Are Flapjacks Vegan? Here Is Everything You Need To Know

Flapjacks (or oat bars) are popular in the UK. In other English-speaking countries, they go by other names such as cereal bars, muesli bars, granola bars, or oat bars.

Typically, this sweet consists of rolled oats, butter, brown sugar, and golden syrup, so in many cases, it’s not considered vegan. Also, flapjacks can have extra ingredients like milk/white chocolate, peanut butter, dried fruit such as glace cherries, nuts, yogurt, toffee pieces, and other toppings.

Many commercially sold flapjacks (or oat bars) also contain milk protein.

This doesn’t mean you can’t find variations made from fully plant-based ingredients. It just means you have to deeper and find a solution that is more adequate to your lifestyle.

In this article, we cover everything you need to know about flapjacks. 

Why Traditional Flapjacks Can’t Be Vegan

sk8geek, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In a second I went over the most popular flapjacks on Amazon UK.

While I didn’t find flapjacks with butter, the majority of them have a protein blend which is a mixture of whey protein concentrate and casein powder. (milk protein)

In addition, some also contain palm oil and regular sugar, two ingredients with a bad reputation within the vegan community.

But let’s also keep in mind that depending on the brand, the recipe changes. So while one flapjack may have palm oil and regular, refined sugar, another might not.

Read Next: Clif Bars: Which Flavors Are Actually Vegan?

Why Does Regular Sugar Have Bad Rep?

Besides being a really unhealthy ingredient, there’s a dark reality behind sugar production.

Now, this does not include all countries, but in some countries, bone char is used to filter and bleach the sugar extracted from sugarcane. In fact, raw sugar only undergoes a single-crystallization process; not quite the same as regular, refined sugar.

What is bone char?

Sugar companies produce bone char (carbonized bones) by heating the bones of cattle.

Certain entities suggest that bone char isn’t in the actual sugar because it’s merely used to remove impurities. But it’s still part of the process. 

Moreover, not every company uses bone char. Some companies use granular carbon, a product that doesn’t have animal ingredients. Many European countries, as well as Australia and New Zealand,  banned bone char. I can’t say the same for the United States.

However, that doesn’t eliminate the fact some European companies may import sugar from countries where bone char is allowed.

That’s why If I was a stricter vegan, I would ask the company before buying the product.

Palm Oil

Palm oil is technically considered vegan. It derives from the palm fruit that grows in palm trees. But palm oil extraction brings animals pain and death. Because humans clear massive amounts of land to grow palm trees, various species lose their natural habitat and end up dying.

In fact, orangutangs will face extinction if within ten years we don’t do anything to curb the insatiable demand for palm oil and unsustainable agricultural practices.

Considering the environmental and animal impact, some vegans are against palm oil consumption. An alternative would be to consume organic palm oil since it’s not as destructive as the former.

Read Next: Are Donuts Vegan? Everything You Need To Know

Vegan Flapjack Suggestions.

In this section of the blog post, I’ll give you some suggestions for vegan flapjacks.

They’re easier to find than you might think. Certainly, you can find them in local supermarkets, or you can use Amazon UK to get them delivered to your doorsteps.

#1 – TREK High Protein Flapjack

TREK high protein flapjack

Ingredients: Gluten-Free Oats (29%), Rice Syrup, Vegetable Oils, Soya Protein Crunches (16%) (Soya Protein, Tapioca Starch, Salt), Soya Flour, Raw Cane Sugar, Natural Flavouring.

Don’t worry, raw cane sugar doesn’t undergo the same process as refined sugar.

Refined sugar is filtered and bleached with bone char to get a pristine white color, but raw cane sugar is brown. The Trek High Protein Flapjacks are delicious and are available on Amazon.

#2 – Graze Cocoa Vanilla & Oats Vegan Protein Bites

vegan flapjacks

Ingredients: Oats (29%), margarine (vegetable oils [rapeseed, palm], water, salt), golden syrup, soy protein crispies (11%) (isolated soy protein, tapioca starch, salt), demerara sugar, linseeds (4%), sunflower seeds (3%), cocoa powder (3%), stabiliser: xanthan gum, natural flavouring

First off, demerara sugar is similar to raw sugar, since it’s minimally processed.

On a second note, xanthan gum may not always be vegan. According to the folks at the Vegetarian Resource Group, xanthan is usually a byproduct of bacterial fermentation.

However, in some cases, chicken lysozyme may be used to purify the xanthan gum.

If you want to learn more, click here.

#3 – Ma Baker Flapjacks

vegan flapjacks by ma baker

Ingredients: Oats (42%), Vegetable oils (Rapeseed oil, Palm oil), Golden syrup, Sugar, Blueberry fruit pieces (4%), Soy flour, Vegetable glycerine, Blueberries (0.5%), Flavouring

*Depending on the flavor, some ingredients may change. But the four bars in the image should be suitable for vegans.

Not every vegan is against palm oil consumption, that’s why I’m suggesting these flapjacks. But if you’re against it, then please ignore this one. Otherwise, feel free to find the Ma Backer Flapjacks on Amazon.

Vegan Flapjack Recipes

There are a few reasons why I love to suggest vegan recipes.

Most of the time you can save money, and it’s automatically healthier because you can control how much sugar/salt goes into the recipe. Plus, there are no weird ingredients.

Here are some of the best vegan flapjack recipes out there:

  1. 5-Ingredient Granola (Flapjack) Bars by The Minimalist Baker
  2. Vegan Chewy Granola (Flapjack) Bars by From My Bowl
  3. Vegan Granola (Flapjack) Bars by Show Me The Yummy

To make flapjacks you don’t need to take a whole evening off.

In fact, most recipes should take you less than 30 minutes to make.

I personally recommend the one from The Minimalist Baker, since there’s heavy testing before the flavor is approved. Whenever I’m searching for sweet recipes, that’s the site I visit.

Thank you for reading this blog post!

Flapjack FAQs

Do Flapjacks Contain Gluten?

Unfortunately, flapjacks are usually made with oats. Even though technically, oats do not contain gluten, they can’t be labeled gluten-free because there are potential concerns about cross-contamination with gluten-containing grains such as wheat, barley, or rye. 

Do Flapjacks Have Nuts?

Flapjacks oftentimes will not contain nuts as an ingredient, however, due to cross-contamination, some flapjack products may contain small traces of nuts and seeds. 

Do Flapjacks Harden As They Cool?

Flapjacks are soft when they come out of the oven, however, as you leave them to cool down, they will harden and acquire a more crunchy texture. However, make sure you don’t take them out too early, otherwise, they might crumble easily. 

Do Flapjacks Contain Egg?

Flapjacks are typically not made with eggs, but some recipes may call for it. 

Alexandre Valente

Hey there! My name is Alex and I've been vegan for more than five years! I've set up this blog because I'm really passionate about veganism and living a more eco-conscious life. Hopefully, I can use this website as a channel to help you out on your own journey!

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