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 that 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. Read on for all the info you need to make your own decisions about which cereals are vegan-friendly.
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 new vegans may 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 best vegan cereal
The best vegan breakfast cereals in the UK by popularity are:
- Quaker Oats
- Shredded Wheat
- Jordan’s Country Crisp
- Dorset Cereals Muesli
List of all cereal – Vegan and not
The following table shows which cereals are suitable for vegans and which are not. For those that are not, it also shows why they are not vegan-friendly so that you can decide if this is something that’s 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 Oat 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||Kellogg’s||No||Milk|
|Crunchy Nut Granola Caramelised Hazelnuts||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|
|Nesquick Cereal||Nestle||No||Vitamin D|
|Quaker Rolled Oats||Quaker||YES|
|Quaker Oat So Simple Original||Quaker||YES|
|Quaker Oat So Simple Golden Syrup||Quaker||YES|
|Quaker Oat So Simple Chocolate||Quaker||YES|
|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 Minis – Banana||Weetabix||No||Vitamin D|
|Weetabix Crispy Minis – Chocolate Chip||Weetabix||No||Vitamin D|
|Weetabix Crispy Minis – Fruit & Nut||Weetabix||No||Vitamin D|
|Weetabix Crunchy Bran||Weetabix||No||Vitamin D|
|Weetabix Golden Syrup||Weetabix||YES|
|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 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)
Vegan chocolate cereal
Sometimes, chocolate cereal can be accidentally vegan as it does not contain any milk or added vitamin D. The chocolate may be dark chocolate pieces or cocoa powder.
These chocolate cereals are suitable for vegans:
- Crunchy Nut Granola Pistachio & Dark Chocolate
- Fuel Chunky Chocolate Granola
- Coco Shreddies
- Chocolate Weetabix
- Chocolate Chip Weetabix Crispy Minis
Top vegan cereal searches
Here are the answers to some common searches about vegan cereal…
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.
Are Weetos vegan?
Weetos chocolatey hoops are not suitable for vegans because they contain vitamin D which may be derived from sheep’s wool. Weetos do not contain milk but are not suitable for people with cows’ milk allergies because they are made in an environment where milk is present.
Is Curiously Cinnamon vegan?
Nestle Curiously Cinnamon cereal is not suitable for vegans because it contains vitamin D which may come from wool. This cereal does not contain any other animal ingredients. Curiously Cinnamon is vegetarian, but is not suitable for people with milk or nut allergies due to the potential for cross-contamination.
Are corn flakes vegan?
Kellogg’s Cornflakes are not suitable for vegans because they contain vitamin D which may come from sheep’s wool. Some brands of ‘free from’ or organic cornflakes such as Nestle GoFree cornflakes are vegan-friendly.
Are Coco Pops vegan?
Kellogg’s Coco Pops are not suitable for vegans because they contain vitamin D which may be derived from sheep’s wool. Coco Pops Rocks and Coco Pops White Choc are also not vegan as they contain milk. All varieties of Coco Pops are suitable for vegetarians.
Is Ready Brek vegan?
Ready Brek is not suitable for vegans as it contains vitamin D which may be made from sheep’s wool. Ready Brek is dairy-free and does not contain milk, but it is made in a factory alongside products that do contain milk.
Is Cookie Crips vegan?
Nestle Cookie Crisp cereal is not vegan because it contains vitamin D which comes from the wool of sheep. However, this chocolate cookie cereal is dairy-free and suitable for vegetarians.
Are Cheerios vegan?
Most Cheerios are not vegan-friendly as they are fortified with vitamin D which is made from the grease of sheep’s wool. Vegans who like to eat Cheerios should buy the low-sugar oat Cheerios as these are vegan.
Are Bran Flakes vegan?
Kellogg’s Bran Flakes are not vegan as they contain vitamin D which is made using sheep’s wool. However, vegan-friendly Bran Flakes are available. M&S Bran Flakes are vegan, as are Asda Free From Special Flakes.
Are Golden Nuggets vegan?
Nestle Golden Nuggets are not vegan as they contain honey. Most vegans choose to avoid honey because it’s produced from the labour of bees.
Is Weetabix vegan?
Some varieties of Weetabix are suitable for vegans and some are not because they contain vitamin D.
The following Weetabix are certified vegan:
- Weetabix Banana
- Weetabix Chocolate
- Weetabix Golden Syrup
- Weetabix Organic
All other varieties of Weetabix are not vegan as they contain vitamin D which is made from the grease of sheep’s wool.
Is Crunchy Nut vegan?
Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut cereal is not suitable for vegans as it contains honey and vitamin D. Most Crunchy Nut Clusters and Crunchy Nut Granola cereals contain milk.
Crunchy Nut Granola Fruit & Nut and Crunchy Nut Granola Pistachio & Dark Chocolate are vegan-friendly as they contain no animal ingredients.
Are Frosties vegan?
Kellogg’s Frosties are not suitable for vegans as they contain vitamin D which is derived from the grease in sheep’s wool. While most supermarket own brand Frosted Flakes also contain vitamin D, Sainsbury’s Frosted Flakes are vegan-friendly.
Is Oreo cereal vegan?
Oreo O’s cereal is suitable for vegans. While it does contain Vitamin D, this is D2 so it is not derived from animals. Oreo cereal is made in a factory with milk products, so vegans should be aware that there could be cross-contamination.
How about making your own vegan cereal?
Sometimes, it can be cheaper to make your own cereal than to buy it from a supermarket. Another advantage of doing this is that you know exactly what’s in it so that you can make sure that it’s healthy and free from contamination. It doesn’t have to take long either, as there’s often no cooking involved, just mixing ingredients together.
Suggested read: How to make homemade granola
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.