Are Immaculate Baking Company Biscuits Vegan or Vegetarian? We Get the Answer Plus Info on KFC Biscuits and Pillsbury Biscuits

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And you can quote me: "If you are vegetarian, as am I, or vegan, you may have found yourself wondering whether Immaculate Baking Company's biscuits are vegetarian, owing to the listing of "natural flavor" in the ingredients. Same for KFC biscuits (Kentucky Fried Chicken). The thing is, "natural flavor" or "natural flavoring" (or "flavour" or "flavouring") in a list of ingredients is often code for "animal derived product". And not just animal derived, like milk, but dead animal derived, like chicken fat or bacon grease. "

Posted in Recipes and Food, January 15th, 2018


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[Updated 1/17/18! Keep reading for the definitive answer!]
If you are vegetarian, as am I, or vegan, you may have found yourself wondering whether Immaculate Baking Company’s biscuits are vegetarian, owing to the listing of “natural flavor” in the ingredients. Same for KFC biscuits (Kentucky Fried Chicken). The thing is, “natural flavor” or “natural flavoring” (or “flavour” or “flavouring”) in a list of ingredients is often code for “animal derived product”. And not just animal derived, like milk, but dead animal derived, like chicken fat or bacon grease.

Having looked all up and down the can (canister? container? just what do you call that pop’n’fresh whack-on-the-counter packaging?) and finding no indication whatsoever as to whether the Immaculate Baking Company biscuits are vegetarian, let alone vegan, and finding that vague and ambiguous (if not downright troubling) ingredient, ‘Natural Flavor’, I of course took to the Internet, sure that the answer as to whether Immaculate’s natural flavor was animal derived and whether the biscuits were vegetarian or vegan would be easy to find.

Not so much.

In fact, in over 1,000,000 search results the answer was not to be found; at least not to be found in the first several pages.

So I decided to write to Immaculate Baking Company directly, asking them point blank about the matter.

Here’s what I wrote:

Hello,

Can you please let me know whether your biscuits are vegetarian or vegan, or if the natural flavor listed as an ingredient comes from animals?

Thank you!

Anne

And here is the reply that I received:

From: Corporate.Response@genmills.com
Subject: Your Response From Immaculate Baking – 2018/01/10-1452US

Dear Anne,

Thank you for contacting Immaculate Baking.

Per Labeling: Flaky Biscuits do not contain animal ingredients.
Thank you for your interest in Immaculate Baking. We hope this information is helpful to you.

Sincerely,
Rosemary Walters
Consumer Relations Representative

At first I was pleased by this response. Then I realized that the representative had included “Per Labeling”. Had she simply looked at the label and assumed (as many would) that there were no animal products listed in the ingredients (overlooking my specific question about the source of the ‘natural flavor’)?

I wrote back, but I also knew it would take one to two days to hear back from them. So I called their 800 number to see if I could get confirmation any more quickly that way.

Guess what, I couldn’t. The very pleasant person who answered the phone said that she was not authorized to tell me what the ‘natural flavor’ was, because “if they listed all of their ingredients, then people could copy their product.” So, she told me, she was going to have to send my query to a ‘product specialist’, and they would get back to me in…wait for it, one to two days.

This is actually at least better than my quest to determine whether the ‘natural flavor’ in KFC (Kentucy Fried Chicken) biscuits was vegetarian or not. In that case the very nice representative basically did the same search on their website that I did, and then apologized that she couldn’t help me more.

Me: “You mean that you have no access to resources other than performing the very same search on the very same site that I just searched myself??”

Her: “I’m afraid so.”

Me: (Thinking to self) At least Immaculate Baking was able to boot it up to a product specialist..of course I may never actually hear back from them.

So, that’s where this stands. Hopefully they will actually get back to me, and even more hopefully that natural flavor in their biscuits will actually be vegetarian, if not vegan.

Another note, which the astute of you will have already noticed from the email address: Immaculate Baking company is now a division of giant food conglomerate General Mills. So, as with everything, let your conscience be your guide.

UPDATE! On 1/17/18 (so indeed two days later) I heard back from Immaculate (a/k/a subsidiary of General Mills). Here is what they said:

Dear Ms. Mitchell,

Thank you for contacting Immaculate Baking.

Organic Natural Biscuits IBC Flaky 16 oz, UPC: 665596010026 doesn’t contain animal besides milk.
Thank you for your interest in Immaculate Baking. We hope this information is helpful to you.

Sincerely,
Rosemary Walters
Consumer Relations Representative
##:18563609

So there you have it! I’m keeping the below intact in case you want information about other vegetarian or vegan biscuit options (for example if Immaculate Baking brand is not available in your area):

In the meantime, if you are jonesing for biscuits but don’t want to or have the time to make your own, Pillsbury biscuits are vegetarian. Which doesn’t mean that they don’t contain some ingredients at which you may raise your eyebrows for other reasons.

(Note: While some say that the process for bleaching bleached flour involves using animal bone char, much like some white sugars, I could find no evidence of this – but I did find many sites debunking it. On the other hand, it is true that some white sugars are still made white using bone char as a filter/purifier, and the Pillsbury biscuits do have sugar, so you will need to let your conscience and where you fall on the vegetarian/vegan spectrum guide you.)

Pillsbury Grands Biscuit Ingredients

(From the Pillsbury website)

Enriched Flour Bleached (wheat flour, niacin, ferrous sulfate, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), Water, Soybean Oil, Sugar, Baking Powder (sodium acid pyrophosphate, baking soda, sodium aluminum phosphate). Contains 2% or less of: Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Salt, Whey, Xanthan Gum.

 

And if you have a little more time and energy, Bisquick is also vegan (with the same caveats as for the Pillsbury biscuits, although note that Bisquick does not have sugar in it).

Bisquick Baking Mix Ingredients

(From the Betty Crocker website)

Enriched Flour Bleached (wheat flour, niacin, iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and/or Cottonseed Oil, Leavening (baking soda, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate), Dextrose, Salt.

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