A vegan friendly breakfast cereal in a bowl with vegan milk

Are all breakfast cereals vegan?

Before you scoop up another spoonful of that cereal into your mouth you may want to check out these reasons why it may not be vegan-friendly. Make sure to read on to find some amazing tasty vegan breakfast cereal alternatives.

Contents

I used to love eating cereal as a child. There was one particular cereal though that I craved the most, Nesquik. The little balls of chocolatey goodness made me think I was eating dessert for breakfast and the leftover chocolate milk at the bottom of the bowl was like an extra special chocolate milkshake.

Whilst the health credentials of these cereals are definitely debatable, I have very fond memories of eating them.

As a child, I cared very little about my health, nor the health and livelihoods of animals for that matter. So, it wasn’t until I went vegan in 2015 that I actually put any consideration into this.

Even then, I had no idea that most breakfast cereals weren’t vegan. I only realised this when I started discovering health food brands creating cereal which they branded as vegan-friendly. That’s when all the questions came flooding in. What is it about other cereals that make them unsuitable for vegans? Why don’t the big brands say that theirs are suitable for vegans too?

Back then it was very difficult getting answers to questions like these, so I just avoided buying from them altogether. However, thanks to an increase in veganism and a higher demand for plant-based food, we are now starting to get the answers!

So, now let me tell you why not all breakfast cereals are vegan.

Can you eat cereal if you are vegan?

The easy quick answer here is yes. There is no reason why you have to go without cereal as a vegan. There are plenty of plant-based cereal options, some from 100% vegan companies and some just vegan-friendly. Just make sure to pair it up with your favourite vegan milk.

That being said, a lot of cereal that you buy in the supermarkets isn’t vegan and it isn’t always obvious that they aren’t. Unless they contain the obvious culprits, like dairy and honey, that is. Many of them advertise their cereal as being suitable for vegetarians and you may look at the ingredients and assume that it is also suitable for vegans. The cereals without dairy or honey in the ingredients could most definitely fool you into thinking this.

However, most of the big brands don’t openly advertise all the ingredients used in their cereals, namely the ingredients used to add important nutrients to their food. More often than not, these come from animal sources. In particular, from Lanolin.

Why isn't all cereal suitable for vegans?

There are a few ingredients that are used in many cereal brands that make them unsuitable for vegans. A few of these are quite obvious, but some are a little bit more sneaky.

Lanolin

This is the pesky ingredient that gets used in most of the big brand’s cereals. It is the grease from sheep’s wool that is a source of Vitamin D3. Many brands will use this as it is a cheaper source of D3. 

Whilst it is claimed to be vegetarian since it doesn’t require slaughter, the sheep that this is extracted from are often off to slaughter. So they are effectively a by-product of the meat industry.

It can be difficult to avoid this ingredient when buying cereal as it isn’t a requirement that brands write lanolin on their ingredients list. This is why I would recommend taking a look at the list I’ve provided below when buying from bigger brands or simply buying from fully vegan brands.

Dairy products

Other than the fact that a lot of brands produce their products in an environment where dairy products are used, especially with the bigger brands like Kellog’s which also makes food products that contain dairy, some also include dairy in the cereals ingredients.

It is mostly found in cereals that contain some element of chocolate.

Honey

Honey is a very common ingredient to be found in cereals. It is used as a sweetener and as a flavour in many different kinds of cereal. And since honey isn’t vegan, this makes them unsuitable for vegans.

What cereals can vegans eat?

You may be panicking right about now, thinking that all the tasty cereals out there aren’t suitable for vegans. But I want to assure you that there are plenty of amazing options out there that are 100% vegan and tasty! The following brands have a fully plant-based offering, meaning you can buy from them knowing that you are supporting a brand that cares about veganism.

Pros

Cons

1. Surreal Cereal

Surreal has put the fun back in cereal. Not only is their branding exciting and different, but their cereal also tastes amazing and is really quite healthy!

They come in four flavours, including Cocoa, Cinnamon, Frosted and Peanut Butter (yum). You can also get a mixed pack of Peanut Butter and Cocao, which is even more yum.

They have focused on getting a lot of protein into their cereal as well as making sure it is sugar-free and high in fibre.

The best bit for me is the cereal box. They have covered it in fun reading material, perfect for kids and sleepy grown-ups!

