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Choosing vegan cereal can be a bit of a minefield. Some brands of chocolate cereal are accidentally vegan, which is great. But some plain cereal, which you would expect to be vegan, actually contains hidden animal ingredients.
To further confuse things, as veganism is something of a spectrum, strict vegans may choose to avoid ingredients which some new vegans are happy to eat.
But worry not, this vegan cereal guide will help you to identify the best vegan cereal brands in the UK.
Can vegans eat cereal?
Most breakfast cereals are vegan – you’ll just need to switch the usual cows’ milk for one of the many plant milks that are available. There are, however, some non-vegan ingredients to look out for in cereal, such as milk, honey and vitamin D3.
How to check if cereal is vegan?
Unfortunately, checking if cereal is vegan-friendly or not isn’t straightforward at all.
If food is labelled as vegan, then you can be 100% sure that it’s okay to eat. However, many of those cereals that aren’t labelled as vegan, are actually okay too!
In some cases, whether a particular cereal is vegan depends on how strict of a vegan you are.
There are three main things to think about where vegan cereal is concerned:
1. ‘May contain’ – most vegans would eat this
When food is made in the same factory as animal-derived products, there’s a small risk of cross-contamination.
The vast majority of vegans aren’t concerned with potential cross-contamination during food production. This is because it’s very hard to avoid, and only trace amounts of animal products would be present, if any. However, if you have a severe food allergy then you’ll certainly want to avoid cross-contamination.
Read more: Is food that ‘may contain milk’ vegan?
2. Vitamin D – some vegans would eat this
Many breakfast cereals are fortified with vitamin D, as this is something that many people are lacking in. The NHS recommends that people take vitamin D supplements, which is why it’s often added to food like cereal.
Importantly, there are two types of vitamin D, which both have the same positive effects on our bodies, but they are made in very different ways.
Vitamin D2 comes from plants and is suitable for vegans. Vitamin D3, however, usually comes from animals. The vitamin D3 that’s added to breakfast cereals comes from sheep’s wool and is known as lanolin.
Annoyingly, there’s often no way of knowing if the vitamin D in cereal is D2 or D3. We can assume that it’s probably D3 because cereal contains a lot of fibre which can prevent D2 from being absorbed.
This leaves vegans with a decision to make. Depending on how strict you are, you can either avoid anything that’s labelled as containing vitamin D, or, you can decide that a small amount of sheep wool grease is acceptable.
3. Honey – most vegans would avoid this
There is sometimes debate over whether or not honey is vegan, with some people arguing that honey can be harvested without harming bees or the environment.
However, in reality, commercial honey production does harm bees and The Vegan Society states that honey is not vegan.
Step-by-step guide to check if a box of cereal is suitable for vegans
- Look for the word ‘vegan’ on the label – If it doesn’t have it, you’ll need to move on to the ingredients.
- Scan the ingredients list for bold type – Any milk products will be bolded so they’re easy for allergy sufferers to spot.
- Check the ingredients for honey and vitamin D – If you’re a strict vegan, you’ll want to avoid these.
- Don’t worry about ‘may contain milk’ – This is mostly for people with allergies.
If you’re a new vegan, it’s a good idea to use up any boxes of cereal you already have in your cupboard before buying more, so as to avoid wasting food.
You may wish to avoid cereals that contain milk and honey first of all. If it makes it easier to stick to a vegan diet, you may choose to overlook the vitamin D issue until later in your vegan transition.
Which cereals are vegan?
The following table shows which cereals are suitable for vegans and which are not. For those that are not, it also shows why, so that you can decide if this is something which is acceptable to you or not.
For the purpose of this list, any cereals which contain palm oil have been marked as vegan. Whilst some vegans choose to avoid unsustainable palm oil, sustainable palm oil does not involve the abuse of animals and is vegan. If you’d rather avoid palm oil altogether, you can see a list of palm-oil free cereals here.
