Are Nutri Grain Bars Vegan?

Nutri-Grain is a brand of breakfast cereal and breakfast bars made by the Kellogg Company.

In countries like Australia and New Zealand, Nutri-Grain is essentially a breakfast cereal made from corn, oats, and wheat. But in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and Ireland, Nutri-Grain corresponds to breakfast bars.

Depending on the country you live in, you may have access to more or fewer flavors. In the United States, you can find Nutri-Grain breakfast bars available in the following varieties:

  • Regular Soft-Baked Bars
  • Soft-Baked Mini Breakfast Bars

Among these three varieties, you can find the following flavors:

  • Strawberry
  • Raspberry
  • Blueberry
  • Apple Cinnamon
  • Mixed Berry
  • Cherry
  • Grapetastic
  • Awesome Apple
  • Strawberry Blast

This is information taken from the Nutrigrain US website, so it should be accurate. Also according to the SmartLabels made available on the same website, I’ve verified that Nutri-Grain bars are not suitable for vegans. Unfortunately, all of them contain whey, a dairy-based ingredient.

Nutri-Grain Bars: Ingredients

nutri grain

Ingredients: Crust: Whole grain oats, enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, vitamin B1 [thiamin mononitrate], vitamin B2 [riboflavin], folic acid), soybean oil, whole wheat flour, sugar, dextrose, fructose, calcium carbonate, vegetable glycerin, invert sugar, salt, whey, soluble corn fiber, wheat bran, cellulose, natural flavors, potassium bicarbonate, mono- and diglycerides, soy lecithin, wheat gluten, niacinamide, vitamin A palmitate, carrageenan, zinc oxide, reduced iron, guar gum, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride), vitamin B1 (thiamin hydrochloride),  and vitamin B2 (riboflavin). Filling: invert sugar, corn syrup, strawberry puree concentrate, vegetable glycerin, sugar, modified food starch, vegetable juice for color, sodium citrate, sodium alginate, citric acid, natural flavors, dicalcium phosphate, methylcellulose, and malic acid.

The ingredients above are essentially the same for the different flavors and variations, with the exception being the food colorings and flavors that must reflect the fruit being advertised.

Unfortunately, the crust of the Nutri-grain bar contains whey.

Whey Protein Concentrate

Whey is basically what’s left after the milk is curdled or strained during the production of cheese or yogurt. It has many uses, but in this particular case, it is used as an emulsifying for other ingredients and also to improve the mouthfeel and nutritional value of the Nutri-Grain bars.

Controversial Ingredients

In addition to whey, the Nutri-Grain bars also contain some controversial ingredients. These are basically ingredients that may or not be vegan depending on different factors such as source, refining process, testing methods, as well as each vegan’s point of view.

In Nutri-Grain bars, the ingredients are the following:

Refined Sugar: The reason sugar is highly controversial is due to the refining method employed by certain sugar companies. Unfortunately, some sugar companies filter and bleach sugar using a decolorizing and deashing agent called bone char, an animal-based ingredient.

(Feel free to read more on refined sugar here.)

Natural Flavors: While natural flavors are usually plant-based, they can also be derived from animals. However, because companies are not required to reveal the source of these natural flavors, consumers are left in the dark. It’s not common, but some companies may hide animal-based ingredients under the “natural flavors” umbrella, an attitude vegans despise.

(Feel free to read more on natural flavors here.)

Vegan Alternatives to Nutri-Grain Bars

Here are some of the vegan alternatives I’ve found:

These are just some of the options I’ve found with a rapid search, but I’m sure you can find even more if you dedicate a little bit more time.

Thankfully, the vegan movement is growing, and so are the options.

Summary: Nutri-Grain Bars Are Not Vegan

Nutri-Grain Bars are not vegan because they contain whey, a dairy-based ingredient. 

However, not everything is lost because you can find some pretty good vegan alternatives. In fact, I’ve suggested some vegan bars just above, so feel free to check them out!

I hope this blog post has served you well!

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About the Author: Alexandre Valente

Hey there! My name is Alex and I've been vegan for more than three 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!