Are Fruity Pebbles Vegan? (What About Cocoa Pebbles?)

Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles are brands of cereals launched by Post Consumer Brands, an American consumer cereal manufacturer. They got popularized through publicity using characters from the Flintstones as spokestoons to endorse their products.

Both are rice-based cereals with an incredibly crispy and delicious taste. Fruity Pebbles is available in a wide variety of fruity flavors, namely grape, lime, berry blue, incrediberry purple, and bedrock berry pink flavors, while Cocoa Pebbles have an amazing cocoa flavor (that is sweetened with sugar).

So, are Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles vegan? Unfortunately, Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles are not vegan because they contain vitamin D3 which is synthesized from lanolin, a waxy substance derived from sheep wool. Vegan vitamin D3 indeed exists (it comes from lichen), but the one present in cereals like Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles is not vegan. 

In addition to vitamin D3, other ingredients raise questions, namely sugar, artificial colors, and palm oil. In this article, we’re going to address them and we’ll also provide you with some vegan alternatives to these cereals.

Why Aren’t Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles Vegan?

Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles contain vitamin D3.

The synthesis of vitamin D is a multi-stage process that begins with 7-dehydrocholesterol extracted from the lanolin found in greasy sheep’s wool. It is irradiated with a high-intensity light to form vitamin D and then heated to form the final product that is vitamin D3.


Most cereals contain vitamin D3 derived from lanolin, which is why vegans avoid them, even though some of them (including Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles) do not contain other flagrant ingredients like milk or gelatin.

However, it’s also important to note that most cereals have ingredients like sugar, palm oil, and artificial colors, which are considered questionable, and may not be vegan upon closer analysis.

Fruity Pebbles, for instance, contains all the aforementioned ingredients.

Why Sugar May Not Be Vegan

beets vs sugar canes

Sugar is usually derived from two sources: sugar beets and sugarcane.

They’re used in similar amounts in the United States and they both have a similar taste and texture. However, they’re processed differently and that is where the problem lies. 

Beet sugar is always vegan because it follows a refining process that doesn’t use animal ingredients. It’s filtered through a diffuser and mixed with additives to crystallize. But cane sugar, in a lot of cases, is refined using a property called bone char, which is obtained by heating the bones of cattle until they convert into powder.

Not all sugar suppliers use bone char, but it’s important to emphasize that a lot of companies/brands, including Mondelez Internation, use a mixed pool of sugar suppliers, including ones that use bone char.

So you must always consider this fact when making future purchases because this is more common than you’d normally believe.

Why Artificial Colors May Not Be Vegan

The issue with artificial colors is that they are tested on animals for safety purposes.

It would be tolerable if artificial colors were only required to be tested once before being used in products, but these studies from 2017 and 2018 show that artificial colors (like red #40) are periodically tested.

This essentially means that animals are occasionally sacrificed as a result, which is something that not everyone in the vegan community agrees with. For that reason, a lot of vegans avoid artificial colors.

Why Palm Oil May Not Be Vegan

Palm oil is a rather ‘destructive’ plant-based ingredient, mostly because of monocultures.

To produce palm oil, acres of rainforest are cut down, and that consequently results in the loss of animal habitat for all sorts of animal species, but it also results in the release of greenhouse gases.

This study by reveals that between 1995 and 2015, 100,000 orangutans died due to the loss of habitat caused by the increasing demand for palm oil. Species such as elephants, rhinos, and tigers are also at risk.

Because of that, many vegans choose not to consume products containing palm oil.

Vegan Cereal Alternatives to Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles

Since Fruit and Cocoa Pebbles are not vegan, it’s only right for me to provide you with some equally delicious alternatives that are 100% vegan. Just because we’re vegan, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any intriguing options available, which is why I’ve compiled the list of vegan cereals below:

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

Some brands above (namely, Kellogg’s and General Mills), also sell non-vegan products, and that may be problematic for more stringent vegans, but that doesn’t change the fact some of their products are vegan.

Summary: Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles Are Not Vegan

Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles are not suitable for vegans.

Unfortunately, like many kinds of cereal, contain vitamin D3, which is a form of vitamin D that is derived from lanolin, a property taken from sheep’s wool. Additionally, they also contain other suspicious ingredients such as sugar, artificial colors, and palm oil, which are associated with animal cruelty.

However, don’t let that get you down! I’ve found some interesting alternatives, which also include cereals that use fruits in their confection, specifically 365 Everyday Value Organic Morning O’s and Cascadian Farm Organic Fruitful O’s.

Related Questions

What are the ingredients in Fruity Pebbles?

The ingredients in Fruity Pebbles are the following:

Rice, Sugar, Hydrogenated oil (coconut and palm kernel oils), Salt, Red 40, Yellow 5 & 6, Turmeric oleoresin (color), Blue 1 & 2, Yellow 5, BHA, Sodium ascorbate (vitamin C), Ascorbic acid (vitamin C), Niacinamide, Reduced Iron, Zinc oxide (zinc), Vitamin B6, Vitamin A palmitate, Riboflavin (vitamin B2), Thiamin mononitrate (vitamin B1), Folic acid, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D3

What are the ingredients in Cocoa Pebbles?

These ingredients in Cocoa Pebbles are the following:

Rice, Sugar, Canola Oil, Cocoa (Processed with Alkali), Salt, Caramel Color, Natural & Artificial flavors, BHT, Niacinamide (Vitamin B3), Reduced Iron, Zinc Oxide, Vitamin A Palmitate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Thiamin Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Folic Acid, Vitamin D3, Vitamin B12.

This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you, if you purchase through these links. See my full disclosure here.

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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