When it comes to Reese’s, peanut butter cups get the most attention. But as a person who loves trying different types of cereals and peanut butter, I often had Reese’s puffs for breakfast until I became vegan and stopped everything I doubted could have animal ingredients without proper research.
It wasn’t until recently that my cereal craving kicked back in, and I started wondering if Reese’s puffs are actually non-vegan or if they’ve just got a bad rap.
So, here I am, trying to find out the truth. Are Reese’s puffs vegan?
Reese’s puff may appear vegan-friendly, but for better or worse, there isn’t a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer to this. While the cereal does not have dairy or eggs, it contains a few potentially non-vegan and controversial ingredients, making people stand divided on whether Reese’s puffs are vegan or not.
Reese’s puffs are a bit tricky in terms of vegan-friendliness. So, we need to dive deeper and see the ingredient list to get a better and, hopefully, more clear answer. Let’s do this, shall we?
What are Reese’s Puffs Made Of?
Like most other cereals, the crunchy, peanut-y, chocolaty puffs from Reese’s contain several ingredients. The core Reese’s Puffs ingredients include:
- Whole Grain Corn
- Reese’s Peanut Butter – made with peanuts, sugar, molasses, salt, peanut oil, corn starch, and monoglycerides.
- Hershey’s Cocoa
- Canola Oil
- Corn Meal
- Corn Syrup
- Caramel Color
- Natural Flavor
- Vitamin E
- Trisodium Phosphate
While these are the actual ingredients used to make Reese’s cereal, it’s also fortified with a range of vitamins and minerals to give you a good energy boost at the beginning of the day. Here’s the list of them from the company’s website:
What Are the Problematic Ingredients for Vegans in Reese’s Puffs?
There is no milk, eggs, butter, or any of the other common animal ingredients in Reese’s puffs, which makes many wonder why they are considered non-vegan by some.
Reese’s puffs may appear vegan-friendly at first glance, but they have a couple of problematic ingredients. These include:
Sugar, as is now common knowledge, is processed and refined using bone char in the commercial food industry, which makes it unsuitable for vegans.
Don’t know what the deal with sugar is or want to learn more about it? Check out the following video for a more detailed vegan explanation of sugar…
· Vitamin D3
Vitamin D3 can be made from both animal and plant sources. However, most often than not, it’s derived from the animal source, which is sheep wool, and hence, counted as an animal ingredient unless otherwise specified.
In rare instances when it is vegan, vitamin D3 is extracted from lichen or mushrooms.
Does This Mean Reese’s Puffs Are Non-Vegan?
Err…not really. This is where things get tricky, and your definition of and commitment to veganism comes into play.
Though refined sugar is made with bone char, which is clearly a non-vegan element, many vegans do not avoid it, while several others do. Those who do not argue that refined sugar is so widely used in the commercial food industry that it is almost impossible to avoid it altogether.
As for vitamin D, the counterargument is that Reese’s Puffs have it in such a tiny amount that it doesn’t really matter.
One serving of Reese’s peanut butter cereal contains only 1.3 micrograms of vitamin D3 (10% of the RDA), which is, to put things into perspective, just about the size of a human hair that’s 0.009 inches long.
Since this is a very insignificant amount, some vegans do not consider it a strong enough reason to avoid Reese’s Puffs.
The following Reddit comment helps gain an even better perspective of this argument:
So, Are Reese’s Puffs Vegan or Not?
Unfortunately, I still do not have a clear-cut, universally-applicable answer to this because people have varying levels of commitment to veganism.
Some only avoid the most obvious animal ingredients, like meat, dairy, and eggs, while others get down to the depth of everything they eat to ensure it doesn’t have even traces of any animal-derived element.
With vitamin D3 and sugar, Reese’s Puffs do not certainly meet the strict definition of veganism that those belonging to the latter group follow.
However, if you’re from the first category or do not have a problem with consuming elements that are too widely used and very difficult to avoid, such as refined sugar, you may not have a problem eating Reese’s Puffs.
To sum up, if you’re a hardcore vegan, you should avoid Reese’s Puffs. If you’re not, you may have them.
Do Reese’s Puffs have dairy?
No. Although there’s no dairy-free label on the packaging, there is no milk or any other form of dairy in Reese’s Puffs.
Are Reese’s Puffs gluten-free?
Yes. Reese’s Puffs do not have any gluten-containing ingredients and are completely gluten-free.
However, considering that they are manufactured in facilities that also make non-gluten-free products, the risk of cross-contamination cannot be totally eliminated.
Does General Mills offer any vegan cereals?
General Mills offers more than 20 different types of cereals. However, only one of them is 100% vegan, and that is the Fiber One Original Bran Breakfast Cereal. All others contain vitamin D and/or sugar.
Does General Mills perform animal testing?
Apparently, it doesn’t, but in reality, the brand hasn’t eliminated animal testing.
General Mills used to perform animal testing for some of its products but apparently banned the practice in 2018.
As of now, the company that owns Reese’s (and several other leading food brands) asserts that it does not carry out or support animal testing. However, there’s more to the brand’s statement on animal testing.
Although the statement is worded very carefully to give the impression that General Mills is an animal-friendly brand, the truth of the matter is that that brand is involved in animal abuse.
It may not conduct animal testing on its own but partners with third-party organizations to do it on its behalf whenever required. It still counts as being involved in animal cruelty.
Vegan Alternatives to Reese’s Puffs
Feeling disheartened that Reese’s Puffs do not meet your strict vegan criteria? Don’t lose heart; you can find vegan-friendly alternatives to it. Here are a few to get your breakfast sorted:
- Barbara’s Peanut Butter Puffins
- Living Intentions Activated Superfood Cereal – Cacao Crunch
- Kashi GO Chocolate Crunch
- Annie’s Organic Cocoa Bunnies
- Nature’s Path Love Crunch Premium Organic Granola – Dark Chocolate and Red Berries
Some More Vegan Cereals
Here are some more non-chocolaty, vegan cereal suggestions for those looking to explore new varieties:
- Nature’s Path Organic Optimum Blueberry Cinnamon
- Nature’s Path Organic Gluten-Free Sunrise Crunchy Maple
- Kashi Organic Sweet Potato Sunshine
- Kashi 7 Whole Grain Puffs
- Arrowhead Mills Puffed Millet Cereal
- Cascadian Farm Organic Fruitful O’s Cereal
- Food for Life Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Crunchy Cereal Golden, Flax
- Back to Nature Granola – Apple Blueberry
Reese’s Puffs aren’t vegan, but what about its peanut butter cups? Check out my article Are Reese’s Vegan to find the answer.