Are Cocoa Pebbles Vegan?


Verdict: Cocoa Pebbles Are Not Vegan.


  • Cocoa Pebbles have vitamin D3 added, which definitely is not vegan.
  • They also have sugar and natural flavors in them, both of which may or may not be vegan.

While cocoa pebbles contain no meat or dairy, they aren’t exactly vegan friendly.

There are a handful of potential issues with Cocoa Pebbles for vegans.

I’ll go through each one, and then you can decide if you agree they aren’t vegan.

Which Cocoa Pebbles Ingredients Aren’t Vegan?

Here’s the full ingredient list of Cocoa Pebbles:

Rice, sugar, hydrogenated vegetable oil (coconut and palm oil), cocoa, salt, caramel color, and natural and artificial flavor, niacinamide, reduced iron, zinc oxide, vitamin B6, vitamin A palmitate, vitamin B2, vitamin B1, folic acid, vitamin B12, vitamin D3

I’ve highlighted 5 of the ingredients that either aren’t vegan, or have the potential not to be vegan. Since caramel color is usually vegan, we won’t about that.

But the other 4 are worth going into a bit of detail on. We’ll start with the most problematic ingredients.

Vitamin D3 Added to Cereals is Not Vegan

The clearest issue here is the small amount of vitamin D3 in the cereal.

Vitamin D3 almost always comes from the oil in sheep’s wool, also known as lanolin.

While it can come from a vegan source, a company needs to go out of the way to use it, and I’m nearly certain that Post Cereals (who produces Cocoa Pebbles and others) do not use a vegan source of D3.

Yes, it’s a very small amount, and some vegans might be okay with that, but for most: Cocoa Pebbles are not vegan because of the vitamin D alone.

If you’d like to learn more about D3, see my article on whether or not vitamin D3 is vegan.

Plain “Sugar” is Often Not Vegan

Sugar isn’t an obvious non-vegan ingredient, but in North America, a lot of it is filtered using bone char (comes from cattle bones).

You can’t tell if sugar is vegan or not based on seeing “sugar” in the ingredients list.

But it’s not safe to assume it is. And when it comes to giant companies like Post Cereals, which usually have multiple sugar suppliers, there’s a very good chance at least one of those uses bone char.

Natural Flavors May or May Not Be Vegan

The term “natural flavors” on an ingredients label covers a wide range of ingredients.

Some natural flavors are vegan, and some of which are not (they come from meat, dairy, etc.).

The only ones who knows the specific flavors used here are the manufacturers. But considering we already know Cocoa Pebbles aren’t vegan, I don’t think it’s necessary to contact Post Cereals about it.

Palm Oil is Technically Vegan, But Many Vegans Don’t Eat It

palm oil bowl

Palm oil comes from palm fruit, which you might think is vegan, however it’s one of the few plants that many ethical vegans don’t eat.

It’s a controversial issue, so if you’d like to learn why, I’ve written a detailed post about why palm oil is only “technically” vegan.

Summary: Cocoa Puffs Aren’t Vegan

In summary, some people may consider Cocoa Pebbles to be vegan, but most ethical vegans would say it’s not.

The D3 and sugar are almost certainly not vegan.

The natural flavors may or may not be vegan friendly. Then there’s also palm oil, which many vegans avoid.

About the author

Dale Cudmore

Your friendly neighborhood vegan from Toronto. Chemical engineer turned semi-professional soccer player and freelance nutrition writer. I've been vegan for years and try to make life easier for others by sharing what I've learned.