The snack market continues to expand. Consumers routinely buy processed and packaged snacks. If you are looking for snacks without palm oil, I explain what to look for in the different snack categories. Thank you for being an educated consumer! By voting with our dollars, we can make a difference.
Here’s a list of easy, palm oil free snacks, especially in categories in which companies use palm oil often. Many are grab-and-go.
As with most things, the fewer ingredients something has, the less chance for palm oil, artificial colors, preservatives, etc.
This list is not guaranteed and is meant to be a starting point. To know for certain a product is Palm Oil Free, look for products with certification labels from the Orangutan Alliance or International Palm Oil Free Certification Trademark (POFCAP).
Palm Oil Free Snacks
Table of Contents
Toward the bottom is a list of snacks that usually don’t contain palm oil and are typically safe snacks for people who are avoiding palm products.
Chocolate and Candy
What to look for: Choose candy with the least amount of ingredients. Definitely read ingredients before you purchase.
In addition to Palm Oil and Palm Kernel Oil, manufacturers use Mixed Tocopherols, Tocopherols, Mono- and Diglycerides, Magnesium Stearate, Calcium Stearate, Glycerin, and other palm oil derivatives.
Candies in pieces often contain palm oil in the form of Magnesium Stearate and Calcium Stearate. These ingredients help prevent the candies from sticking to the machines and to each other.
We researched a list of Halloween candy without palm oil. You can choose palm free brands all year. Please check it out.
Cereal for a Snack
What to look for: It’s difficult to find cereal without palm oil because they are typically fortified with Vitamin A Palmitate. (“Palm” words contain, or are made with, palm oil.) If a cereal has a Vitamin A content of 10% or greater, you can check the ingredients and will likely see Vitamin A Palmitate was added.
Ready-to-eat cereal can make a great snack but it’s a challenge to find them without palm oil. Even granola often contains Glycerin, Glycerine, and/or Tocopherols, and Mixed Tocopherols, all which are typically made from palm oil in these types of products. Note, “Natural Flavors” often contain palm oil as well.
One brand, Purely Elizabeth Granola, makes most of their flavors without it. Purely Elizabeth Granola has a lot of large chunks, making it a great snack to pack for school lunches.
For a list of specific brands and flavors, see our list of cereal without palm oil. There are a few Post and Kashi cereals without it.
Even better, try making this easy granola recipe which will help reduce your reliance on processed foods. It’s a great recipe because you can add whatever you want to it (any dried fruit, nuts, seeds, chocolate chips, etc.). Also consider making oatmeal or cauliflower oatmeal, and just like with making granola, you can chop up fruit, add nuts, add pure maple syrup or honey (if not vegan) for endless combinations.
Chips without Palm Oil
What to look out for: Avoid canned chips and snacks. They often contain Palm Oil, Palm Kernel Oil, Monoglycerides, and Mono- and Diglycerides, which are typically made from palm oil. Organic potato chips often contain organic palm oil or organic red palm oil.
Chips is one category in which you should be able to find palm oil free snacks. Take a few moments to read labels, and choose the palm free option. In addition to potato chips, there are vegetable chips, plantain chips, and more. Tortilla chips are typically palm oil free. Be sure to read labels before buying.
See below for more information on potato chips without palm oil.
What to look for: Choose crunchy and not chewy cookies. Both non-organic and organic store-bought cookies usually contain palm oil. Refrigerated cookie dough contains palm oil.
Manufacturers introduce new flavors often. They typically contain palm oil. See our list of cookies without palm oil and the ingredients to watch out for. With cookies, I think it’s best to make your own. Cookies are easy to make. Here are some recipes to choose from:
- Crispy lemon cookies with 8 ingredients
- Thumbprint cookies with jam and glaze
- Small batch chocolate chip cookies in less than 30 minutes
- Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies
- Peanut butter cookies ~ 3 ingredients
- Edible cookie dough for one
Crackers without Palm Oil
What to look for: Read labels. You will see “palm oil” in many crackers now. In addition, watch for Monoglycerides, Mono- and Diglycerides, and DATEM.
