Did you know the original name for Apple Jacks was “Apple Os”? It kind of makes more sense, when you think about it. But anyway—we’re not here to talk about the name of Apple Jacks. We’re here to check if it’s vegan!
Apple Jacks are generally considered vegan. They contain no blatant meat, dairy, or egg ingredients, and no gelatin or honey. However, Apple Jacks do contain sugar, natural flavor, artificial colors, and vitamin D3, which are gray-area ingredients that some vegans avoid.
Below I’ll explain why each of these ingredients are controversial from a vegan perspective. I’ll also look at some related products, beyond just the normal Apple Jacks cereal!
Apple Jacks Ingredients
Let’s start with a look at the ingredients for normal Apple Jacks. (Below, I’ll cover some related products.) There are no blatant meat, dairy, or egg products in Apple Jacks. But I’ve marked ingredients in red which some vegans avoid:
Apple Jacks Ingredients: “Corn flour blend (whole grain yellow corn flour, degerminated yellow corn flour), sugar, wheat flour, whole grain oat flour, modified food starch, contains 2% or less of vegetable oil (hydrogenated coconut, soybean and/or cottonseed), oat fiber, salt, soluble corn fiber, degerminated yellow corn flour, dried apples, apple juice concentrate, cornstarch, cinnamon, natural flavor, modified corn starch, yellow 6, wheat starch, baking soda, yellow 5, red 40, blue 1, BHT for freshness.Vitamins and Minerals: Reduced iron, niacinamide, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B1 (thiamin hydrochloride), folic acid, vitamin D3, vitamin B12.” (source)
Now let’s take a look at each of these “controversial ingredients”:
- Sugar: Gray Area. Sugar is often debated by vegans. Why? Non-organic cane sugar is often filtered with bone char to make it whiter. And when reading a label, you can’t tell whether bone char was used. So, some vegans avoid it, others don’t. Personally, I don’t worry about it.
- Natural Flavor: Gray Area. When you see “natural flavors,” those can legally include animal ingredients. And what’s more, the exact recipe is usually proprietary, not public information. So we can’t know for sure if it’s vegan. That said, in the case of Chex, I have no reason to suspect animal ingredients are used. So I’m okay with it.
- Artificial Colors: Gray Area. Artificial colors are produced synthetically from petroleum, not animal ingredients. However, they’re still being tested on animals due to safety concerns. So some vegans avoid them. I’ve written about each color in Apple Jacks separately: Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Red 40, Blue 1.
- Vitamin D3: Gray Area. The vitamin D added to cereal is usually sourced from lanolin, which is grease from sheep’s wool. So it is an animal ingredient. However, it’s used in very small amounts (it’s nearly the last ingredient in Apple Jacks). So some vegans (like me) feel okay with eating it. Here’s a full explanation of my view.
So as you can see, whether Apple Jacks are “vegan” depends on how strictly you define “vegan.” Personally, I’m okay with Apple Jacks, but some vegans aren’t.
Probably the most objectionable ingredient in Apple Jacks is the vitamin D3—we pretty much know that is animal based! While it’s possible to get D3 from plants, it’s not common unless you’re buying a vitamin D supplement that is specifically labeled as vegan, such as Future Kind.
The other ingredients—sugar, natural flavor, and artificial colors—are only avoided by the strictest vegans out there.
Do Apple Jacks Contain Eggs?
Apple Jacks does not contain eggs. Most cereal does not contain eggs. I would be quite surprised to find a cereal that contains eggs, actually!
Do Apple Jacks Contain Dairy?
Apple Jacks does not contain milk, lactose, or any dairy ingredients. On my Apple Jacks box, there is not even an allergy warning for “may contain milk.” So Apple Jacks should be safe even for those with milk allergies or lactose intolerance.
Do Apple Jacks Contain Gelatin?
Apple Jacks does not contain gelatin. Typically, gelatin is only found in cereal when there are marshmallows (like in Lucky Charms), or when the gelatin is used to make frosting stick on the cereal (like in Frosted Mini-Wheats).
Do Apple Jacks Contain Honey?
Apple Jacks do not contain honey. They are sweetened and flavored with sugar, dried apples, and apple juice concentrate.
Is Apple Jacks Caramel Cereal Vegan?
Apple Jacks Caramel Cereal is generally considered vegan. However, it contains sugar, natural flavor, artificial colors, and vitamin D3, which are gray area ingredients that some vegans avoid.
This is a Special Edition flavor of Apple Jacks. Not sure how long it will be available. But as you can see, it’s just the same collection of controversial ingredients as found in the normal Apple Jacks:
Apple Jacks Caramel Cereal Ingredients: “Corn flour blend (whole grain yellow corn flour, degerminated yellow corn flour), sugar, wheat flour, whole grain oat flour, oat fiber, contains 2% or less of vegetable oil (hydrogenated coconut, soybean and/or cottonseed), soluble corn fiber, salt, degerminated yellow corn flour, calcium carbonate, dried apples, apple juice concentrate, cornstarch, cinnamon, yellow 6, natural flavor, modified corn starch, wheat starch, baking soda, red 40, BHT for freshness, Vitamins and Minerals: Reduced iron, niacinamide, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B1 (thiamin hydrochloride), folic acid, vitamin D3, vitamin B12.” (source)
Are Apple Jacks Jumbo Snax Vegan?
Apple Jacks Jumbo Snax are generally considered vegan. However, they contain sugar, natural flavor, artificial colors, and vitamin D3, which are gray area ingredients that some vegans avoid.
These are basically extra large Apple Jacks—two or three times as large as normal Apple Jacks—meant to be eaten dry, by hand. It’s a novel concept, and they’re available for a few other Kellogg’s cereals, too.
The ingredients are pretty much the same as normal Apple Jacks:
Apple Jacks Jumbo Snax Ingredients: “Corn Flour Blend (Whole Grain Yellow Corn Flour, Degerminated Yellow Corn Flour), Sugar, Wheat Flour, Whole Grain Oat Flour, Oat Fiber, Contains 2% or Less of Vegetable Oil (Hydrogenated Coconut, Soybean and/or Cottonseed), Soluble Corn Fiber, Salt, Degerminated Yellow Corn Flour, Calcium Carbonate, Dried Apples, Apple Juice Concentrate, Cornstarch, Cinnamon, Yellow 6, Natural Flavor, Modified Corn Starch, Wheat Starch, Baking Soda, Red 40, BHT for Freshness, Vitamins and Minerals: Reduced Iron, Niacinamide, Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine Hydrochloride), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B1 (Thiamin Hydrochloride), Folic Acid, Vitamin D3, Vitamin B12.” (source)
Other Vegan Cereal Guides
I’ve written quite a few more guides about which breakfast cereals are vegan. Here are a few more that might interest you:
Two More Recommendations for Your Plant-Based Journey
1. This is the best free video training I’ve found on plant-based nutrition. You’ll learn how to reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and obesity—all with plant-based food. Watch the free “Food for Health Masterclass” here.
2. This is the best vegan multivitamin I’ve found in my 14 years of being vegan. It has vitamin B12, vitamin D, omega-3—and nothing else. Translation: It only has the nutrients vegans are actually low in. Read my full review of Future Kind’s multivitamin here (with 10% discount).