Are Pop Tarts Vegan? (Check Out These Vegan Flavors)

Pop-Tarts are the childhood treats of many people, but now that they have transitioned to a vegan diet, it begs the question; are pop tarts suitable for vegans?

While most Pop-Tarts are not suitable for vegans, the Unfrosted Strawberry, Blueberry, and Brown Sugar Cinnamon are vegan. They don’t contain animal ingredients like whey or gelatin, which you will find in non-vegan Pop-Tarts. 

However, let me point out that even the vegan Pop-Tarts contain controversial ingredients worth analyzing. 

Let’s first look at the non-vegan ingredients in Pop-Tarts, and then determine whether you should eat the vegan Pop-Tarts even though they don’t have animal ingredients. 

Non-Vegan Ingredients

While the combination of ingredients varies across the different varieties of Pop-Tarts, two main non-vegan ingredients can be found: milk and gelatin.

In addition, you can also find milk derivatives in the form of whey, and also cream.

Some varieties also contain egg whites, which are yet another non-vegan ingredient.

On top of that, there are also questionable ingredients we need to carefully consider, but let’s do that once we go over the different Pop-Tarts.

Non-Vegan Pop-Tarts

Among the list of non-vegan Pop-Tarts, you can find 14 flavors that contain at least one of the non-vegan ingredients we’ve mentioned above. 

Therefore, instead of analyzing each flavor, I’ve decided to create a quick table to let you know which flavors are not vegan, along with the non-vegan ingredients. 

Flavor: Non-vegan ingredients:
Strawberry Gelatin
Strawberry Milkshake Cream, Gelatin
Gone Nutty Peanut Butter Milk
S’mores Whey, Milk, Gelatin, Egg whites
Brown Sugar Cinnamon Gelatin
Cinnamon Roll Gelatin
Hot Fudge Sundae Gelatin
Blueberry Gelatin
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Milk, Gelatin, Egg whites
Chocolate Chip Whey, Milk, Gelatin, Egg whites
Vanilla Milkshake Whey, Gelatin
Chocolate Fudge Whey, Gelatin, Egg whites
Cherry Gelatin

Keep in mind that Pop-Tarts (the brand) consistently creates new flavors, and with the increase in people that follow a vegan diet, we might see more vegan flavors popping up, and old recipes being altered.

Vegan Pop-Tarts

vegan pop tarts

Three Pop-Tarts varieties are considered vegan.

But even though they may be considered vegan for most vegans, there are still some ingredients that may be questionable for stricter vegans.

Before we get into that, here are the three “vegan” Pop-Tarts:

  • Unfrosted Strawberry
  • Unfrosted Blueberry
  • Unfrosted Brown Sugar Cinnamon

For most of us, these flavors are considered vegan. They do not contain any flagrant animal ingredients, so according to popular definition, they are vegan.

However, they contain three controversial ingredients:

  • Palm Oil
  • Added Colors
  • Natural Flavors

These three ingredients have a bad reputation within the vegan community because they are linked to animal suffering. 

Palm Oil

Although palm oil is without a doubt a plant-based ingredient, the production of palm oil raises ethical, environmental, and social challenges.

Deforestation for palm oil plantations destroys habitats and consequently threatens the existence of certain species, including the orangutang, the Sumatran Elephant, the Bornean Pygmy Elephant, the Sumatran Rhino, and the Sumatran Tiger.

Knowing this break my heart, and it gets even worse when I view videos like this one:

Unsustainable palm oil production is also responsible for global warming. Sadly, to condition the land and establish palm oil plantations, rainforests are drained. As they dry, the peat-filled soils release large amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas with 23 times the impact of CO2.

The production of palm oil plantations also has dire consequences for the native people.

According to a report by the International Labor Rights Forum, they found several human rights violations after visiting 3 palm tree plantations in Indonesia:

  1. Workers are misled into working for these plantations, and are forced to stay and work because they are tricked into a debt-bondage situation;
  2. They are also forced to bring children to work so that they meet impossible quotas.

To make matters worse, the report shows case studies on Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certified plantations; the ones typically considered as good plantations. 

Added Colors

animal testing

Some of the Pop-Tarts contain artificial colors (red #40, blue #1, blue #2).

The issue with artificial (or added) colors is that they’re a by-product of animal testing. 

While most vegans are fine with eating artificial colors, some stricter vegans stand heavily against it, for legitimate reasons.

For instance, I did not know artificial colors required periodic testing to meet safety standards.

However, I’ve found two tests made in 2017 and 2018.

Because added colors have dire health risks, tests need to be made from time to time. But unfortunately, that doesn’t roll with some (if not, most) vegans.

Natural Flavors

The only “vegan” variety that contains natural flavors is the Unfrosted Blueberry flavor, and the issue with natural flavors is that some of the flavors are not vegan.

In fact, here is the definition of “Natura Flavors”, according to the FDA:

“The term natural flavor or natural flavoring… contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional.”

Because we’re referring to a product that supposedly tastes like blueberry, the flavor is likely to come from real blueberries plucked from a real blueberry bush.

Are There Any Real Vegan Alternatives To Pop-Tarts?

While there isn’t an abundance of alternatives, I still managed to find one: Bobo’s Toast’R Pastry.

Bobo’s has different flavors available which include: Strawberry Jam, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Chocolate Almond Butter, and Blueberry Lemon Poppyseed. Every flavor is suitable for vegans. 

Summary: Some Pop-Tarts Are Vegan

To summarize, Pop-Tarts has 3 flavors that do not contain animal ingredients.

These flavors are:

  • Unfrosted Strawberry
  • Unfrosted Blueberry
  • Unfrosted Brown Sugar Cinnamon

If you’re a vegan who is fine with consuming ingredients such as palm oil, added colors, and natural flavors, then those are the flavors you can eat.

Pop-Tarts FAQs

Are Pop-Tarts Gluten-Free?

Unfortunately, Pop-Tarts are not gluten-free because they are made with wheat flour, which contains gluten.

Are Pop-Tarts Halal?

Most Pop-Tarts are not halal because they contain gelatin, which is an ingredient that is extracted from either cows or pigs. However, the Unfrosted Strawberry, Blueberry, and Brown Sugar Cinnamon do not contain gelatin, so they should be suitable for vegans. 

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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