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:
- Apple Cinnamon
- Mixed Berry
- 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
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 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.
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:
- Nature’s Bakery Whole Wheat Fig Bars
- Vega Protein Snack Bar
- Freedom Bar
- good! Vegan Protein Bar
- Shanti The Superfood Protein Bar
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!
Are Nutrigrain Bars Healthy?
While it’s often to see food items like the Nutrigrain bars being advertised as a healthy snack option, the truth is that they’re high in added sugars, which means they’re unhealthy and can potentiate health issues.
Are Nutrigrain Bars Nut-Free?
The Nutrigrain Bars do not contain a statement suggesting they may contain nuts, therefore, yes, they’re nut-free.
Are Nutrigrain Bars Gluten-Free?
Even though the Nutrigrain Bars only contain a moderate amount of wholewheat and wheat flour, they’re still not suitable for people with celiac disease or gluten allergy who are generally very sensitive to gluten.