Are Cocoa Puffs Vegan? (Find Out Now!)

It can be quite confusing for vegans when products don’t have ingredients like eggs or milk in their ingredient list but don’t use a vegan label because you may or may not know what specific ingredients come from animals. This is the case with cocoa puffs.

Yes, cocoa puffs are probably vegan. However, they have sugar and vitamin D3, considered non-vegan in some situations. They do not contain any other obvious animal-sourced ingredients. But they do not use a vegan label either, which means there is a possibility the sugar and Vitamin D3 come from animal sources. 

This article will explain why sugar and vitamin D3 may be considered non-vegan. We’ll also give you a nutritional breakdown of this popular breakfast cereal.

Why Cocoa Puffs May Not Be Vegan

Cocoa puffs don’t have any obviously animal-sourced ingredients. The only reason why they are not considered vegan in some situations is because of two ingredients you’d never suspect: sugar and vitamin D3. 

Let’s take a look at why these two seemingly innocent ingredients can be non-vegan at times.


Sugar processed in the United States might not be vegan. While the source is sugar beets or sugar canes, the processing can potentially contain animal-sourced products. 

Sugar from sugarcane is processed using bone char as a decolorizing agent. The bones come from cattle in developing countries like Pakistan, India, and Argentina, and these countries sell bones to suppliers in the US through traders. 

The specific trade chain doesn’t matter very much. The point is simply that the sugar used in cocoa puffs may have been processed using cattle bones. Strict vegans only consume products that they know don’t use animal-sourced ingredients. 

At the same time, some vegans don’t take this very seriously as there is no way to tell what sugar is being used in cocoa puffs, and companies aren’t required to disclose this information. As such, there is no way to determine if your cocoa puffs are vegan or not. 

There are alternatives to bone char like granular carbon that may be used as decolorizers. So there is a possibility that even sugar derived from sugarcane could be vegan. 

Vitamin D3

Vitamin D3, much like sugar, can be vegan or non-vegan. If a product doesn’t have a vegan label but lists this vitamin in its ingredient list, there is a good chance it comes from sheep wool.

Sheep wool contains an oil called lanolin which has high amounts of vitamin D3. Since cocoa puffs don’t come with a vegan label, the Vitamin D3 is probably derived from lanolin. 

Nutritional Value

General Mills cereal has a comprehensive nutritional breakdown. It is based on a serving of one cup, and the daily value amounts assume that the person in question requires 2000 calories every day. 

Overall, this cereal is a good source of calcium and vitamin D. While the latter may not be vegan-friendly, it has nutritional benefits that are super important for little kids to get. Calcium is also important for children. 

One box of cocoa puffs has about 16 servings if each serving is around 27 grams which is ¾ cup. 

Calories: 100

Amount% of daily value required 
Sodium100 mg4%
Carbohydrates23 g8%
Dietary Fiber 3 g8%
Potassium85 mg2%
Fat1.5 g2%
Protein1 g<1%
Vitamins and Minerals% of daily value required
Vitamin A 10%
Vitamin D10%
Calcium 10%
Riboflavin 25%
Vitamin B625%
Vitamin B1225%
Copper 2%
Vitamin C10%
Iron 25%
Niacin 25%
Folic Acid 25%
Phosphorus 6%
Zinc 25%

Non-Vegan Ingredients In Cocoa Puffs

Other than sugar and vitamin D, the rest of the ingredients in cocoa puffs are vegan-friendly. These are all either artificially created or plant sourced. The ingredients themselves and their processing do not include any animal-source product or by-product. 

Our research has shown that they are not typically tested on animals either. 

These ingredients include:

  • Whole Grain Corn
  • Corn Meal
  • Corn Syrup
  • Salt
  • Caramel Color
  • Refiner’s Syrup
  • Baking Soda
  • Cocoa Processed with Alkali
  • Canola Oil
  • Fructose
  • Natural Flavor

All these ingredients aren’t necessarily healthy. Some have potentially bad implications for your health. However, they are all vegan. As a vegan, it is evident that you care about the nutritional benefits and implications of what you eat. 

At the same time, cocoa puffs are a breakfast cereal. It’s processed food, and if you’re considering eating it yourself or giving it to a child around you, you probably aren’t looking for the healthiest snack. 

It is okay if the ingredient list doesn’t have the healthiest things because that’s not what you’re looking for in a breakfast cereal. You’d probably make it yourself if you wanted a super healthy breakfast option. 

Fresh produce makes for the best healthy breakfast. But that isn’t what we’re discussing here. As a breakfast cereal, cocoa puffs are one of the best options. The vitamin D in them likely isn’t vegan-friendly, though. So this isn’t appropriate for strict vegans. 

Final Thoughts

While the possibility of the sugar in cocoa puffs being non-vegan is less than conclusive, there is a good chance the vitamin D3 in it comes from sheep wool. However, this conclusion can’t be stated with complete certainty as the company doesn’t have to declare the source of its products. 

At the same time, if the product were vegan, the company would probably use a vegan label. Since they do not do so and there is room for the use of animal-sourced ingredients in their production, we do not believe cocoa puffs are vegan. 

If you enjoyed reading this article, be sure to check our guide on whether or not m&m’s are vegan.

Brett White
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