Are Cheerios Vegan?

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Famed for its noticeable O shape, Cheerios are a cereal brand that is popular all around the globe. They may be tasty, but if you’re on a plant-based diet, you may be wondering if Cheerios are vegan or not.

Vegans need to know what’s in their food, as they could accidentally consume food that contains animal substances or has been made with manufacturing processes that harm animals.

You’ll find out whether Cheerios are suitable for vegans or not in this post, including some alternatives to Cheerios that vegans can enjoy for breakfast.

Are Cheerios Suitable For A Vegan Diet?

The short answer is no. At present, there are no Cheerio cereals sold in the United States that are fully vegan. One of the main ingredients that vegans need to be aware of is Vitamin D3, a vitamin that is added to Cheerios. 

Cheerios also contain other ingredients that aren’t suitable for plant-based diets, which we’ll cover in more detail below.

Cheerio Ingredients That Aren’t Vegan

Vitamin D3

Cheerios sold in the United States have had Vitamin D3 added to the cereal. Any products that use Vitamin D3 as an ingredient will not be vegan or vegetarian. Vitamin D3 is derived from lanolin, a substance that is sourced from wool from a sheep’s coat.

This currently isn’t the case for Cheerios that are sold in Canada, but this may change, so always check the label on your box to be sure.


Many vegans don’t see a problem with consuming sugar, but the sugar in Cheerios may contain bone char, making it unsuitable for vegans.

Bone char is a substance made from animal bones. Sugar manufacturers can add bone char to their sugar to make it look whiter, removing its natural tint. 

This doesn’t just concern white sugar. Bone char can also be used to make brown sugar, as it is made using molasses and refined white sugar. 

Some Cheerio cereals have ‘caramel coloring’ as one of their ingredients, which can be produced using bone char sugars. 


Some Cheerio varieties don’t use honey, but others, like Honey Nut Cheerios, do. Honey isn’t considered vegan as it comes from bees. Many vegans don’t eat honey to protest against farming processes that exploit bees to obtain honey.

Natural Flavorings

Some types of Cheerios list ‘natural flavorings’ as one of their ingredients. The term ‘natural’ might make you believe that these substances are suitable for vegans, but these flavors can be taken from both plants and animals. 

It isn’t clear where these flavors in Cheerios come from, so vegans should be on the safe side and avoid the product.

Recipes are updated all the time, so Cheerios might change their recipe to include more non-vegan or vegan ingredients.

The ingredients listed here are the most evidently non-vegan substances, but always check the label to ensure you’re not ingesting anything unsuitable for your diet. 

Why Some Vegans Consume Cheerios

Vitamin D3 is one of the most obvious ingredients that aren’t vegan in Cheerios. However, some vegans don’t mind this as only a tiny fraction of the vitamin is added to the cereal. 

As there are so many products made with bone char sugars, other vegans don’t find any issues with consuming foods that contain it, like Cheerios. 

It’s impossible to be 100% vegan all the time, so it’s more important to do your best. Aim to avoid eating things made with animal substances and processes that harm animals as much as you can.

A lot of new vegans are more likely to eat products that contain vitamin D3 and bone char sugars. Becoming a vegan is a huge change from the average diet, so it can be difficult to avoid little non-vegan substances in packaged food items. 

Just the thought of having to avoid a lot of ingredients can put people off of the vegan lifestyle, as it seems very difficult to follow. 

As newer vegans get more practice being vegan, they might change their beliefs on whether small amounts of animal products are suitable for a vegan diet, or not. Only you can decide on how strict a vegan you want to be. 

Vegan Cheerio Substitutes

Cheerios might not be technically vegan, but the following cereal brands have the classic O shape and are suitable for a plant-based diet!

These include:

  • Barbara’s Organic Original Honest Os
  • Nature’s Path Berry Blast Cheetah Chomps
  • Nature’s Path Whole Os
  • One Degree Sprouted Oat Os
  • 365 Organic Morning Os


Cheerios aren’t vegan as they use non-vegan substances, which are Vitamin D3, sugar, and honey. They also use natural flavorings that haven’t been specified whether they come from plants or animals. 

Some vegans may choose to eat Cheerios if they aren’t as strict, but technically speaking, Cheerios are not suitable for a plant-based diet.

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