Are McCormick Bacon Bits Vegan and Cruelty-Free?

September 11, 2023

As I’ve journeyed through the vast landscape of food products, I’ve stumbled upon many labels that left me scratching my head, questioning its vegan authenticity.

It’s not just about the obvious ingredients; it’s those sneaky ones that manufacturers cleverly disguise, leaving us in a cloud of uncertainty.

But you’re not alone in this journey. Together, through this article, we’ll unravel the mystery of McCormick Bacon Bits and empower you to make informed choices in your admirable vegan journey.

Are McCormick Bacon Bits Vegan?

No, McCormick Bacon Bits are not definitively vegan.

This is a tricky one to determine! The reason for this is the presence of certain ingredients that may be derived from animal sources or have ambiguous origins. Specifically, the ingredient of concern is the natural flavor.

These can sometimes be derived from animal sources, and because this product is meant to taste like bacon, it’s entirely likely that the natural flavors are animal derived.

Of course, it’s entirely possible this product is vegan, but since McCormick has not disclosed the source of its natural flavor, strict vegans will want to be on the safe side and avoid this product.

Are McCormick Bacon Bits Cruelty-Free?

No, McCormick Bacon Bits are not cruelty-free.

The ingredient FD&C Red 40, a synthetic dye, has historically been tested on animals. While the product itself doesn’t contain direct animal ingredients, the testing practices for some of its components raise ethical concerns.

What Are McCormick Bacon Bits Made Of?

Before diving deep into the ingredients, let’s first list them out:

  • Textured soy flour
  • Canola oil
  • Salt
  • Caramel color
  • Yeast extract
  • Natural and artificial flavor
  • FD&C Red 40
  • Disodium inosinate, guanylate

Textured Soy Flour

This is a processed form of soybeans. It’s derived from plants and is used in many vegan recipes as a meat substitute. It’s vegan and plays a role in giving the bacon bits their meaty texture.

Canola Oil

Derived from the seeds of the canola plant, this oil is plant-based and vegan. It’s used in many vegan dishes and provides the fat content in the product.


A mineral that’s naturally occurring and vegan. It enhances the flavor of the bacon bits.

Caramel Color

A common food coloring, often derived from cane sugar. However, its source can sometimes be animal-derived, making its vegan status ambiguous. Furthermore, it’s unclear if the caramel color comes from sugar processed with bone char.

Yeast Extract

This is a natural ingredient derived from yeast and is vegan. It’s often used in vegan recipes to add a savory, umami flavor.

Natural Flavor

Natural flavors can be derived from various sources, both plant and animal. Without specific details from the brand, it’s hard to determine their vegan status.

Artificial Flavor

As above, artificial flavors can be derived from various sources, both plant and animal. Without specific details from the brand, it’s hard to determine their vegan status.

FD&C Red 40

A synthetic dye that can be tested on animals. While not derived from animal ingredients, its testing practices make it a concern for many vegans.

Disodium Inosinate, Guanylate

These are flavor enhancers. They can be derived from various sources, including plants and fish. Their exact source in this product is unclear.

Vegan Alternatives to McCormick Bacon Bits

For those looking for a guaranteed vegan-friendly bacon bit alternatives, there are plenty of options available:

  • Magic Vegan Bacon Grease: A popular choice for those wanting the flavor of bacon without the animal products.
  • It’s Delish Imitation Bacon Bits: Completely vegan and perfect for salads, pasta dishes, and baked potatoes. Get them here.
  • Textured vegetable protein (TVP): While not a direct bacon substitute, it can be seasoned to mimic the flavor and used in various vegan food recipes.
  • Soy-based bacon alternatives: Brands like Lightlife offer soy-based bacon that’s both tasty and vegan.


Well there you have it! After diving deep into the world of McCormick Bacon Bits, we’ve realized that while many of its ingredients lean towards the plant-based side, those few ambiguous ones throw a wrench in the works.

It’s like reading a mystery novel where you’re never quite sure who the culprit is! 

But here’s the silver lining: Our vegan community is blessed with a plethora of alternative brands. So, as we continue our vegan adventures, let’s arm ourselves with knowledge, ensuring every bite we take resonates with our heart’s ethical beat.