The Cruelty-Free Review

A review of compassionate products, foods, and recipes

Snack Attack

I’m going to apologize in advance for the lack of pictures in this post. I’ve been trying to make sure I post my own pics and not just those from a website, but I occasionally get lazy and don’t feel like dragging out the camera, taking pics, uploading them to my computer, then to the post. But that’s not why pictures are lacking for this post. I have no pictures because the product in question doesn’t last long enough for a picture. I’m totally serious.

So, just what is so amazing that it practically disappears as soon as it crosses the threshold of the apartment? Only Earth Balance’s new vegan Aged White Cheddar Popcorn and White Cheddar Puffs.


I love Smart Foods White Cheddar popcorn. I can eat an entire bag. Not one of those ‘snack’ size bags but the big, this-should-last-you-at-least-a week size bag.  I haven’t eaten it nearly as much as I would in the past due to its un-vegan-ness but that hasn’t stopped me from indulging.  So imagine my delight when I saw that EB had created a vegan version of one of my all-time favorite junk foods.  I won’t lie and say that I didn’t have my doubts.  Could it possibly live up to the taste of the original?

I was fortunate enough to get the last bag on the shelf of my local Whole Foods a few weeks back. I raced home and opened the bag in eager anticipation. I threw a few pieces in my mouth and for a moment I thought I might cry. I tasted almost exactly like the Smart Foods version. In fact I found that I liked it more because the cheese flavor was not as overpowering.  I had Robert try some and he loved it too. I also noticed that it was a lot less powdery so I didn’t get a thick coating of ingredients on my fingers. But perhaps the best thing is the nutritional comparison. I always managed to fool myself into thinking that the Smart Foods version wasn’t that bad considering it was made with popcorn but  I’ll let the numbers speak for themselves.

Earth Balance Vegan Aged White Cheddar Popcorn

Earth Balance Vegan Aged White Cheddar Popcorn










Nutritional Information for Smart Foods White Cheddar Popcorn

Nutritional Information for Smart Foods White Cheddar Popcorn













With EB you get almost double the serving size with fewer calories, less saturated fat and more healthy fats, and less sodium. That’s not to say that eating an entire bag of EB popcorn is recommended, but if you do it certainly won’t be as bad.

Do you ever miss Cheetos Puffs since going vegan? EB has an answer for that as well-Aged White Cheddar Curls. These big, airy puffs of deliciousness are made with corn and…navy beans? That’s right. It sounds weird but after your first one you won’t be able to stop.  It’s almost like the beans add creaminess to the puffs.  That might not be the right way to describe it but you’ll know what I mean when you try them. Their nutritional content is even better than the popcorn, again making it less of a guilty pleasure.

Earth Balance White Cheddar Puffs

Earth Balance White Cheddar Puffs










Since trying both these products the first time a few weeks ago we have gone through 2 bags of the popcorn and 2 bags of the puffs. Neither bag has lasted through more than one sitting. They are just that damn good. We probably would have gone through more bags but more often than not they’re sold out, so I get them whenever I can. They also have a plain, buttered popcorn flavor that I haven’t tried but I imagine it’s equally delicious.  I highly suggest you snag a bag of either if you come across them and see for yourself how the evolution of vegan junk food is coming along.



This little guy applauds the EU ban.

This little guy applauds the EU ban.

It’s been a long time coming, but it has finally happened- The European Union has banned the import and sale of all animal-tested cosmetics! From the Opposing Views article:

After over 20 years of effort and delays, animals will no longer be used to test makeup, skin care products and other products in the European Union. The European Coalition to End Animal Experiments has succeeded in banning the use of animals in cosmetics testing in all member countries of the EU. We all celebrate with them!


As of March 11, 2013, the EU will ban the import and sale of animal-tested cosmetic products (including ingredients) for all member states. From this date forward, anyone selling new cosmetic products and ingredients in the European Union will not be allowed to test them on animals anywhere in the world, the reports.


Under the new rules, all personal care products, from high-end to drugstore brands, not only cannot be tested on animals, but neither can any of a given products’ ingredients, according to All toiletries and beauty products, from skin cream to toothpaste, will be affected.


Cosmetics will still be tested for safety by the companies that produce them, but using agreed-upon methods that do not involve animals.


Chief Executive of Cruelty Free International Michelle Thew said: “This is truly an historic event and the culmination of over 20 years of campaigning. Now we will apply our determination and vision on a global stage to ensure that the rest of the world follows this lead.”


This victory was largely due to the support of the new European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy Tonio Borg. The ECEAU states, “The former European Commissioner in charge of the EU’s cosmetics regulations had been considering recommendations to delay or weaken the ban, allowing the cosmetics industry to continue testing cosmetic products and ingredients on animals until they could find alternative methods, but it went through, thanks to Borg’s urging.”


The ban has been planned since 2009, but animal-testing campaigners feared a delay to the decision. EU Commissioner Tonio Borg wrote an open letter informing them that the ban is due to go ahead as proposed, and stating that he was “not planning to propose a postponement or derogation to the ban.”


The European Coalition to End Animal Experiments announced that its next goal is to end the use of animals in scientific experiments, stating that 12 million animals a year are used in Europe for this purpose, according to






On January 1, 2013, Israel banned the import, sale, and marketing of animal-tested cosmetics, toiletries, and household cleaners. In 2007, the Israeli government had banned the use of animals to test personal-care and household products within the country. In the new law, which came into effect January 1, 2013, lawmakers have blocked products that have been tested on animals in other countries from even crossing Israel’s border,




At the urging of Maneka Gandhi and Indian activists, India is currently revising its method of safety testing for cosmetics and it is hoped all animal testing will be banned. Indian Drug Control General Dr. Singh recently stated, “If animal testing of cosmetics isn’t mandatory by either the US FDA or the EU, it seems unnecessary for India to have them at all.”


Ms. Gandhi explained that India would lose tremendous revenue if the European countries are unable to purchase cosmetics from India because of its failure to comply with the new EU anti-cruelty laws, which prohibit subjecting innocent animals to unnecessary pain and suffering to test products.




One of the world’s largest markets, China still demands animal testing as a safety precaution, according to PETA states that Chinese companies are required by law to pay for testing before some cosmetics can be marketed to the public. PETA is working in Beijing, training scientists to test cosmetics with alternative methods.

This is such a huge leap forward in animal welfare and I can only hope that other countries follow suit.

Don’t go running out to buy that favorite European brand you abandoned years ago just yet. Despite laws against testing in the EU, some companies will still sell their products in countries like China, which require animal testing. And since the testing is conducted in China it falls outside the jurisdiction of the EU law. And to make matters worse the company has to pay for their own animal testing. That’s why companies like Avon, May Kay and Estee Lauder fell out of favor with PETA last year. Late last year Urban Decay, a popular cruelty-free company with many vegan cosmetic options, experienced first-hand the disappointment from consumers when they announced they were going to sell in China. After the backlash they quickly backed off from that decision and said they would not sell in China until the mandatory animal testing policies were outlawed. Hopefully countries like China will take a page from India and realize that they could suffer a huge blow in revenue if they fail to comply with the new laws and can’t sell in any EU country. Thankfully they are amenable to learning about alternatives to animal-testing. If you are in doubt as to whether a brand is or isn’t tested on animals, refer to Leaping You can trust them to list only companies that do not test products on animals in any country.

I wonder how this will affect US companies. Johnson and Johnson, Unilever, and SC Johnson are some of the biggest companies that still conduct animal testing and I can only imagine that they will take a huge financial hit if they can no longer sell in Europe. I hope this will be the catalyst that causes them to reconsider their stance on animal testing.