|Cereal||Brand||Is it vegan?||Why not?|
|All-Bran Fibre Crunch Berry Burst||Kellogg’s||No||Milk, Vitamin D|
|Alpen Original Musesli||Weetabix||No||Milk|
|Bran Flakes||Kellogg’s||No||Vitamin D|
|Cheerios Low Sugar||Nestle||Yes|
|Coco Pops||Kellogg’s||No||Vitamin D|
|Coco Pops Rocks||Kellogg’s||No||Milk, Vitamin D|
|Coco Pops White Choc||Kellogg’s||No||Milk, Vitamin D|
|Cookie Crisp||Nestle||No||Vitamin D|
|Corn Flakes||Kellogg’s||No||Vitamin D|
|Country Crisp Chunky Nuts||Jordan’s||Yes|
|Country Crisp Raisin||Jordan’s||Yes|
|Country Crisp Strawberry||Jordan’s||Yes|
|Crunchy Nut||Kellogg’s||No||Honey, Vitamin D|
|Crunchy Nut Clusters||Kellogg’s||No||Milk, Honey|
|Crunchy Nut Clusters Peanut Butter||Kellogg’s||No||Milk|
|Crunchy Nut Granola Caramelised Hazlenuts||Kellogg’s||No||Milk|
|Crunchy Nut Granola Fruit & Nut||Kellogg’s||Yes|
|Crunchy Nut Granola Pistachio & Dark Chocolate||Kellogg’s||Yes|
|Curiously Cinnamon||Nestle||No||Vitamin D|
|Fruit ‘n Fibre||Kellogg’s||No||Vitamin D|
|Fuel Chunky Chocolate Granola||Fuel||Yes|
|Fuel Super Berry Granola||Fuel||Yes|
|Honey Monster Wheat Puffs||Monster Brands||No||Honey|
|Jordan’s Super Nutty Granola||Jordan’s||No||Honey|
|Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut Granola||Kellogg’s||No||Milk|
|Nesquick Cereal||Nestle||No||Vitamin D|
|Ready Brek||Weetabix||No||Vitamin D|
|Rice Krispies||Kellogg’s||No||Vitamin D|
|Rice Krispies Multigrain Shapes||Kellogg’s||No||Vitamin D|
|Shredded Wheat Bitesize||Nestle||Yes|
|Shredded Wheat Red Berries & Vanilla||Nestle||Yes|
|Simply Delicious Muesli||Dorset Cereals||Yes|
|Simply Fruity Museli||Dorset Cereals||Yes|
|Simply Nutty Muesli||Dorset Cereals||Yes|
|Simply Oat Granola||Dorset Cereals||Yes|
|Special K||Kellogg’s||No||Vitamin D|
|Special K Red Berries||Kellogg’s||No||Vitamin D|
|Weetabix Crispy Mini Fruit & Nut||Weetabix||No||Vitamin D|
|Weetabix Crispy Minis Chocolate Chip||Weetabix||Yes|
|Weetabix Crunchy Bran||Weetabix||No||Vitamin D|
|Weetabix Protein||Weetabix||No||Vitamin D|
|Weetos Chocolatey Hoops||Weetabix||No||Vitamin D|
|WK Kellogg Cocoa & Hazelnut Granola||Kellogg’s||Yes|
|WK Kellogg Kids Blueberry Apple & Beetroot Multigrain Shapes||Kellogg’s||Yes|
|WK Kellogg Kids Strawberry Apple & Carrot Multigrain Shapes||Kellogg’s||Yes|
|WK Kellogg No Added Sugar Granola||Kellogg’s||Yes|
|WK Kellogg Plant Protein Crunch||Kellogg’s||Yes|
What about supermarket own-brand cereal?
Supermarkets offer their own-brand cereals which are usually copies of the well-known brands. For example, supermarket own-brand Rice Krispies may be called ‘Rice Snaps’, ‘Rice Pops’ or ‘Rice Crackles’.
The ingredients in these can vary compared with the main brand, so always read the label to decide if supermarket own-brand cereals are vegan or not.
Vegan cereal bars
As well as boxes of cereal, there’s a huge range of cereal bars to choose from and many of these are accidentally vegan. Again, you’ll need to read the label to decide which are.
Where vegan cereal bars are concerned there are some surprises. Some chocolate cereal bars are accidentally vegan, whilst and those which you might expect to be vegan-friendly actually contain vitamin D.
Suggested read: Accidentally Vegan Biscuits (UK)
Is Nesquik cereal vegan?
Nestle Nesquik cereal is not strictly vegan because it contains vitamin D which again, may be derived from sheep’s wool. Nesquik cereal does not contain milk, but it is made alongside milk products so may not be suitable for people with allergies because of cross-contamination.
The good news is that most brands of breakfast cereal are suitable for vegans. Whilst you’ll almost certainly want to avoid milk and honey in the ingredients, stricter vegans also choose to avoid vitamin D3 which is made from sheep’s wool.