The Flintstones animated TV show first came out in 1960 and changed the course of animated comedy forever. It was kid-friendly yet still fun for adults to watch, so everyone was watching it.
Ten years after The Flintstones became a massive success, Post Cereal released their Flintstones-themed Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles cereals, which are still popular today!
However, are Fruity Pebbles vegan?
Believe it or not, Fruity Pebbles are one of those “accidentally vegan” cereals that are made using mostly vegan ingredients.
It doesn’t have any direct animal-derived additives like gelatin, lanolin, or dairy! Ethical vegans may not like the refined white sugar used in the cereal, but as far as dietary vegans are concerned, it’s acceptable.
Like many mainstream cereal brands, Fruity Pebbles is a bit of a gray area. It’s one of those foods that dietary vegans are okay, with while their ethical vegan counterparts tend to avoid.
In today’s post, I’ll break down the exact ingredients in Fruity Pebbles, discuss the questionable ingredients, and give you my personal opinion.
Isn’t it time you added some color to your life?
Why Are Fruity Pebbles Not Vegan?
While fruity pebbles may be acceptable for dietary vegans, they aren’t so great as far as ethical vegans are concerned. If you’re a new vegan and you’re still learning about the different types of vegan diets, here’s a quick breakdown of the difference between ethical and dietary vegans:
- Dietary Vegans: These are people who usually go vegan for personal health reasons. They aren’t as concerned about the ethics behind food or the products they purchase. As long as they’re not actively consuming meat or dairy, then they’re following their diet.
- Ethical Vegans: Most vegans, including myself, are ethical vegans. For us, veganism is a lot more than a diet; it’s a lifestyle! Avoiding meat and dairy is just the surface of what we care about. We avoid foods that hurt the environment (such as palm oil) and don’t purchase any physical products (like leather or wool) that come from animals.
So, let me explain why there’s a debate when it comes to Fruity Pebbles cereal. First, take a quick look at the ingredients in Fruity Pebbles:
At first glance, everything seems great, right? There’s no dairy, no gelatin, no shellac or confectioner’s glaze, and no honey. It also doesn’t have vitamin B3, which is a common non-vegan food additive that’s extracted from sheep’s wool and animal hairs!
The main problem that ethical vegans have with Fruity Pebbles are palm oil and sugar. Keep on reading to find out why ethical vegans avoid these two ingredients and why they’re so heavily debated in the vegan community…
Non-Vegan Ingredients In Fruity Pebbles
Compared to most mainstream cereal brands, Post Fruity Pebbles are pretty vegan-friendly. You’d be surprised just how many animal-derived additives most kids (and adults) are eating in their morning cereal. I’m not just talking about the milk, either!
In contrast, Fruity Pebbles use a relatively simple recipe that hasn’t changed much since the cereal first hit store shelves over fifty years ago.
That being said, many vegans still avoid Fruity Pebbles because they contain refined white sugar and palm oil.
Let’s start with sugar since that’s one of the main ingredients.
Cane sugar, in its natural form, is completely vegan and is a plant-based sweetener extracted from sugarcane juice. In its natural form, it’s light brown and is often referred to as “turbinado” sugar or cane sugar. In my opinion, this form of sugar tastes the best and is less processed.
Unfortunately, cane sugar isn’t as popular as refined white sugar, which is the main sweetener used by mainstream food brands. Refined white sugar is bleached to remove the coloring and make it more appealing to people.
To bleach it, the sugar is filtered through animal bone char, a special type of high-carbon charcoal that’s made from the bones of slaughterhouse cattle.
So, although white sugar isn’t an immediate animal product, the process used to create it involves animal by-products. This directly supports the meat industry and is why most vegans avoid it.
Now, here’s the low-down on palm oil.
On the surface, palm oil is a healthy, all-natural, plant-derived cooking oil that’s extracted from the pressed fruits of palm trees.
Unfortunately, most of the palm oil in the food industry is sourced from countries like Brazil and Indonesia, where corporate farms are burning down the rainforest at an alarming rate.
As if burning thousands of acres of trees every year wasn’t bad enough, many of the endangered animal species and indigenous tribes are killed or displaced as well. For instance, orangutans are endangered almost entirely due to the palm oil industry, which is destroying their habitat.
Now, you will find some vegan products that contain organic, Fair Trade certified palm oil that comes from sustainable farms. However, this oil is far more expensive and isn’t used by large companies like Post Cereals.
Does Fruity Pebbles Have Gelatin?
Gelatin is a common food additive that’s derived from animal fats and ligaments that are boiled down after the rest of the animal has been butchered.
It helps provide texture and acts as a fatty emulsifier when added to foods. It’s also tasteless, so it can be added to almost anything, including breakfast cereal.
Thankfully, Fruity Pebbles don’t contain any gelatin!
What Do Fruity Pebbles Have In It: Ingredients Listed
Now that you know a little bit more about the argument behind Fruity Pebbles, here’s a quick breakdown of the main ingredients, so you can see for yourself.
Rice is all-natural, vegan-friendly, and is the main ingredient used in Fruity Pebbles. Unlike most cereals, which are made using oats and grain, Fruity Pebbles are made using toasted rice.
Aside from rice, sugar is the second main ingredient used in Fruity Pebbles. This is where the debate between ethical and dietary vegans starts.
3) Vegetable Oil
If you look at the ingredients label, you’ll see that Fruity Pebbles are made using a blend of coconut oil and palm oil.
While I admire that Post is trying to cut down on their use of palm oil by blending it with another vegetable oil, they’re still using palm oil. This, unfortunately, means that ethical vegans need to avoid Fruity Pebbles.
Salt is a common baking ingredient that’s used in most cereal and bread. It prevents the cereal from being too sweet. Thankfully, salt is perfectly vegan!
5) Food Coloring
Next, we have food coloring. Fruity Pebbles doesn’t use any animal-derived food colorings (such as cochineal beetle-derived red coloring). Instead, they use red 40, yellow 5 and 6 as well as blue 1 and 2.
6) Artificial Flavors
Fruity Pebbles are known for their fruity taste. Unfortunately, none of this comes from real fruit. That being said, all of the artificial flavors used to give Fruity Pebbles their iconic tastes are vegan-friendly.
7) Added Vitamins & Minerals
Last but not least, Fruity Pebbles is fortified with a blend of added vitamins and minerals. This is why they’re allowed to advertise the cereal as a “healthy” breakfast. Otherwise, it’d just be a sugary snack.
While many vitamin-and-mineral additives contain vitamin B3 (which is non-vegan), Fruity Pebbles uses vitamin B2, a plant-based alternative to B3!
The Verdict – Are Fruity Pebbles Vegan-Friendly?
If you’re a dietary vegan, go ahead and eat your heart out! However, because Fruity Pebbles contain white sugar and palm oil, I try to avoid them.
If it’s offered to me, I may eat a small bowl. However, I’d rather spend my money on certified vegan cereals that don’t contain any white sugar or palm oil.
To see a list of my favorite vegan-friendly cereals, be sure to check out my list of the best vegan cereal brands next!