The criss-cross patterns of this cereal are a familiar sight, but the ingredients in most fortified breakfast options can be concerning for plant-based diets.
This has many people asking the question, is Chex Cereal vegan? The answer is that it depends on how strict you are. We’re going to take a close look at the ingredients, and see if there are any vegan alternatives.
Chex Cereal Ingredients
With nine flavors to choose from, the original recipe is the best place to start and then look at any controversial ingredients in the alternative versions.
The ingredients in Wheat Chex are fortified with vitamins and minerals, and read as follows:
Whole Grain Wheat, Sugar, Salt, Molasses, Baking Soda. Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols) Added to Preserve Freshness. Calcium Carbonate, Iron and Zinc (mineral nutrients), Vitamin C (sodium ascorbate), A B Vitamin (niacinamide), Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride), Vitamin B1 (thiamin mononitrate), Vitamin A (palmitate), Vitamin B2 (riboflavin), A B Vitamin (folic acid), Vitamin B12, Vitamin D3.
Two main culprits make this product non-vegan.
Because a lot of commercial cereal brands use bone char to decolorize their sugar, it can make many products unsuitable for vegans.
Bone char uses the charred bones of cattle and pigs, importing them before bleaching sugar to make it a more desirable white. Although there is never any trace of bone char in sugar once this process has finished, it still raises questions of ethics that many can’t ignore.
The problem is that there is not a transparent supply chain. This means companies do not need to disclose whether or not they use this method so it can be hard for vegans to tell if a product should be avoided or not.
Contacting brands directly can help, although you often get a vague response about how using multiple suppliers makes it difficult to tell.
To be safe, opt for organic sugar, or sugar made from beets or coconut.
Another controversial ingredient, Vitamin D3 is usually extracted from the waxy grease on sheep’s wool called lanolin. It doesn’t sound appetizing at all, but because the vegan alternative lichen is more expensive, it is not as widely used.
Because of this, it is far more likely that Chex Cereal uses lanolin to fortify their cereal with vitamin D3.
Are Any Chex Cereal Flavors Vegan?
Based on the above ingredients, they are not. Every flavor contains sugar and Vitamin D3, and although Rice Chex and Corn Chex do not contain other controversial ingredients, the following contains these two ingredients, plus others to look out for:
- Chocolate Chex – natural flavor
- Peanut Butter Chex – natural flavor
- Cinnamon Chex – natural flavor
- Blueberry Chex – natural flavor
- Honey Nut Chex – honey and natural flavor
- Vanilla Chex – natural flavor
Natural Flavors are difficult for vegans because companies do not need to disclose where they are derived from. They may be sourced from both plant-based and animal-based ingredients making it hard for vegans to tell if a product is suitable or not.
Honey in the Honey Nut Chex is an obvious no because it deprives bees of their natural food source, and is an animal-derived ingredient.
Is Chex Cereal Vegan?
Any strict vegan will choose to avoid the four main ingredients we have spoken about. The inclusion of D3 is the most significant, although sugar is often avoided as well.
This makes all Chex Cereal flavors non-vegan but some vegans are not so strict and may see the ingredients as acceptable, apart from honey.
Does Chex Cereal Contain Dairy?
It does not. There are no signs of milk, buttermilk, butter, lactose, whey, or any other dairy ingredients.
The labels do say their cereal may contain traces of milk, which likely means it is made on or near equipment that sometimes handles these ingredients for other products.
Does Chex Cereal Contain Eggs?
None of the nine flavors of Chex Cereal contain eggs or any ingredients derived from eggs.
To help you get your breakfast cereal fix, we have selected a couple of our vegan-friendly favorites:
BARBARA’S BAKERY Original Puffins Cereal, 10 OZ
Found for kids, but also tasty and vegan friendly, these are crunchy pillows of non-GMO cereal that are sweetened by molasses, made from sugar beets. The ingredients read as follows:
Yellow corn flour, corn bran flour, unsulphured molasses, whole oat flour, expeller pressed high oleic oil (canola and/or Sunflower), salt baking soda, vitamin C (ascorbic acid), natural vitamin E (mixed tocopherols to maintain freshness)
Cascadian Farm Organic Cinnamon Crunch Cereal, Whole Grain Cereal, 9.2 oz
With plenty of organic ingredients including sugar meaning it is not processed with bone char, this is another vegan option, and an alternative to Chex Cinnamon:
Whole Grain Wheat*, Cane Sugar*, Rice Flour*, Sunflower Oil*, Oat Fiber*, Maltodextrin*, Cinnamon*, Sea Salt, Dextrose*. Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols) Added to Preserve Freshness. *Organic
So although it is not easy to confirm whether Chex Cereal uses lanolin for their vitamin D3, it is likely that they do, and therefore Chex Cereal is not vegan.
It shows the importance of a transparent label, but thankfully, there are vegan-friendly options available to pour your milk alternative over every morning.