The answer to this question is…maybe.
It depends on who you ask, and it depends on where you live.
All the ingredients come from plant sources, which is enough to make many people say that Duncan Hines frosting is vegan, but there’s one in particular that is controversial.
If you Live In The United States
The reason someone might not consider the frostings vegan in the U.S. comes down to food coloring ingredients.
Let’s take a look at the list of ingredients on their buttercream flavor:
Sugar, Vegetable Oil Shortening (Partially Hydrogenated Soybean And Cottonseed Oils, Mono- And Diglycerides, Polysorbate 60), Water, Corn Syrup. Contains 2% Or Less Of: Corn Starch, Salt, Colored With (Titanium Dioxide, Yellow 5, Red 40), Preservatives (Potassium Sorbate), Natural And Artificial Flavors, Acetic Acid, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate.
Food coloring ingredients like Yellow 5 and Red 40 (which are banned in many countries as a side note), are tested on animals.
To me, these aren’t vegan ingredients, but this is not the place for an animal testing debate, so I’ll let you make up your mind.
If you’re okay with animal testing and live in the U.S., then you can consider Duncan Hines frosting vegan.
If You Live in Canada
You won’t find those same coloring ingredients in Canada, but we have our own potential problem ingredient.
Let’s take a look at the list of ingredients on their buttercream flavor in Canada:
Sugar, water, palm oil, glucose syrup, canola oil, cornstarch, salt, colour, potassium sorbate, natural and artificial flavor, sodium phosphate, citric acid, sodium citrate, mono- & di-glycerides, polysorbate 60, sodium stearoyl-lactylate.
Whether or not palm oil is vegan is the subject of much debate. It technically is vegan to most, and yet many vegans avoid it for other ethical reasons.
The bigger issue is the mono- and di-glycerides. Some mono- and di- glycerides are vegan, but others are made with animal products and are not vegan.
I always assume they’re not to be on the safe side.
If you really want to find out you can contact the company and track down the supplier.