Are Oreos Vegan? Let’s Find Out…

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When you go vegan, a lot of candy that you might have eaten before becomes off-limits.

A lot of people online, particularly new vegans, happily exclaim: “Oreos are vegan!”

But it’s controversial to say the least.

First off, there are over 180 oreo products:

oreo products

Most have similar ingredients, and they’re just variations of the same main products.

In this post we’ll look at the main types:

  • Classic oreos
  • Oreo thins
  • Golden oreos

Keep in mind that they may have different ingredients based on country. In this post I’ll be going off the ingredients listed on Oreo’s official site.

I assume those are for the U.S. The ingredients in the ones in Canada that I see are a bit different, but still have the same non-vegan ingredient.

Are Classic Oreos Vegan?

oreo classic cookies

Here’s the full ingredient list for your standard oreo, straight from its product page:

UNBLEACHED ENRICHED FLOUR (WHEAT FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMINE MONONITRATE {VITAMIN B1}, RIBOFLAVIN {VITAMIN B2}, FOLIC ACID), SUGARPALM AND/OR CANOLA OIL, COCOA (PROCESSED WITH ALKALI), HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, LEAVENING (BAKING SODA AND/OR CALCIUM PHOSPHATE), SALT, SOY LECITHIN, CHOCOLATE, ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR.

All of those appear to be plant-based, but that doesn’t mean they are vegan.

There are 2 main potential issues here:

  1. Sugar – White sugar in North America is often not vegan because it’s processed with bone char. There’s a very high chance that Oreos contain this sugar, which most would not consider vegan.
  2. Palm oil – Many vegans don’t consume palm oil. Harvesting palm oil typically causes a lot of animal suffering (much more than other crops).

If you’re interested in learning more about palm oil, read my full post about why vegans often avoid palm oil.

In short:

  • Palm oil plantations have numerous human right violations.
  • Tigers are driven off their land and have reached endangered numbers.
  • Orangutans are beaten, killed, and burned alive while clearing new land for palm trees (where the oil comes from).

Verdict: Classic Oreos are probably not vegan. Even if they did use vegan sugar, many vegans would still not want to eat them because they contain palm oil.

Are Golden Oreos Vegan?

Next up are the popular golden oreos.

Here’s the full list of ingredients:

INGREDIENTS: SUGAR, UNBLEACHED ENRICHED FLOUR (WHEAT FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMINE MONONITRATE {VITAMIN B1}, RIBOFLAVIN {VITAMIN B2}, FOLIC ACID), PALM AND/OR CANOLA OIL, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, SALT, BAKING SODA, SOY LECITHIN, ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, NATURAL FLAVOR.

Slightly different order, but mostly the same ingredients.

Again, there’s sugar and palm oil in it, which just isn’t vegan to most vegans.

Verdict: No, golden oreos are not vegan.

Are Oreo Thin Cookies Vegan?

Not surprisingly, Oreo thin cookies have almost the same ingredient list as classic oreos.

INGREDIENTS: SUGAR, UNBLEACHED ENRICHED FLOUR (WHEAT FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMINE MONONITRATE {VITAMIN B1}, RIBOFLAVIN {VITAMIN B2}, FOLIC ACID), PALM AND/OR CANOLA OIL, COCOA (PROCESSED WITH ALKALI), HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, SALT, SOY LECITHIN, BAKING SODA, CHOCOLATE, ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR.

You probably see a pattern, there’s sugar and palm oil in just about every Oreo product.

Verdict: No, Oreo Thin Cookies are not vegan, due to the sugar they contain. They also have palm oil, which you may want to avoid.

Summary

While Oreos are not the worst offenders when it comes to junk food, it seems that most (if not all) Oreo products are not vegan.

There are 2 issues in every product we looked at: the sugar and palm oil.

There are alternatives that don’t have these issues. I’ve seen a few different brands at Whole Foods who offer Oreo-style cookies, but are vegan-friendly.

About the author

Dale C.

Your friendly neighborhood vegan from Toronto. Chemical engineer turned semi-professional soccer player and freelance writer. Trying to do my small part in making the world better by writing about the wonderful world of veganism.

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