Verdict: Most Clif Bars are vegan.
- All of the classic Clif Bars are vegan except for the Peanut Butter & Honey flavor.
- Nut filled Clif Bars and Builder’s bars are vegan, but have palm oil in them.
- Clif whey protein bars are not vegan because they have whey (from dairy).
Clif Bars are not super healthy, but they have a decent amount of protein, and taste great. Clif Bars are a good addition to any vegan care package.
Many types of Clif Bars happen to be vegan-friendly, and they’re easy to find in stores and on sites like Amazon.
There are 5 main types of Clif Bars, all with different core ingredients, so I’ve divided this guide into 5 section, each with its own detailed table. See those sections for specific flavors.
If you’re looking for a quick summary, here’s a high level overview:
|Traditional Clif Bar||All are vegan except for “Peanut Butter & Honey”.|
|Fruit Smoothie Bars||All are vegan, but all bars contain palm oil.|
|Nut Filled Bars||All are vegan, but all bars contain palm oil.|
|Builder’s Bars||All are vegan, but all bars contain palm kernel oil.|
|Whey Protein Bars||None are vegan.|
Those first 4 types are all dairy-free, but obviously the whey bars have whey in them, which is derived from dairy.
Table of Contents
Non-Vegan Ingredients and Other Potential Issues in Clif Bars
Let me clarify a few things before we begin:
- Allergens – All of these have that “may contain soy, nuts, milk, etc.” message. They are not safe if you have an allergy to one of those.
- Palm products – Many Clif Bars have palm products in them, which is an ingredient that many vegans don’t eat. While palm is technically vegan, I’ve specifically pointed out which bars contain palm products. Luna bars (made by same company) also all contain palm oil in all their bars.
- Natural flavors – Not all natural flavors are vegan (e.g. beef flavor comes from beef), and some bars do have natural flavors in them. But there’s no reason to think these would come from animal sources in my opinion.
- Ingredients that may not be vegan – I’d like to point out that CLIF goes out of their way to get ingredients that are vegetarian/vegan friendly when possible. For example, they use pectin instead of gelatin, vitamin D2 (plant) instead of D3 (usually animal), and the most common form of vitamin B12 used in supplements.
Are Traditional Clif Bars Vegan?
These are the easiest to find in stores, and have the most flavors.
All of them actually turn out to be vegan, and don’t use palm oil either, except for the peanut butter & honey bar.
Here’s the full list just so you know which ones I took a close look at:
|Flavor||Vegan?||Non-Vegan Ingredients||Palm Products?|
|Spiced Pumpkin Pie||Yes|
|Dark Chocolate Almond||Yes|
|Peanut Butter & Honey||No||Honey||Palm Kernel Solids|
|Crunchy Peanut Butter||Yes|
|White Chocolate Macadamia Nut||Yes|
|Cool Mint Chocolate||Yes|
|Peanut Butter Banana||Yes|
|Chocolate Chip Peanut Crunch||Yes|
|Oatmeal Raisin Walnut||Yes|
|Peanut Toffee Buzz||Yes|
|Coconut Chocolate Chip||Yes|
|Sierra Trail Mix||Yes|
|Nuts & Seeds||Yes|
|Berry Pomegranate Chia||Yes|
|Chocolate Almond Fudge||Yes|
I’ll try to keep this updated if they come out with any new flavors.
Are Fruit Smoothie Filled Clif Bars Vegan?
There are only 3 flavors of the “fruit smoothie” Clif Bars.
All of them are vegan in the basic sense, but they also all contain palm oil, which you may want to avoid.
|Strawberry Banana||Yes||Palm Oil|
|Wild Blueberry Acai||Yes||Palm Oil|
|Tart Cherry Berry||Yes||Palm Oil|
Are Nut Butter Filled Clif Bars Vegan?
There’s a handful of bars that are clearly marked “nut butter” on the label.
These are again all vegan in the sense that there are no animal products in them, however, there is palm oil in all of them.
Here are the flavors:
|Chocolate Peanut Butter||Yes||Palm Oil|
|Peanut Butter||Yes||Palm Oil|
|Coconut Almond Butter||Yes||Palm Oil|
|Banana Chocolate Peanut Butter||Yes||Palm Oil|
|Chocolate Hazelnut Butter||Yes||Palm Oil|
|Caramel Chocolate Peanut Butter||Yes||Palm Oil|
|Blueberry Almond Butter||Yes||Palm Oil|
Are Clif Builder’s Protein Bars Vegan?
Next up we have one of the main types of Clif Protein Bars.
These are clearly marked “Builder’s” on them, and are again all technically vegan. I’ve done a detailed review of Clif Builder’s protein bars if you’re interested.
The potential issue again is that all Builder’s bars contain palm kernel oil, another palm product.
|Chocolate Peanut Butter||Yes||Palm Kernel Oil|
|Chocolate Mint||Yes||Palm Kernel Oil|
|Vanilla Almond||Yes||Palm Kernel Oil|
|Chocolate||Yes||Palm Kernel Oil|
|Cinnamon Nut Swirl||Yes||Palm Kernel Oil|
|Crunchy Peanut Butter||Yes||Palm Kernel Oil|
|Cookies N Cream||Yes||Palm Kernel Oil|
Are Clif Whey Protein Bars Vegan?
Last up we have the whey protein bars, which are easy to spot because of their light blue label.
These are obviously not vegan because whey protein is a main ingredient, and it comes from milk.
Additionally, many bars have ingredients like dry milk powder, but I didn’t look too closely beyond confirming that they all have whey protein in them.
In summary, many Clif Bars are vegan by basic standards. Of those bars, some have palm products, and some don’t, so your options will depend on how you feel about palm.
Clif Bars Contain “Sustainable” Palm Oil
If you go to Clif Bar’s website, you’ll find a page saying that all their palm oil comes from sustainable sources. Here’s a quote:
Today, 100 percent of the cocoa ingredients we use in our food is organic or Rainforest Alliance Certified™
Is this palm oil ethically better?
I’ve read a lot about this topic, and “sustainable” palm oil from RSPO and Rainforest Alliance is likely a little better, but still not great.
In a 2017 study, researchers found that plantations that were certified were likely to be older plantations that were already built on deforested land.
Basically, other companies sold their deforested land to “sustainable” companies, and then can just plow down another forest. So overall, sustainable palm oil doesn’t mean too much at this point, and it’s essentially green-washing.
It’s up to you if you’re okay with that. If you are, you’ll also think Luna Bars are vegan, so they might be worth checking out.