When eating this cereal I didn’t need a large portion to feel full, meaning it lasted longer than most cereals. Oh, and it is packed full of goodness and high-quality ingredients.

Pros

Cons

2. Brave

Brave are a fully vegan health food brand. They originally started up with a range of chickpea snacks and have recently launched their range of vegan cereals.

They come in two flavours, Original and Cinnamon. They are shaped like hoops, meaning they are similar to Cheerios.

They have included plant-based fibres from pea and chicory for an added nutritional boost. This goes alongside the 12g protein from peas and chickpeas.

It is a really crunchy cereal that lasts well in a bowl of plant-based milk. It is very filling and perfect for anyone looking to increase their fibre intake.

Pros

Cons

3. Misfits

Misfits is another fully plant-based health food brand focusing mostly on protein bars. They also have a good range of vegan cereals in a variety of exciting flavours.

They make their cereals into ball shapes, just like Nesquik.

They have four flavours which are Chocolate, Chocolate Caramel, Chocolate Cinnamon, and Cookies & Cream. The former flavours are great for Nesquik lovers like me and their Cookies & Cream flavour is perfect for any Cookie Crisp fans.

Their cereal has the highest protein per serving of all the vegan cereal brands mentioned here, making it perfect for fitness enthusiasts.

Pros

Cons

4. Eleat

Eleat is a fitness-focused cereal brand backed by athletes across the country. They have created a range of cereals in both large and individual packs.

They use soy as their protein source alongside chicory root inulin for gut health! Their cereal is often reviewed as being great for IBS sufferers.

The cereals currently come in four main flavours, including Chocolate, Cinnamon, Strawberry and Vanilla. I like that they have a fruity option which you don’t often see in cereals!

The cereal is ball-shaped meaning their chocolate flavour is another good Nesquik alternative!

Pros

Cons

5. Crispy Fantasy

Crispy Fantasy is another fun and vibrant brand, making it another great family friendly choice!

This is one of the most affordable vegan cereal brands, but it is less focused on protein than the other brands. It is still higher in protein than most cereals though!

They have three main flavour choices at the moment, including Honey, Chocolate, and Cinnamon. I love that they have a vegan honey option, as they tend to be a very popular cereal type! 

Unlike many of the others, they use agave syrup to sweeten their cereals, which I really like! They also include inulin for gut health and avocado oil for healthy fats.

Vegan-friendly cereals from non-vegan brands

It is probably only fair that I mention a few of the big brands which you see in the supermarkets that offer vegan-friendly cereals. But I do believe it is worth mentioning that the following companies aren’t fully vegan, so by buying these you aren’t supporting a fully vegan company like the ones above.

There are also a few questionable companies in the list below, some of who I personally wouldn’t buy from myself. Included in this is Nestlé – read this article to find out why.

What cereals can't vegans eat?

We’re on to the baddies. The cereals should be vegan, but for whatever reason, they aren’t. Normally its to do with costs which should come as no surprise. But it can also be down to the flavourings.

Please note that this isn’t a finite list, meaning there could be other cereals not included here that are also unsuitable for vegans. So do make sure to do some research before buying, normally a quick Google of a cereal brand will help you along the way.

CerealBrandContains
Coco PopsKellogg'sContains Vitamin D3 from lanolin
Rice KrispiesKellogg'sContains Vitamin D3 from lanolin
KraveKellogg'sContains dairy products
FrostiesKellogg'sContains Vitamin D3 from lanolin
Corn FlakesKellogg'sContains Vitamin D3 from lanolin
Crunchy NutKellogg'sContains Vitamin D3 from lanolin
Special KKellogg'sContains Vitamin D3 from lanolin & some flavours contain honey
Bran FlakesKellogg'sContains Vitamin D3 from lanolin
Fruit n FibreKellogg'sContains Vitamin D3 from lanolin
Rice Krispies Multi-Grain ShapeKellogg'sContains Vitamin D3 from lanolin
Sultana BranKellogg'sContains Vitamin D3 from lanolin
CheeriosNestléContains Vitamin D3 from lanolin & some flavours contain honey
NesquikNestleContains Vitamin D3 from lanolin
Golden NuggetsNestleContains Vitamin D3 from lanolin & contains honey

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