Is Kellogg’s Raisin Bran Cereal Vegan?

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Verdict: Kellogg’s Raisin Bran is not vegan.

Summary:

  • Raisin bran contains vitamin D3 from lanolin, an animal product.
  • Some vegans are okay with eating small amounts of vitamin D3, but most are not.
  • There’s also a possibility that the sugar in Raisin Bran is not vegan.

A lot of cereals happen to be vegan, but I’m not convinced that Raisin Bran is.

Depending on how strict a vegan you are, you may or may not consider Raisin Bran to be vegan-friendly.

I’ll explain why after a quick look at the ingredients list.

Kellogg’s Raisin Bran Cereal

bowl of raisin bran

Here’s what you’ll find in raisin bran:

Whole grain wheat, raisins, wheat bran, sugar, brown sugar syrup, malt flavor, salt, niacinamide, vitamin B1, B2, B6, folic acid, vitamin D3, vitamin B12

Most of those are obviously vegan.

While vitamin B12 isn’t always vegan, it likely is. The 2 real issues are the vitamin D3 and sugars.

Why Vitamin D3 Almost Always Isn’t Vegan 

While there are some sources of vegan vitamin D3, the vitamin D3 added to cereals and other packaged foods is rarely vegan.

Most of it comes from lanolin, a waxy/oily substance from sheep’s wool.

For that alone, Raisin Brand is not vegan for strict vegans.

To play devil’s advocate, why might you still eat Raisin Bran?

The counter-argument is based on quantity. Something like 99.9% of the cereal is vegan. There’s only a very small amount of D3 added (barely a visible amount). Some vegans are okay with this.

Those are the 2 sides, I’ll let you make up your own mind based on the facts.

Then there’s the sugar issue…

Why “Sugar” and Brown Sugar Might Not Be Vegan

There’s both sugar and brown sugar syrup in Raisin Bran.

If you didn’t know, brown sugar is made from white sugar, so the core issue is the “sugar” alone.

While a lot of white sugar is vegan, a substantial amount is not.

Long story short, a lot of white sugar is filtered using bone char (from the bones of cows) in order to remove as much color as possible.

While there’s no bone char in the final sugar product, it was still used to make it and most don’t consider this type of sugar to be vegan.

It’s possible that the sugar in Raisin Bran is vegan, but I don’t think it’s very likely, and I personally wouldn’t take the chance.

Summary: So is Raisin Bran Vegan Or Not?

To most, Raisin Bran is not vegan.

Sad to say, but there you have it.

However, you may consider avoiding vitamin D3 a bit too extreme, and might not mind taking a chance on the sugar.

That’s why I’ve laid out the arguments for and against Raisin Bran so that you can make your own informed decision.

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.

2 comments

  • I want to start by saying thank you for this article and site! I appreciate your research and writing to help the cause.

    And also wanted to share that the Raisin Bran at Costco (near me in Inglewood, CA) ingredients listed are: whole grain wheat, raisins, wheat bran, sugar, brown sugar syrup. Contains 2% or less of malt flavor, salt.

    Doesn’t say if the sugar is vegan (doesn’t say organic so probably is processed somewhere in North America meaning with bone char), but at least they removed the lanolin?

    • The vitamin D3 isn’t typically listed on the ingredients list, but you’ll still see it on the nutrition label, don’t ask me why it’s not required to be on the ingredients list.