Finding the best vegan snacks is easier than ever—and at our newest discovery Hive Brands, there’s even more to the selections to feel good about. Why? The online grocery store prioritizes sustainable food that’s better for your health and the planet.
Many of us live for that special time of the day when we can kick back and unwind with our favorite vegan snack—a handful of crunchy potato chips, a wedge of dark chocolate, a few morsels of chewy plant-based jerky—and relish the small moments of pleasure this daily ritual inspires.
And then our mind drifts to the environmental impact of our consumer choices and takes all the fun out of the experience. Has that ever happened to you? When you care about animals and the planet we all share, it comes with the territory. Thankfully, there are choices we can make to take the guilt out of “guilty pleasure” and alleviate the strain on the planet. It’s all about choosing the right brands (you know—the ones making the best vegan snacks!), so that our values are in perfect alignment with our palates.
Maybe you can’t spare endless hours of research to vet all of your favorite vegan snack brands. Turns out there’s no need to reinvent the wheel, because Hive—an ecosystem of people, brands, and causes working in sync to guide us toward more sustainable options—has already done the hard work of sussing out truly green brands making the best vegan snacks in every salty, sweet, and in-between category out there (there are literally 2,000 vegan products on their site!).
The Hive Five
Hive’s guiding principle is the Hive Five, a set of standards they’ve developed to ensure that every product they sell has a positive impact. That includes traceable ingredients so you know how and where each product was produced; recyclable packaging so you’re not contributing to the waste stream; a low carbon footprint to mitigate the environmental impact; a commitment to social good, because we want our choices to go the extra mile and stand for something; and lastly, they’ve got to be rave-worthy, because what is a vegan snack if it’s not absolutely scrumptious?
We discovered Hive by accident, but it’s no accident that we are now loyal customers who never miss an opportunity to let others in on this well-kept secret. Even beyond the brand’s sustainable value system, Hive is setting a new standard for consumers and producers alike to take their values to the next level. We love that it has made lifting up women-owned brands part of the business model. Ditto for BIPOC-owned companies. And Hive walks the talk when it comes to consumer waste by shipping in eco-friendly boxes that are the right size for your order (why can’t every company do this?!). And thanks to carbon offsetting, 100 percent of Hive’s shipping is carbon neutral.
The Hive marketplace isn’t just limited to vegan snacks—you can shop for everything from vegan dog food to vitamins—but the curated trove of plant-based treats is what keeps us coming back for more.
The 11 best vegan snacks at Hive
Becoming a vegan snack connoisseur doesn’t happen overnight; it requires patience, practice, and skilled tastebuds. Each of the 11 vegan snacks we’ve selected here has not only been through Hive’s rigorous vetting system but our finicky team of VegNews’ editors’ checklist, too. Everything here is 100-percent plant-based, sustainably packaged, part of an ethical production system, and—we solemnly swear—the very best vegan snacks around.
1 Applewood BBQ Mushroom Jerky by Pan’s Mushroom Jerky
Taking pleasure in what we eat goes beyond flavor; it involves the interplay of taste, aroma, and texture, too. This mushroom jerky gives us the full monty when it comes to savory vegan snacks, with a super-satisfying chewiness, a tangy-sweet dance on the tongue (the Applewood BBQ flavor is our go-to), and an alluring smokiness that stirs up primal feelings with each bite. We love that this jerky is made with organic shiitake ‘shrooms, which studies show support immune health, and the fact that Pan’s is BIPOC-owned and packaged in the West Coast vegan capital of Portland, OR.
2 Peanut Butter Filled Pretzel Nuggets by Quinn Foods
Pop one of these loaded pretzel bombs into your mouth, and you get that all-important salty crunch factor first, followed by a melt-in-your-mouth explosion of luscious peanut butter. Basically, these vegan snacks are a twofer that satisfies all the cravings. These creamy peanut butter pretzel nuggets aren’t like the other filled nuggets out there, though; they’re made with sorghum, an ancient grain that’s naturally gluten-free and requires less water to grow than wheat. The icing on the pretzel? Quinn integrates regenerative practices into the farming of its crops to replenish the soil, and was started by a mother on a mission to create clean snacks without the chemicals.
3 Cheddarish Vegan Crackers by Green Mustache
Once upon a time, cheesy fish-shaped crackers played a part in our snacking experience, but then we wisened up and discovered plant-based versions that taste identical but have a lower environmental impact and don’t interfere in the lives of animals. Oh, and these revamped crackers we’ve grown to love aren’t shaped like sea creatures, but like teeny-tiny mustaches! These vegan cheddar crackers get their cheesy flavor from chickpeas (really), and include novel ingredients like organic kale and pea protein. You might be tempted to eat the whole bag in one sitting, but we recommend savoring them slowly for maximum enjoyment.