Palm oil ingredients are common in crackers and cookies now because in the United States, the FDA banned companies from using artificial trans fats in their foods. Trans fats were common in crackers and cookies. Even saltine-type crackers use these ingredients. Buttery-type crackers do as well.
I believe Triscuits do not contain palm oil. Read labels at the point-of-sale. You should be able to find some palm oil free crackers.
Snack Cakes, Packaged Desserts, Doughnuts
What to look for: Know that when you buy sweet biscuits, packaged pastries, packaged cakes, and bakery snacks that are already prepared, they most always palm oil. Doughnuts always contain palm oil.
There are so many names for palm oil ingredients in baked goods; most don’t have “palm” in the name. I selected a few examples to spell out the palm oil ingredients in each one. If ingredients are listed multiple times, it’s because they appeared multiple times on the labels.
The brand I picked up had 40+ ingredients! The palm oil ingredients were: Palm Oil, Mono- & Diglycerides, Vitamin A Palmitate, Palm Oil, Mono- & Diglycerides, Palm Oil, Mono- & Diglycerides, Distilled Monoglycerides, Polysorbate 60
Apple Snack Pie:
Glycerin, Palm Oil & Fractionated Palm Oil, Mono-& Diglycerides, Palm and Palm Kernel Oil, Palm Oil with TBHQ and Citric Acid to protect flavor, Mono- And Diglycerides, Polysorbate 60, Polysorbate 80
Palm Oil, Palm Kernel Oil, Glycerin, Mono And Diglycerides, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Polysorbate 60
Make your own cakes and desserts for a much healthier option. When you bake your own from scratch, you can make them from real, whole foods. For some sweet treats, see desserts without palm oil. Make your own donut cake!
Fruit and Vegetable Chips
What to look for: These make for great snacks without palm oil. However, the only ingredients should be the fruit or vegetable. Any other ingredients should be ones you recognize, such as cane sugar, sea salt, etc.
Bare Snacks makes fruit chips without palm oil.
You may want to check if your oven has a dehydrating function. (I lived in my house for 7 years before noticing mine has one!) If your family enjoys fruit chips, it may end up being more economical to buy a food dehydrator and make your own. There are recipes to make the fruit more leathery (like dried fruit) or or crisp, like a chip.
Fruit Snacks and Fruit Strips without Palm Oil
What to look for: Many chewy foods contain palm in the form of Glycerin, Glycerine, Glyceryl, and Glycol. Many fruit snack manufacturers also fortify them with Vitamin A Palmitate as well.
Stretch Island Fruit Leathers and/or Fruit Strips are sometimes available at Costco and don’t contain palm oil. They only contain fruit. I also believe Good & Gather Organic Fruit Strips at Target do not contain palm ingredients. Though some contain Natural Flavors and don’t list the source.
Ice Cream without Palm Oil
What to look for: Read labels; don’t just buy what’s on sale. Be sure you are buying “ice cream” and not “frozen dessert” which most always contains palm oil. The cheaper brands most always use palm oil. However, some of the expensive brands do too, especially when it’s more than a basic vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry.
In addition to the “palm” words, watch for Mono- & Diglycerides, Polysorbate 80, Propylene Glycol Monostearate, etc. which are common in ice cream.
The exception to the rule of “the more complicated the flavor, the greater chance for palm oil” is Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. They have had a zero palm oil stance for years, no matter the flavor.
Learn about finding ice cream without palm oil for lots more info.
Peanut Butter and Nut Butters
What to look for: Peanut butter is another case when organic is not usually better. Most all of the store-brand, organic peanut butter at our local grocery store contains palm oil.
“No-Stir” and “No Need to Stir” labeling which means the product has palm oil. Also watch for Peanut Butter “Spreads” which also contain palm oil plus many other ingredients and chemicals.
Peanut and nut butters make a healthy on-the-go snack when it’s in its own container or pouch. At home, nut butters are easy to pair with apples, celery or toast.
