Are Cocoa Puffs Vegan? (Here’s all you need to know)

For those who love chocolate for breakfast, the Cocoa Puffs are by far the best crispy chocolate cereals you can have. However, for someone who has recently become vegan, it’s quite possible that cereals like the Cocoa Puffs may no longer be suitable for breakfast.

Even though Cocoa Puffs don’t have any flagrant animal ingredients such as milk or eggs, they contain at least one animal-derived ingredient, even though it may not be obvious at first sight. 

In this article, we are going to look at the ingredients present in Cocoa Puffs, and explain why a few of those ingredients pose a problem for vegans. We will also provide you a few alternatives to Cocoa Puffs.

Cocoa Puffs: Ingredients

From what I’ve been able to analyze, there two ingredients in Cocoa Puffs that are potentially not vegan:

Whole grain corn, sugar, cornmeal, corn syrup, cocoa processed with alkali, canola oil, fructose, salt, caramel color, refiner’s syrup, baking soda, natural flavor. vitamins and minerals: tricalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, zinc and iron, vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin B2, vitamin B1, vitamin A, folic acid, vitamin B12, vitamin D3.

Even though none of the ingredients above (besides whole grain corn) are healthy, most of them are certainly vegan-friendly, except for sugar and vitamin D3. 

Why Isn’t Sugar Always Vegan?

While it may sound weird, this isn’t exactly news anymore: sugar that is processed in the United States is likely to not be vegan.

Well, the sugar you have in products comes from two sources: sugar beets or sugar canes.

While they are both similar in taste and texture, they get processed differently. Sugar derived from sugar beets is processed with a diffuser and mixed with additives to crystallize. Sugar derived from sugarcane is processed using cisterns and a decolorizing agent that may not always be vegan.

For a long time, and this still happens today, sugar suppliers have used bone char as the primary decolorizing agent, which they get from the bones of cattle from countries like Afghanistan, Argentina, India, and Pakistan that are sold to traders in Scotland, Brazil, Egypt, who then re-sell to sugar suppliers in the United States.


Vegans are obviously against this type of practice, but it’s difficult to figure out if sugar has been processed with bone char, since many companies use a mixed pool of sugar suppliers. Oreos (which is owned by Mondelez International) is one such example, and it’s another reason they’re a controversial product.

Still, it’s important to note that there are also alternatives to bone char. Other decolorizing agents such as ion-exchange raisins or granular carbon are also used to achieve the same result.

Why Isn’t Vitamin D3 Vegan?

When you see vitamin D3 in food products without a vegan label, that vitamin D3 probably comes from lanolin, which is the oil in sheep’s wool.


To create vitamin D3, a multi-stage process using 7-dehydrocholesterol extracted from lanolin takes place. It consists in irradiating lanolin with a high-intensity light to produce vitamin D and then heated to form the last form that is vitamin D3. Most cereals, including Cocoa Puffs, will contain vitamin D3 derived from lanolin.

Vegan Alternatives to Cocoa Puffs

Since Cocoa Puffs are not vegan-friendly, it would only be right for me to provide you with a list of alternatives after having to disappoint you.

Here is a list of vegan cereals you can try out:

Product: Where to Buy:
Barbara’s Peanut Butter Puffins Amazon
Cap’n Crunch Amazon
Cap’n Crunch’s Crunch Berries Amazon
365 Everyday Value Organic Morning O’s Whole Foods
Cascadian Farm Organic Cinnamon Crunch Amazon
Cascadian Farm Organic Fruitful O’s Amazon
General Mills Fiber One Original Amazon
Kellogg’s Mini-Wheats Unfrosted Bite Size Amazon
Nature’s Path Crunchy Maple Sunrise Amazon

Keep in mind that some of these brands also have non-vegan products, and I know that may pose a problem for vegans who may have a unique point of view. Still, the products above are vegan.


Unfortunately, Cocoa Puffs are not suitable for vegans because they contain vitamin D3, which is synthesized from lanolin.

Lanolin is an oil that is extracted from sheep’s wool and later undergoes a scientific process to get converted into vitamin D3. Yep, it’s not vegan.

In addition, you also have sugar, which may or not be vegan, depending on how it’s processed.

Look at the vegan alternatives I’ve provided you for inspiration. They ought to be delicious as well!