Are Honey Nut Cheerios Vegan and Cruelty-Free?

July 25, 2023

Identifying whether or not Honey Nut Cheerios is vegan can be a complex task. 

This difficulty arises from the way manufacturers sometimes veil the origin and nature of their ingredients. 

This article is dedicated to demystifying the truth, lending a hand in maintaining your commitment to a vegan lifestyle, and ensuring that your choices don’t harm animals or the planet.

Are Honey Nut Cheerios Vegan?

No, Honey Nut Cheerios are not vegan. This popular breakfast cereal contains several non-vegan ingredients, including honey, vitamin D, and sugar that could be processed using bone char.

Honey is a significant ingredient that makes Honey Nut Cheerios non-vegan. As the name implies, this cereal contains honey, which is an animal-derived product. Strict vegans avoid honey because its production can harm or disrupt the lives of bees.

The refined sugar used in Honey Nut Cheerios may also be processed using bone char, a substance made from the charred bones of animals. It bleaches and filters white sugar to remove impurities and create white sugar crystals. Both cane sugar and brown sugar syrup included in the cereal could potentially be processed this way.

Lastly, vitamin D3, often added to breakfast cereals like Honey Nut Cheerios, can be derived from lanolin, a substance found in sheep’s wool. While this doesn’t directly cause harm to the sheep, it’s an animal-sourced ingredient nonetheless.

Are Honey Nut Cheerios Cruelty-Free?

Honey Nut Cheerios is not cruelty-free. The inclusion of honey, vitamin D3 sourced from lanolin, and potentially bone-char processed sugar, makes this cereal a product that involves animal exploitation or discomfort in its production.

What Are Honey Nut Cheerios Made Of?

Honey Nut Cheerios, a beloved breakfast cereal by General Mills, promises a blend of whole grain oats, natural honey, and real almond bits to give a delightful crunch and sweet touch to your morning routine. This popular variant of Cheerios is renowned for its nutty sweetness and healthful benefits. Here are the primary ingredients:

  • Whole grain oats
  • Sugar
  • Oat bran
  • Honey
  • Brown sugar syrup
  • Cornstarch
  • Salt
  • Tripotassium phosphate
  • Rice bran oil and/or canola oil
  • Natural almond flavor
  • Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols)
  • Vitamins and minerals: calcium carbonate, vitamin C (sodium ascorbate), iron and zinc (mineral nutrients), A B vitamin (niacinamide), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride), vitamin B1 (thiamin mononitrate), vitamin A (palmitate), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), A B vitamin (folic acid), vitamin B12, vitamin D3

Whole grain oats

Whole grain oats are the main ingredient in Honey Nut Cheerios. They are sourced from farms, where oats are grown, harvested, and processed. In the cereal, whole grain oats provide the crunch and shape we’re familiar with. They also contribute fiber, which aids in digestion. Whole grain oats are completely vegan because they’re plant based.


Sugar adds the sweet taste to Honey Nut Cheerios. It is derived from either sugarcane or sugar beets, both of which are plants, making sugar a vegan ingredient. However, the debate exists around sugar because some manufacturers might process it using bone char from animals.

Oat bran

Oat bran, derived from the outer husk of the oat grain, adds fiber and texture to the cereal. It is plant based, and, hence vegan.


Honey brings a natural sweetness to Honey Nut Cheerios. It is produced by bees, which collect nectar from flowers and transform it into honey. Although it’s a natural product, it’s not considered vegan because it is produced by bees, making it an animal by-product.

Brown sugar syrup

Brown sugar syrup is another sweetener in Honey Nut Cheerios. It’s made by dissolving brown sugar in water. Although plant based, the same processing issue that affects white sugar can affect brown sugar — it might be processed with bone char.


Cornstarch, derived from corn, serves as a thickener and binder in Honey Nut Cheerios. It helps maintain the cereal’s structure. It is a vegan ingredient.


Salt enhances the flavor of Honey Nut Cheerios. It is mined from salt deposits or evaporated from seawater, making it vegan friendly.

Tripotassium phosphate

Tripotassium Phosphate is a mineral-based ingredient used as an emulsifier to maintain the cereal’s texture. It is also a source of potassium. Because it is mineral derived, it is vegan.

Rice bran oil and/or canola oil

These oils are used in the cooking process and to add a smooth texture to the cereal. Both are plant based and, hence, vegan.

Natural almond flavor

Natural almond flavor provides the “nut” in Honey Nut Cheerios. It’s typically derived from almonds themselves or certain types of fruit pits. As long as it’s derived from plant sources, it’s vegan.

Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols)

Vitamin E in Honey Nut Cheerios is added as a natural antioxidant to keep the oils in the cereal from going rancid. Vitamin E can be derived from various plant sources, such as nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils, hence it’s generally vegan.

Overall, most ingredients in Honey Nut Cheerios are vegan, but the inclusion of honey and potentially non-vegan sugar processing methods, as well as vitamin D, might pose concerns for strict vegans.

Vitamins and minerals

With the exception of vitamin D3, all these vitamins and minerals are vegan. Vitamin D3, however, is sourced from lanolin, a by-product of sheep’s wool. This is not vegan.

Vegan Alternatives to Honey Nut Cheerios

Unfortunately, all Cheerios products contain vitamin D sourced from lanolin, a product of sheep’s wool.

While Honey Nut Cheerios may not be a vegan-friendly choice, there’s no need to fret. There are many vegan alternatives available that provide similar flavors and nutritional benefits. Some examples include:

Remember to always check the labels and research the product to confirm it aligns with your vegan values.


While the grain oats and several other ingredients in Honey Nut Cheerios might be vegan and even gluten-free, the presence of honey, potentially bone-char processed sugar, and animal-derived vitamin D means this breakfast cereal isn’t vegan or cruelty-free. 

Thankfully, there are numerous vegan brands of foods alternatives available that will let you enjoy a healthy cereal breakfast without compromising your ethical choices.