Snap, Crackle, Stop: Are Rice Krispies Vegan?

As a vegan, shopping in your local grocery store can be a daunting task. How can you be sure that you’re choosing all vegan options for you and your family members? Many products are vegan at first glance, but end up using animal products in their manufacturing that you may never think about.

Luckily, many brands are opting to make it clear that they offer vegan products, and they do it for good reason. In 2020, sales of plant-based foods grew 25%!

Was Rice Krispies one of them? At first glance, with ingredients like rice, sugar, and salt, you may believe that the answer to “are Rice Krispies vegan friendly” is a resounding yes! But don’t be fooled. Does your breakfast food pass the vegan test?

Keep reading to find out the whole process behind Rice Krispie manufacturing and the answer to the question, “are Rice Krispies vegan?”

Are Rice Krispies Vegan?

Rice Krispies
Are these crunchy bursts of flavor vegan, or not?

Despite the relatively simple ingredients contained in Rice Krispies, they are not vegan. Let’s take a look at their manufacturing process to discover why.

The main component of Rice Krispies is vegan. It’s puffed rice cereal. This means that grains of rice are heated to a point that they burst and become airy and crunchy – like popcorn! The salt and sugar are added for flavor. At this point in the process, the cereal is vegan, but this isn’t where the question ends.

Rice Krispies non-vegan component comes in when the manufacturers add vitamins and minerals. Most cereals alone do not contain enough nutrients to be considered a healthy food, so they are added later in the manufacturing process.

Unfortunately, one of the vitamins added to Rice Krispies is not vegan friendly. The Vitamin D added to Rice Krispies is derived from lanolin.  

What is Lanolin?

Lanolin is an oil naturally produced by sheep to waterproof their wool. Because it is produced by an animal and harvested by people, it is not considered vegan. Even if you read that a product is made with synthetic Vitamin D, it probably started out from lanolin. 

As a vegan, you should care about lanolin harvesting. At first, it doesn’t sound so bad. It’s harvested during the sheering process which, when done correctly, doesn’t have to hurt the sheep. But many sheep farm living conditions are inhumane to the point of cruelty. 

Sheep are subject to medical manipulation, mutilation, disease, parasites, and stressful and painful sheering.

Vegan Vitamin D

You may be wondering by now how you can make sure you’re getting enough Vitamin D. So much of the Vitamin D in food sources is from animal products.

Luckily, the best place to find Vitamin D isn’t obscure at all. The sun! Human skin naturally produces Vitamin D when exposed to the sun. 

Another great vegan source of Vitamin D is mushrooms. Like animals, mushrooms produce Vitamin D with sunlight. Even mushrooms grown in dark conditions can produce Vitamin D if they are exposed to the sun after they’ve been harvested.

Rice Krispie Alternatives

So now you know how to get Vitamin D, but what about getting your favorite breakfast cereal again!

Luckily Rice Krispies is a standard kind of cereal. If you still want the Rice Krispie experience, you simply have to find a vegan puffed rice cereal. 

Check boxes for an indication that they are vegan. If they don’t have them outright, simply check the ingredients for Vitamin D. If Vitamin D is missing from the ingredients list and there aren’t any other nonvegan additives, you’re in the clear. 

Unfortunately, a lot of Rice Krispie alternatives do have Vitamin D in them. Your best course of action is to check a vegan or health food shop. There, you know that the store managers have already checked the products to ensure that they are vegan.

There is one completely vegan common puffed rice cereal option. Nestle Cereal Harvest Home Crisp Rice does not contain Vitamin D and is considered a vegan gluten free Rice Krispies option. Although it is marketed as a vegetarian product, there are no nonvegan ingredients included. When in doubt in the major grocery store, you can feel confident buying this brand of cereal.

You can also expand beyond rice and look at something like vegan Quinoa Puffs.

Vegan Rice Krispie Treats?

Once you’ve gotten your vegan cereal, you may be tempted to make a classic – vegan Halloween Rice Krispie treats. The main components of Rice Krispie treats are butter, marshmallows, and Rice Krispies. Uh oh! NONE of those ingredients are vegan!

Have no fear. There are alternatives to all the ingredients in Rice Krispie treats so that you can still enjoy that classic treat. We’ve already covered the cereal ingredient, so let’s look at the rest.

Marshmallows

Marshmallows are not vegan because they contain gelatin. Gelatin is made from the collagen found in animal parts. So it’s obviously not vegan.  But there are many vegan marshmallows on the market.

Vegan marshmallows are made using substitutes for the sticky quality of gelatin such as agar powder. In some cases, they’re even more natural than common marshmallows by using the actual marshmallow plant.

Butter

If you’ve been vegan for a significant amount of time, you’ve probably already discovered some of the best butter alternatives for your cooking and baking. Be sure to use a cooking butter substitute for this recipe instead of a baking one, since it doesn’t get combined as much as it does in baing recipes.

Some good butter substitute options are coconut oil, avocado oil, and olive oil. Many typical grocery stores also now carry manufactured vegan butter alternatives for health reasons.

Where are Rice Krispies Manufactured?

In the USA, the rice is harvested & manufactured in Louisiana and Arkansas according to this old puzzle from the Kellogg’s rewards program. However, the manufacturing process has not been exposed 100% via public material so this may have changed. And it could be only a portion of the manufacturing that is done in those two US states. In short, the real answer is truly an unknown.

Enjoying Rice Krispies On a Vegan Diet

Rice Krispies may not be vegan, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up the flavor you love. There are vegan options that don’t contain Vitamin D additives, and you can find other substitutions when making Rice Krispie treats.

If you loved learning more about how to maintain a vegan diet, check out our vegan informational posts or browse our vegan recipes.

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