4 Salted Almond Butter Dark Chocolate Bar by Dr. Bronner’s
Family-owned company Dr. Bronner’s surprised us when they branched out from their spectacular Castile soaps and into the dark and delicious world of chocolate. But we weren’t the least bit surprised to discover that each organic, fair-trade bar—including the scrumptious salted almond butter dark chocolate—is made from ethically cultivated cacao grown through regenerative farming practices. We expect no less from this decades-old legacy brand known for its quirky labels and eco-friendly values. And while chocolate always gives us the feels, knowing that Dr. Bronner’s directs one-third of its profits to support issues we care about (animal advocacy, criminal justice reform), makes us feel even better about indulging in vegan snacks.
5 Strawberry, Banana & Peach Fruit Chews by Spark Organics
The mere mention of “fruit chews” is all it takes to get our mouths activated for a tart and tangy treat, and we’re especially fond of these organic strawberry-banana-peach chews at Hive. Besides being organically grown and non-GMO, each chew brims with real antioxidant-rich fruit, which practically makes these vegan snacks a health food! Founded by a pair of brothers who wanted a cleaner alternative to the mainstream chews they grew up snacking on, they turned a problem—the ubiquitous waste of blemished fruit—into a creative solution. These fruity morsels are kid-friendly, but some grown-ups have been known to hoard bags of these in their desk drawer at the office (we won’t mention any names).
6 Sea Salt Pulp Chips by Pulp Pantry
You’ve heard of upcycling furniture and clothes, but how about chips? Sounds wacky, but hear us out! These sea salt pulp chips are made from fiber-rich organic kale and celery pulp leftover from the juicing industry that would otherwise end up in landfills. When you consider that 40 percent of food grown in the US goes to waste, it makes sense to divert this healthy plant matter away from the waste stream and transform it into something new and downright delish. Try dipping these grain-free squares into your favorite salsa, or just eat ‘em straight out of their recyclable bag.
7 Cacao & Quinoa Crispy Chocolate Bites by Candid
Cacao and quinoa make an unexpected, albeit genius, coupling. Like the crispy rice chocolate bars of yore, these chocolate quinoa snacks tantalize tastebuds with their creamy-crunchy, naturally sweetened goodness, and keep it simple with just six ingredients (one of which is cacao pulp, making it a whole-food treat with healthy amounts of magnesium, vitamins, and antioxidants). We appreciate a pared-down vegan snack, especially when it’s made from responsibly sourced chocolate and unadulterated organic ingredients. In a word, yum.
8 Straw-Peary Sun-Dried Superfruit Blend by RIND
RIND’s motto gets right to the point: “The fruit, the whole fruit, and nothing but the fruit.” They don’t mince words because they don’t have to; their sun-dried strawberry-pear superfruit blend is naturally delicious, with just a little help from the sun to turn imperfect, overripe fruit (code for extra flavorful) into perfectly yummy, chewy vegan snacks. RIND’s MO is to leave the skins on—there are nutrients in those peels!—eliminating unnecessary waste, and every year they donate their packaged goodies to a number of local community groups that work to fight hunger. If you love a treat with a mission, RIND is here for you!
9 Sourdough Sea Salt Crackers by Moonshot
When we want to take our vegan snack game to the next level, we get out the dips and crackers, and not just any old crackers. They’ve got to have something a little extra, like these sourdough sea salt crackers. These crunchy morsels have that classic fermented tang you get with a good sourdough, and just the right amount of salt. Those complex flavors are earthy and sophisticated, just like the brand itself. Moonshot, a woman-owned, certified B-Corp, is committed not only to reducing its carbon footprint by reducing emissions and offsetting but also applies regenerative farming practices before packing those yummy crackers into recyclable boxes.
10 Classic Blackout Bar by Alter Eco
Sometimes, only pure, extra-dark chocolate is going to satisfy our vegan snack craving. When those cravings come a-callin’, we reach for this ultra-rich chocolate bar, made with 85-percent dark chocolate. One bite alone can brighten up our entire afternoon, but each bar is so much more than just a special indulgence; Alter Eco’s ethics are sweet, too. They source their cacao from small-scale farmers who are paid 33 percent more than the standard Fair Wage pay and help them expand their earning potential with dynamic agroforestry (400 farmers have benefited since they launched this program in 2015). How cool is that?
11 Rosemary Pita Chips by Brewer’s
You may have noticed that upcycling is a hot trend in vegan snacks, and these rosemary pita chips are in on it, too. They’ve taken the clever, extremely creative step of incorporating grain waste—sprouted barley and wheat—from the beer-brewing industry to make crunchy snacks that straddle the line between a chip and a cracker. Seasoned with a little dried rosemary and a dash of sea salt, these pita chips transform our vegan cheese boards and game-day appetizer trays from mundane to magic. Based in Boston, the brand also donates to local food programs that help people in need.
Thank you to Hive Brands for supporting independent media and partnering with VegNews on this story.