Choose Palm Oil Free certified brands:
- Fix & Fogg certified all of their peanut butter Palm Oil Free through Orangutan Alliance. They also make almond butter and more.
- Wild Friends Foods certified all of their peanut and nut butters Palm Oil Free through the International Palm Oil Free Certification Trademark.
See our list of peanut butter without palm oil. There are some grab-and-go nut butters on this list as well, though it’s easy to put some in a reusable container. Learn how to make peanut butter in just 5 minutes.
What to look for: Buy already-popped or popcorn kernels. Completely avoid microwave popcorn unless you buy the palm oil free flavors from Quinn Snacks. Most of their flavors are palm-free.
Many holiday versions mean more ingredients which means a greater likelihood the snack will contain palm oil. These are brands that offer some palm free snack options:
- Angie’s Boom Chicka Pop
- Cracker Jack
- Lesser Evil Buddha Bowl Organic Popcorn
- Skinny Pop
- Quinn Snacks: Most of their microwavable flavors are free from palm oil which makes them a convenient snack.
See our list of palm free popcorn.
Potato Chips without Palm Oil
What to look for: Watch organic brands. Many organic potato chips contain Organic Palm Oil or Red Palm Oil. Read labels. Most chips in cans typically contain palm oil ingredients, including Monoglycerides which are typically made from palm oil. Shoestring potatoes contain palm oil as well.
Choose the basic chips such as sea salt or original versions. Kettle cooked is usually okay. You CAN find potato chips without palm oil. Read labels.
- Cape Cod Potato Chips
- Kettle Brand Potato Chips
- Sea Salt
- Lay’s Potato Chips
- Original Kettle Cooked
- Salt & Vinegar
Note: Lesser Evil makes their snacks without palm oil. They make organic popcorn, puffs, and potato chips.
What to look for: Many gluten-free and regular pretzels contain Tocopherols and/or DATEM, palm oil derivatives. Pretzels in large plastic containers sometimes contain palm oil. Read labels or buy them in bags.
Watch out for yogurt-covered and chocolate-covered and other flavors which have more ingredients and typically contain palm oil.
Also, be aware of Halloween versions in the small packs. Depending on the company, it may contain palm oil.
You should be able to find these snacks palm oil free so be sure to read labels before purchasing. Our favorite is Rold Gold. This post lists pretzels without palm oil.
Protein Meat Snacks
What to look for: Many shelf-stable meat and jerky products contain palm oil derivatives. I’ve found this to be the case with jerky for fundraisers as well.
Unless you contact the company, you won’t know if the Citric Acid are derived from palm oil.
Epic Bar said they make all of their meat snacks without palm oil.
- Epic Bar
- Snack Strips:
- Pork Skins:
Read labels, but you can often find puff snacks without palm oil.
- Lesser Evil Grain Free Paleo Puffs
- “No Cheese” Cheesiness
- Himalayan Pink Salt
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Pirate’s Booty Aged White Cheddar
What to look for: In addition to Palm Oil and Palm Kernel Oil, Glycerin, Glycerine and Tocopherols are common in snack bars. They are typically made with palm oil in these types of products. Avoid protein, nutrition, and snack bars with chocolate, peanut butter, caramel, fillings, and coatings as these almost always contain palm oil.
Most chewy bars use palm oil. Some crunchy snack bars do not, especially if they are fruit-flavored. Look for nutritional type bars which use figs or dates to bind their ingredients instead of palm oil ingredients.
A shout out to Enjoy Life Foods, first in the US to have their snack line of Grain & Seed Bars and four flavors of their Protein Bites to be certified as palm oil free. However, I don’t see they are currently making them… this is a shame!
I buy RXBAR. While not certified, I believe them to be palm oil free. They use refined coconut oil in their bars. They are always on the list of Costco foods I buy.
For specific brands and flavors, see our post with an extensive list of snack bars and granola bars without palm oil.
