What Cereals are Vegan?
I’ve been asked this question countless times over the years, and there isn’t an easy answer, so let’s delve into it.
Long gone are the days of vegans eating a boring vegetable led diet, you can now get vegan everything from fried chicken to fish fingers, and beyond burgers to beef jerky! But why is vegan cereal so complicated?
The only Vegan cereal on supermarket shelves proud enough to shout about it with the ‘Forever Vegan’ tagline is the British classic Shreddies. All 3 tasty varieties, Original, Coco, and Frosted are perfect for a vegan diet, especially drowned with some hot oat milk on a cold December morning, Vegan powers activated!
So what makes Cereal, not Vegan?
Well, the main culprit is the beloved cereal marshmallow, these crunchy bad boys contain (usually pork) Gelatine, which comes from boiling down the skin, bone, and cartilage of cows or pigs, this gives that jelly-like texture that is used in gummy sweets, some deserts, jelly, chews, marshmallows, shampoos, face masks, the list goes on! Lucky charms aren’t sounding so charming anymore? You’ll Also find gelatine in the frosting on a Pop-tart, so opt for an Unfrosted Pop-tart for the animal product free experience.
And it’s not just marshmallows that ruin the vegan party, vitamin D sounds like a harmless ingredient on the back of a cereal box, but this little additive opens up a can of worms!
What is Vitamin D and why do cereals even need it?
Vitamin D is good for your skin teeth and bones, and a diet low in vitamin D can cause some nasty medical problems like Rickets. It’s hard to get kids to eat foods rich in natural vitamin D, like mackerel, beef liver, and salmon, so Cereal Companies Fortify their cereals with Vitamins and minerals. You’ll find vitamin D in a most Cereals, everything from Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, to Coco Pops, to Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Froot Loops . Now the recipe doesn’t require it, but cereal companies want to appeal to the parents buying their kids breakfasts by fortifying their cereals with vitamins and minerals. You can also get vitamin D from the sun, but I guess it’s easier to make a kid eat cereal than spend an extended period of time outside.
You still haven’t told me what vitamin D is?
I’m getting there, I told you it wasn’t an easy answer. vitamin D comes in 2 forms, D2 & D3, with the former may come from a plant-based source and the latter coming from the grease of sheep’s wool! Yep sheep’s wool grease, which is extracted after the sheep have been sheared. I bet you didn’t think your bowl of coco pops contain part of a sheep’s haircut? The more you know eh? if a product contains vitamin D and doesn’t state a number, it’s best to assume it’s not vegan.
So if i avoid those ingredients i’ll be a happy vegan?
Not quite, some cereals are sweetened with honey, which obviously comes from Bee’s spit, and If you read the ingredients list of any supermarket shelf cereal, you’ll see E numbers, additives, and lots of words that belong in a chemistry book. Some cereals are also packaged in factories that handle dairy, and some contain genetically modified ingredients. With all these ingredients and factors in mind it’s hard to claim any of the products totally vegan, as some of the additives may have been tested on animals in its history, but to help out anyone wanting to make better vegan choices we’ve categorised any cereals that don’t contain honey, vitamin D, or gelatine as Vegan-friendly.
So there you have it, that was a wild ride! Don’t we all feel educated?
Shop our Vegan-friendly cereals below