Are Chocolate Cheerios Vegan? (NO, Here’s Why)

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

If you’re vegan, you know that it’s important to read the ingredients list on every food product before purchasing it. This is especially true for processed foods, as some may contain hidden animal products. So are Chocolate Cheerios vegan? Here’s what you need to know…

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Are Chocolate Cheerios Vegan?

No, strict vegans should avoid Chocolate Cheerios because they include or make use of animal-derived components such as lanolin and bone char. Lanolin is produced by sheep sebaceous glands and is utilized in the manufacture of Vitamin D3 and the refined sugar in Cheerios is processed in the US using bone char, which is formed from animal bones.


What are Chocolate Cheerios?

Chocolate Cheerios is a popular breakfast cereal made by General Mills. The cereal is made from ground oats, sugar, cocoa powder, and oat bran which is puffed and baked.  

Chocolate Cheerios are sold in Europe via a Cereals Partners Worldwide partnership between Nestlé and General Mills under the Nestle Brand and very often contain different ingredients. For example, the Nestle version contains wheat. However, General Mills Chocolate does not contain wheat and labels the product as gluten-free.

In the US, the Cheerios brand offers 18 different varieties – all varying in ingredients and nutritional content but none of which are vegan. Similarly, there are four varieties offered in Europe and eight in Canada but again – none of which are vegan.

US General Mills Cheerio Brands

1.      Blueberry Cheerios

2.     Maple Cheerios

3.     Cheerios Oat Crunch Cinnamon

4.     Original Cheerios

5.     Honey Nut Cheerios

6.     Multi Grain Cheerios

7.     Apple Cinnamon Cheerios

8.    Chocolate Cheerios

9.    Frosted Cheerios

10.  Cheerios Oat Crunch Almond

11.  Cheerios Oat Crunch, Oats ‘N’ Honey

12.  Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheerios

13.  Cinnamon Cheerios

14.  Honey Nut Cheerios Medley Crunch

15.  Honey Nut Cheerios Treat Bars

16.  Multi Grain Cheerios with Real Strawberries

17.  Strawberry Banana Cheerios

18.  Very Berry Cheerios


Uk and Europe Nestle Cheerios Varieties

1.      Nestle Cheerios Multigrain cereal

2.      Nestle Cheerios Honey cereal

3.      Nestle Cheerios Flavoured ‘O’s

4.      Nestle Chocolate Cheerios Cereal

5.      Nestle Honey Cheerios Breakfast Bars

Chocolate Cheerios Ingredients

General Mills, the manufacturer of Chocolate Cheerios, currently list their main ingredients as:

Whole Grain Oats


Oat Bran

Corn Starch

Corn Syrup


Caramel Color

Canola Oil

Unsweetened Chocolate

Tripotassium Phosphate

Natural Flavor

Tocopherols (Vitamin E for preservatives)

Vitamins & Minerals: Calcium Carbonate, Iron, Zinc, Vitamin C, Niacinamide, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B1, Vitamin A,  Folic Acid, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D3.

Non-Vegan Ingredients In Chocolate Cheerios

There are two non-vegan ingredients in Cheerios cereal: Vitamin D and refined sugar. Let’s take a closer look at each one.

Vitamin D3

Vitamin D3 is a vitamin that is essential for bone health. It may be found in fortified foods or supplements, and it can also be manufactured by the body when exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D is commercially produced from lanolin, a waxy material extracted from sheep’s wool. It isn’t vegan.  1

General Mills confirmed in 2015 and 2021 that the vitamin D3 used in their products is derived from sheep wool.



According to PETA, Bone char, also known as natural carbon, is produced from cattle bones from Afghanistan, Argentina, India, and Pakistan. Traders across the globe buy the bones and resell them to sugar producers in the United States who use them to decolorize sugar. Bone char is widely used commercially to filter and whiten sugar. 2

Although the sugar itself doesn’t contain fragments of bone – it’s the number of animals that are used to produce the bone char which is an issue. 3

Chocolate Cheerios Nutritional Information

Serving Size: 36g

Calories: 140g

USA36g Serving
  Of which saturates0.0g
  Of which 11g are added sugars

Are Chocolate Cheerios Healthy?  

According to Healthline, Chocolate Cheerios are low in fat and calories as well as high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. However, at 11 grams per serving, they are extremely high in sugar which is associated with an increased risk of chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer 4.  They are also low in protein.

Vegan Alternatives To Chocolate Cheerios 

There are a large number of supermarket and cheaper Cheerios brands available in the market but they all contain vitamin D3 and refined sugar – both of which are unsuitable for a vegan lifestyle.

Thankfully there are a few healthy chocolate vegan cereals on the market that are similar in appearance in look and texture for those wanting a vegan version of Cheerios. Some vegan-certified popular options include:

Kashi Go Chocolate Crunch

Ingredients: Ingredients: Soy flakes, whole grain oats, puffed whole grain blend (hard red wheat, brown rice, barley, rye), brown rice syrup, semisweet chocolate (cane sugar, chocolate, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, vanilla extract), cane sugar, expeller pressed canola oil, acacia gum, cocoa powder, chocolate, sea salt, chocolate extract, natural flavors, rosemary extract for freshness.

Love Grown Chocolate Comet Crispies

Ingredients: Bean blend (navy beans, lentils, garbanzo beans), brown rice flour, cane sugar, cocoa, high oleic sunflower oil, natural flavor (chocolate), salt, sunflower lecithin, vitamin E (to maintain freshness).

Natures Path Envirokidz Choco Chimps

Whole grain corn meal*, corn meal*, cane sugar*, Fair Trade cocoa powder (5%)*, molasses*, natural flavour, sea salt. *Organic. May contain peanuts, tree nuts and soy.

How To Eat Vegan Alternatives to Chocolate Cheerios

Cheerios are most commonly eaten as breakfast cereal with milk such as oat, soy, and almond. However, there are many other ways you can eat vegan O cereals. Here are some ideas:

1. As a topping on porridge or oatmeal

2. In a smoothie

3. Baked into muffins or cookies

4. As a crunchy topping on yogurt

5. In a trail mix

6. By themselves as a snack

Contact Cheerios to ask for Vegan Chocolate Cheerio Options

If you’re a fan of Cheerios but are looking for a vegan option, the best thing to do is to contact the company and let them know of your interest. You can find General Mills’ contact information here

Or email the Board of Directors directly at

Final Thoughts

It seems that General Mills does not have a true vegan option for those who want to avoid animal-derived ingredients within their Cheerios. If you are looking for a cereal that is certified vegan, Chocolate Cheerios is not the right choice. You might try some of the best vegan alternatives to Cheerios listed in this article. Alternatively, you could write to General Mills to express your concern about the lack of truly vegan options and ask them to consider creating more plant-based products.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Cheerios Low Fodmap?

At present, Monash University has not certified Cheerios as Low FODMAP. This means that we cannot be certain that they are suitable for people following a low FODMAP diet.

Are Cheerios Gluten Free?

No – because of the risk of cross-contamination during processing. Although General Mills labels Cheerios as Gluten Free – the Canadian Celiac Association recommend that Celiac sufferers do not consume Cheerios. 5

You should also note that Nestle Chocolate Cheerios sold in the UK and Europe do contain wheat and should actively be avoided if you have a gluten intolerance.

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Sources: ‘Are Chocolate Cheerios Vegan?’