Are Multigrain Cheerios Vegan and Cruelty-Free?

August 26, 2023

Identifying whether or not this product is vegan can be a challenging task. 

This difficulty often arises from manufacturers concealing the nature and source of their ingredients. 

Fear not, dear reader, for this article aims to uncover the truth and support you in your commendable vegan lifestyle.

Are Multigrain Cheerios Vegan?

No, Multigrain Cheerios are not strictly vegan. The reason for this is the inclusion of Vitamin D3 in the ingredients, which can be derived from animal sources, specifically from the lanolin in sheep’s wool.

Furthermore, this product contains sugar whose source is not disclosed. Many manufacturers use sugar that is processed with bone char, which is ground-up animal bones, which would make the entire product non-vegan. It’s unclear what type of sugar is used in Cheerios, therefore, we’re uncomfortable saying it’s vegan.

Are Multigrain Cheerios Cruelty-Free?

It is unclear if Multigrain Cheerios are cruelty-free. While the ingredients themselves are not tested on animals, the sourcing of Vitamin D3, if derived from animals, may not align with cruelty-free standards considering the conditions under which sheep are treated for their wool.

What Are Multigrain Cheerios Made Of?

Multigrain Cheerios have a blend of ingredients that contribute to their unique flavor and nutritional value. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Whole grain oats
  • Whole grain corn
  • Sugar
  • Whole grain rice
  • Cornstarch
  • Brown sugar syrup
  • Salt
  • Tripotassium phosphate
  • Color (caramel color, annatto extract)
  • Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols)
  • Vitamins and minerals: calcium carbonate, iron and zinc, niacinamide, vitamin C (sodium ascorbate), calcium pantothenate, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B1 (thiamin mononitrate), folic acid, vitamin B12, vitamin A (palmitate), vitamin D3

Whole Grain Oats

Whole grain oats are grains that retain all parts of the seed — the bran, germ, and endosperm. They are a rich source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Derived from the oat plant, they provide a hearty texture and natural flavor to the cereal. They are entirely plant based and vegan friendly.

Whole Grain Corn

Whole grain corn is corn that hasn’t had its germ and bran removed through milling. It’s a good source of fiber and essential nutrients. As a plant-based ingredient, it adds a crunchy texture to the cereal and is completely vegan.


Sugar, a carbohydrate derived from sugarcane or sugar beet, is used as a sweetening agent. Its vegan status can be questionable because some sugars, especially those refined in certain countries, are processed using animal bone char. However, many sugar sources don’t use this method.

Whole Grain Rice

Whole grain rice is rice that retains its natural components, including the bran, germ, and endosperm. It’s a source of energy, vitamins, and minerals. As a plant-based ingredient, it contributes a mild, nutty flavor to the cereal and is vegan.


Cornstarch is a carbohydrate extracted from the endosperm of corn. It’s often used in foods as a thickening agent or filler. Being derived from corn, it’s vegan and adds to the cereal’s consistency.

Brown Sugar Syrup

Brown sugar syrup is a liquid sweetener made from brown sugar. It has a rich, molasses-like flavor. Its vegan status can be questionable due to the potential use of animal bone char in sugar processing, but vegan methods of production are also available.


Salt is a mineral composed primarily of sodium chloride. It’s used in foods for flavor enhancement and preservation. Naturally sourced from the earth or sea, it’s vegan.

Tripotassium Phosphate

This is a potassium salt of phosphoric acid used as an emulsifier and stabilizer in foods. It ensures the consistency and texture of the product. It’s a synthetic compound and is considered vegan.

Color (caramel color, annatto extract)

  • Caramel color: A common food coloring made by heating sugar. It’s generally considered vegan, but concerns arise from the potential use of non-vegan sugar sources.
  • Annatto extract: A natural dye derived from the seeds of the achiote tree. It’s used to impart a yellow-orange color to foods and is vegan.

Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols)

Vitamin E is a group of eight fat-soluble compounds that include four tocopherols. In foods, they’re added for their antioxidant properties, helping to preserve freshness. They’re typically derived from plant sources like vegetable oils, making them vegan.

Vitamins and Minerals

These are essential nutrients added to fortify the cereal:

  • Calcium carbonate: A compound used as a calcium supplement. It’s vegan as it’s derived from the earth’s crust or synthesized.
  • Iron and zinc (mineral nutrients): Essential minerals for health. They’re typically sourced from non-animal origins in fortified foods, making them vegan.
  • Vitamin C (sodium ascorbate): A water-soluble vitamin. Sodium ascorbate is a salt of ascorbic acid and is vegan.
  • Vitamin B complex (niacinamide, calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, thiamin mononitrate, folic acid): These are essential water-soluble vitamins. They’re typically synthesized and are vegan.
  • Vitamin B12: An essential vitamin. Its vegan status can be tricky as it’s often derived from microbial fermentation but can also be sourced from animals.
  • Vitamin A (palmitate): A fat-soluble vitamin. Palmitate is a form of vitamin A that can be derived from both animal and plant sources. Its source should be verified for vegan status.
  • Vitamin D3: This vitamin can be derived from animal sources, specifically from the lanolin in sheep’s wool, making it non-vegan. However, vegan sources from lichen are also available but less common.

Vegan Alternatives to Multigrain Cheerios

For those committed to a vegan diet and lifestyle, it’s essential to find alternatives that align with these values. Thankfully, the market is brimming with vegan-friendly cereals that are both delicious and nutritious. The best way to find a cereal that doesn’t use sugar processed with bone char is to look for organic ones, but some are certified vegan as well:

Other brands, such as Kashi and Barbara’s, offer cereals that are explicitly labeled vegan. These brands often prioritize organic and non-GMO ingredients, ensuring a healthier choice for both you and the planet.


Embarking on a vegan journey requires diligence, especially when it comes to everyday products like cereals. 

While Multigrain Cheerios food brand might not meet the strict vegan criteria due to the potential animal-derived source of Vitamin D3 and refined sugar processed with bone char, there are a plethora of alternatives available. 

By choosing vegan products, you’re not only making a compassionate choice for animals but also promoting a more sustainable and healthier planet. 

Your dedication to this cause is admirable, and with the right information, you can make informed choices that resonate with your values. Always remember: every meal is an opportunity to make a difference.