Are Corn Flakes Vegan? Here Is Everything You Need To Know

When you think of breakfast cereals, Corn Flakes are what comes to mind. Corn Flakes are the original cereals, they were created by William Kellogg in 1894, in an attempt to create a type of food that would help the patients of the Battle Creek Sanitarium in Michigan.

Battle Creek Sanitarium was a health resort managed by William’s brother, John Kellogg. To make the cereal even more popular, Will wanted to add sugar to the cereals, but John wasn’t in agreement (for obvious health reasons), so Will started the Kellogg company, to produce corn flakes for a wider audience.

Corn Flakes, today, have sugar, but only in very small amounts. And in comparison to the different cereals out in the market, it is certainly healthier than most. Interestingly, what was initially created to keep patients healthy, was created using mostly corn, a plant-based food.

Fortunately, Corn Flakes is suitable for vegans. It doesn’t contain ingredients of animal origin, but it does contain sugar, which stricter vegans might choose to avoid. 

Let’s look further into the ingredients and determine if Corn Flakes are truly vegan. 

Corn Flakes: A Slightly Deeper Look.

are corn flakes vegan?
Corn Flakes are exceptionally healthy. Yes, you have sugar, but it’s a small amount. If you eat Corn Flakes with unsweetened milk, there isn’t an overwhelming sweetness invading your taste buds.

Instead, you know that you’re eating something that is relatively more healthy than most of the stuff out there.

Corn (88%), sugar, salt, barley malt extract, vitamins (vitamin E, niacin, vitamin B6, riboflavin, folate), minerals (iron, zinc oxide).

Among the many brands of cereals, Corn Flakes is one of the few in the United States that is not fortified with Vitamin D3, a type of vitamin that is generally found in lanolin, the grease from sheep’s wool. That’s usually what keeps vegans from consuming certain cereals like Frosted Flakes, Golden Grahams, among many other brands.

Thankfully, Corn Flares don’t have vitamin D3, so they are vegan. I’m happy to eat them from time to time, but we cannot ignore the fact that Corn Flakes also contain sugar.

Isn’t Sugar Vegan?

This might bore some people off, but for some stricter vegans, it’s important. In some countries (including the United States), sugar companies often use bone char to refine cane sugar. However, what some people aren’t aware of, is that bone char is actually the byproduct of heating the bones of cattle at extremely high temperatures.

It’s a black powder that sugar companies use specifically to decolorize sugar, through a filtration and bleaching process that gives sugar its white, glowing color.

The good news is that not every company uses bone char. In fact, some companies have now started using granular activated charcoal to achieve the same result. And other sugar companies source beet sugar, which does not require bone char to crystallize.

However, what’s frustrating is that you don’t know which type of sugar companies are using in their products, because it’s not specified on the labels. If you’re really interested in knowing, you need to contact the company and expect them to be transparent about it.

So yes, sugar is still considered a questionable ingredient, mainly due to the lack of transparency from companies.

Bottom Line: Corn Flakes Are Vegan!

Indeed, Corn Flakes don’t have any animal-based ingredients.

Therefore, there’s no way I could say the opposite.

There’s the issue with the use of bone char to decolorize sugar, but it’s an issue that it’s really hard to figure out. Oftentimes companies source from a bunch of different suppliers. So, you might have two suppliers that use bone char, and one that uses granular activated charcoal.

In the end, you won’t know what box of cereals contains vegan or non-vegan sugar.