Cheerios are one of the oldest and most well-known brands of breakfast cereal in the US. Whether you grew up eating plain old-fashioned Cheerios or you were one of the lucky kids whose parents bought them the sweet, flavored Cheerios, we’ve all had them at least once in our lives!
The real question, though, is, “Are Cheerios vegan?”
Unfortunately, Cheerios are not vegan-friendly. Compared to most of the other sugar-loaded breakfast cereals on the market, Cheerios are pretty healthy.
However, they contain added vitamin D3, which is non-vegan and is derived from sheep’s wool. This means that they’re generally considered a non-vegan cereal.
Thankfully, there are plenty of other vegan-friendly cereals on the market!
Below, I’ll break down all of the main ingredients in Cheerios and explain whether or not ANY flavor of Cheerios are vegan. Take a look!
Do Cheerios Have Animal Products In Them?
If you just look at the ingredients list of Cheerios, you won’t find any obvious ingredients. All of the ingredients appear to be plant-based, other than one or two artificial preservatives designed to keep the cereal shelf-stable.
Like most mainstream breakfast cereals, though, Cheerios contain an added blend of vitamins and minerals, including:
This is part of what allows the company to market its products as a “healthy breakfast.” The amount of vitamins and minerals that you get in a serving of Cheerios is equivalent to eating a small serving of fruits or leafy greens.
There’s only one small problem – Vitamin D3 isn’t vegan.
This is because vitamin D3 is derived from sheep’s wool. As far as most vegans are concerned, wool is non-vegan, as it involves a significant amount of animal cruelty.
Additionally, once the sheep stop producing as much wool, they’re sent straight to the slaughterhouse for meat, which directly supports the meat industry.
How Do Vegans Get Their Vitamin D?
The best way to get vitamin D is just to spend a couple of hours out in the natural sunlight! However, not everybody has a schedule that allows them to experience the outdoors very often. As a result, vitamin D deficiency is becoming a more prevalent problem among Americans.
That being said, vitamin D2, is 100% vegan and is a great way to supplement if your vitamin D levels are low!
Cheerios Ingredients: Listed
I always like to give you guys a quick breakdown of the main ingredients of each food product, so you can see for yourselves. So, here’s a quick breakdown of all of the main ingredients in the original Cheerios cereal.
1) Whole Grain Oats
Whole grain oats are generally considered healthy and are a great source of natural dietary fiber and complex carbohydrates. Whole grain oats are also used in some of my favorite vegan bread!
Cornstarch is a simple carbohydrate that’s derived from corn (surprise, surprise). It’s commonly used in baking, as it helps hold things together. It also creates a slightly crunchy consistency when you take a bit of the cereal.
Although white sugar isn’t exactly an “animal product,” it’s typically filtered through animal bone char.
To turn organic brown cane sugar into the pretty white crystals that most people expect, it must first be filtered through a type of charcoal made from animal bones. This is why PETA (and most vegans) try to avoid white sugar.
Salt is used in baking and adds a bit of flavor to the low-sugar cheerios. It also strengthens the dough that Cheerios are made of, which results in a “stronger” cereal that won’t crumble and break as easily.
5) Tripotassium Phosphate
Tripotassium phosphate is a type of water-soluble salt that’s added to Cheerios to adjust the acidity level and ensure that the Cheerios have a mild, pleasant flavor.
6) Vitamin E
Vitamin E is a plant-derived oil that’s healthy for your skin, hair, and nails. However, it also acts as a natural preservative, which is why it’s added to Cheerios!
7) Added Vitamins & Minerals
Last but not least, Cheerios contain added vitamins and minerals, which fortify the cereal and make it healthier. Sadly, this is where vitamin D3 (which is non-vegan) comes into play.
Are ANY Flavors Of Cheerios Vegan?
Unfortunately, there are no vegan-friendly flavors of Cheerios. All Cheerios flavors contain the same added vitamins and minerals, which include non-vegan vitamin D3.
Additionally, all Cheerios flavors are made with white sugar, which is refined through animal bone char. Some flavors, such as Honey Nut Cheerios, also contain honey, which is generally regarded as a non-vegan animal product.
Conclusion – Try Vegan-Friendly Cereal Brands Instead!
Although most General Mills products are non-vegan, there are plenty of vegan-friendly alternatives instead. In fact, there’s a vegan version of most of your favorite classic breakfast cereal brands.
If you’re looking for a healthy, cruelty-free cereal, be sure to check out my list of the best vegan cereal brands next!