Frosted Flakes are one of Kellogg’s signature brands of cereals and are one of the most popular cereals on grocery store shelves.
Growing up, I remember all of the commercials with their “Tony the Tiger” mascot helping kids have a great day by eating the sugary corn flakes. However, like most cereal brands, Frosted Flakes aren’t quite as innocent as they seem…
Are Frosted Flakes vegan?
Frosted Flakes may seem like an “accidentally vegan” cereal at first. However, a deeper look at the ingredients will reveal that they contain two not-so-vegan ingredients.
Frosted Flakes contain both refined white sugar and vitamin D3, both of which are questionable additives that almost always involve some form of animal cruelty.
Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of delicious vegan cereals on the market! Sadly, though, Frosted Flakes are not among them. Neither are most mainstream brands of cereals made by companies like Kellogg’s, General Mills, or Post.
In today’s post, I’ll answer all of the vegan-related questions you’ve ever been curious about regarding Frosted Flakes. Then, I’ll give you a full explanation of all of the ingredients used in the cereal and explain the problem with white sugar and vitamin D3. Take a look!
Do Frosted Flakes Have Dairy?
If you’ve ever eaten a bowl of Frosted Flakes before, then you may have noticed that they have a smooth, almost creamy texture when they first touch your tongue. This texture is often the result of added dairy products such as whey or casein, both of which are milk-derived proteins.
One of the best examples of this is Hot Cheetos, which uses whey as a binding agent to help the cheesy seasoning stick to the fried chips.
While many of Kellogg’s cereals contain dairy by-products, Frosted Flakes are 100% dairy-free.
The only time Frosted Flakes have dairy is after you’ve poured your milk on them. So, if you’re lactose-intolerant, then don’t be afraid to try a bowl of Frosted Flakes!
However, don’t get excited just yet, because they still aren’t vegan-friendly. They might taste “Grrr…eat!” but they contain animal-derived ingredients.
Do Frosted Flakes Contain Gelatin?
Gelatin is another common additive in snacks, sweets, and breakfast foods. In fact, it’s one of the main ingredients used in Pop-Tarts, another popular breakfast snack produced by Kellogg’s.
Despite its rather “fun” name, gelatin is probably the furthest thing from a vegan-friendly product! That’s because gelatin is an extract of animal remains, like bones and tendons.
When gelatin is mixed with food, it makes it more solid and helps it retain its shape. That classifies gelatin as an emulsifier. Since it’s incredibly cheap, it’s used by a variety of different food companies.
While many cereal brands do contain some small amount of gelatin, Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes are gelatin-free.
Is The Sugar In Cereal Vegan?
Above, you may have noticed that I mentioned how the sugar used to make Frosted Flakes isn’t exactly vegan-friendly.
“But wait – Isn’t sugar a plant-based sweetener that comes from sugarcane?”
Well, yes… And no.
All sugar starts off as a 100% plant-based, vegan sweetener. To extract sugar, sugarcane stalks are crushed to release their sugar-laden juice.
The water is then evaporated from the mixture, leaving the pure sugar crystals behind. In its natural form, sugar is light brown, has a malty, syrup-like flavor, and is usually formed into large crystals.
The problems arise after the raw sugar is processed into the pure white sugar that’s used by most food companies today.
To turn organic raw sugar into white sugar, the large brown crystals must first be filtered through animal bone char – a special type of high-carbon charcoal that’s made using the fire-blackened bones of cows and pigs.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
This filtration process removes the brown coloring and the malty syrup (which is later re-added to make molasses). The result is a more “pure” sugar that doesn’t have as strong of a flavor as the raw turbinado sugar.
Unfortunately, most food companies and pastries call for white sugar, as it’s cheaper and more readily available. This can be problematic for ethical vegans, who try not to consume any food that’s been touched by animal remains.
What Are Frosted Flakes Made Of? A Look At The Ingredients
Now that you understand why the sugar in Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes is such a big issue, it’s time to give you a brief rundown of the ingredients, so you can see for yourself.
As a vegan, it’s a good idea to get used to reading your ingredients labels and learning how to distinguish vegan ingredients from non-vegan ingredients.
My hope in writing these ingredients descriptions is that your shopping will slowly get easier and easier so that you won’t have to rely on Google for help as much!
To start with, here’s the shortlist, straight from the Frosted Flakes site:
Now, let me take a minute to explain all of the dietary jargon that you may not be so familiar with.
1) Milled Corn
The first ingredient used in Frosted Flakes is milled corn. This is just a fancy term for cornflour, the same ingredient that’s used to make tortillas and tortilla chips.
Milled corn is simply dried corn kernels that have been shelled and ground into a fine powder. It mostly consists of empty carbs, so it’s not exactly a healthy ingredient. However, it does contain a small amount of natural protein. Plus, it’s all-natural and doesn’t contain any additives!
Since it’s 100% plant-based, it’s also vegan.
Sugar is the main difference between Frosted Flakes and its cousin Corn Flakes. Frosted Flakes are just sugar-coated Corn Flakes.
Unfortunately, as I mentioned above, sugar is a problematic ingredient in Frosted Flakes. Since the refined white sugar used in this cereal is filtered through animal bone char, it’s considered a non-vegan sweetener (at least, as far as ethical vegans are concerned).
3) Malt Flavor
If you’ve ever eaten a bowl of Frosted Flakes, then you may have noticed a slightly syrupy flavor that may remind you a bit of caramel. This comes from the added malt flavor syrup that the Frosted Flakes are coated in.
While caramel isn’t vegan, the malt flavor is 100% vegan.
Malt flavor is a natural flavor that’s derived from the syrup of unrefined cane sugar. It’s known for its earthy, nutty, and sweet flavor. It’s often added to cereals, snacks, and drinks to provide a deeper, more complex flavor.
4) Added Vitamins & Minerals
Last but not least, Frosted Flakes (and almost all other cereals produced by Kellogg’s) are coated with a mixture of vitamins and minerals. Specifically, Frosted Flakes contain:
- Vitamins B1, B2, and B6
- Folic Acid
- Vitamin D3
Since the cereal is mostly made up of empty carbs and sugar, it’s not exactly a part of a “healthy” breakfast. However, since the company adds extra vitamins and minerals to their cereals, they’re allowed to market them as “nutritious” to the general public (read, parents and kids).
While most of these vitamins and minerals are healthy and vital, vitamin D3 is non-vegan, as it’s almost always derived from animal sources.
Frosted Flakes & Vitamin D3: Why It’s A Problem
Vitamin D3 is a major trigger ingredient in the vegan community. That’s because it’s almost always extracted from animal hair fibers, such as sheep’s wool. Vegan-friendly cereals use vitamin D2 instead, a healthy D vitamin that’s extracted from plants like algae and lichen!
Are Corn Flakes Vegan?
I know what you’re probably thinking…
“Well, Corn Flakes don’t have any sugar on them, so they must be vegan, right?”
While Corn Flakes may not contain the added sugar that Frosted Flakes have, they’re still coated with vitamin D3, which makes them non-vegan.
The Verdict – Frosted Flakes Are NOT Vegan-Friendly
Sadly, Frosted Flakes aren’t vegan, for more reasons than one. The popular sugar-coated cereal contains both refined white sugar and vitamin D3, both of which are non-vegan.
However, there are lots of other great-tasting (and healthier) vegan breakfast cereals that you can try. Keep on reading and check out my list of the best vegan cereal brands next!