Also, if you are inclined, I highly suggest you consider making date bars. Baking with dates is easy if you have a high performance food processor or blender. Dates provide natural sweetness and help bind ingredients together. You can add lots of healthy ingredients such as nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and more.
Make Your Own Palm Free Snacks
There are so many things you can make. Muffins, trail mix, homemade granola, froze fruit bars, and many fruit-based desserts. One of my favorite, easy, no-bake recipes is:
Oat Peanut Butter Honey Balls
- Peanut Butter w/ just peanuts (+salt okay)
For easy cleaning, mix them together on wax paper or foil. Mix them on foil or wax paper for easy cleanup.
Shape into balls — they don’t have to be perfect; we use spoons to shape them. Then freeze them to set for as long as you want.
My son loves eating them frozen. I prefer them when they are set but not hard. You can add chocolate chips, etc. as well. They are perfect for breakfast and snacks.
For recipes, we use Crazy Richards Peanut Butter with just peanuts. It’s easy to use because it’s not as solid as some of the others.
Snacks Without Palm Oil
Remember, the less processed, the better. Eating real, unprocessed foods means you don’t have to worry about palm oil.
Food that doesn’t come in packages — fresh fruits and vegetables — all make delicious and nutritious snacks.
Think apples, mandarins, grapes, snap peas, snow peas, mini peppers, bananas, and more. They are easy to grab and go as well.
Kid-Friendly Snacks without Palm Ingredients
Usually, these types of kid-friendly snacks do not contain palm oil.
- Dried fruit: Look for packages that only contain one fruit and not a mix. Read the ingredients and look for fruit only. Watch for oils.
- Fresh fruit: Wash citrus fruit thoroughly; they can be coated in palm oil ingredients.
- Fruit-squeeze pouches
- Nuts, especially if it’s just one type of nut. Added salt is okay but there shouldn’t be other ingredients.
- Rice cakes
- Yogurt: Look for natural yogurts with live and active cultures. (Yogurt-covered fruit and nuts typically contain palm oil.)
Support snack products, brands, and flavors that don’t use any palm oil. You will make a difference. See our ultimate list palm oil free products for more choices.
Ways to Eat Less Palm Oil with Snacks
So much of our lifestyle is to eat on the run. When you buy packaged snacks, save them for these times and don’t eat them at home. Instead, eat fresh foods at home and other foods that may be more difficult to transport.
Also, start reading labels on the products you already have at home.
If you see “palm oil” or “palm kernel oil” — or any words with “palm” in them — finish them, but don’t buy them again.
The snack industry is $605 billion globally. Consumers snack regularly. One trend in snacking is consumers are replacing meals with snacks.
Consumers want exciting flavors with “fresh” packaging with clean labels and healthy and natural ingredients.
Remember, palm oil can still be hiding in these types of products. Read labels. Watch for palm oil derivatives.
Snack companies are using alternative ingredients, including many plant-derived and plant-based ingredients. Know that these can contain palm oil.
As with everything, less ingredients is better. Choosing fresh, real food for snacks means you won’t have to read labels.
Read Labels to Find Snacks Without Palm Oil
There are certain categories of foods and snacks in which palm oil ingredients are prevalent so always read labels. Also, companies change ingredients frequently. Sometimes you will see the exact same product on the shelf with different ingredients.
We are updating this list of palm oil free snacks regularly.
Please note, snack manufacturers change ingredients and vendors regularly. This is meant for reference purposes only. Please read ingredient labels at the point of purchase before buying snacks and processed foods.
This list is not guaranteed and is meant as a starting point. Let companies know you support foods without palm oil. For a product to be certified Palm Oil Free, it has to apply to the International Palm Oil Free Certification Trademark (POFCAP) or the Orangutan Alliance.
What are your favorite palm oil free snacks? Why do you avoid palm oil? Let us know in the Comments. Please be brand loyal to snacks you find that don’t use any palm oil ingredients.
Featured image credit (I modified it a bit by taking out the doughnuts): Tim Samuel, Pexels