetically modified), vegetable oil, soy sauce powder, sugar, salt, supersweetcorn powder, rice powder, flavoured powdered oil, seasoning (amino acid), caramel colouring, sweetener (stevia), flavouring. Contains wheat and soy. Manufactured in a facility that also makes products containing egg, milk, shrimp and crab. Note: the amino acid and flavouring may be animal derived.
The Chili Taco flavoured corn chips are not vegan as they contain cheese powder and chicken powder.
These Doritos corn chips are potentially vegan:
• Doritos Corn Chips – Taco Flavour. Ingredients: Corn (non-genetically modified), vegetable oil, sugar, spice, salt, protein hydrolyzate, soy sauce powder, powdered sugar (sugar, oligosaccharides), tomato flavoured powder, yeast extract powder, dehydrated vegetables, powdered vinegar, flavoured oil, seasoning (amino acid), flavouring, acidity regulator, paprika pigment, spice extracts. Contains wheat. Manufactured in a facility that also makes products containing milk, egg, shrimp and crab. Note: the amino acid and flavouring may be animal derived. It appears the protein hydrolyzate is not whey protein as there is no allergen indicator for milk.
• Calbee (Natural Calbee) Bean Chips (Peas)/Natural Calbee（ナチュラル カルビー）
ビーンズチップスえんどう豆. Ingredients: Peas, vegetable oil, wheat bran, salt, powdered vegetable oil / antioxidant (vitamin C).
Wave-shaped chips with added dietary fiber from wheat bran. Photo from Calbee’s website.
• Natural Lawson Calbee Vegips Sweet Potato Carrot Pumpkin/ベジップスさつまいもにんじんかぼちゃ. Ingredients: Sweet potatoes, carrot, pumpkin, vegetable oil.
These chips don’t use sugar or salt and let you taste the natural sweetness of the vegetables.
• Natural Lawson Calbee Vegips Fried Yam, Lotus Root and Sweet Potato/ベジップス3種の根菜 長いも・れんこん・さつまいも. Ingredients: lotus root, yam, sweet potato, vegetable oil.
These chips don’t use sugar or salt and let you taste the natural flavors of the root vegetables.