Answer: No. The presence of Vitamin D3 and other items mentioned below makes this product unsuitable for vegans.
As sweet, crispy, and tasty as they may be, Fruity Pebbles are sadly not vegan.
Being a brand that has been around for more than 40 years, Fruity Pebbles is undoubtedly a childhood favorite for many. Whether it is the Flintstones cover or the yummy taste, most of us remember enjoying Fruity Pebbles for breakfast or as a day-long snack.
Its crunchy, sweet, and fruity flavors are preferred by many across the globe. And now the Post Consumer Brands is also looking at reaching a wider audience online using terms like ‘Instagrammable’ food experience.
And while the famous cereal is one of the oldest surviving, there is a growing curiosity to know whether Fruity Pebbles are okay for vegans to consume.
The tasty rice cereals were originally in flavors like orange, cherry, and lemon. Now it has grape, lime, and berry flavors, which make it more appealing for consumers. In its quest to make its products more attractive for consumers, both kids and adults, the Fruity Pebbles flavors have undergone various exciting twists and turns over the years.
But the super tasty rice cereal is found to be not so friendly for vegans.
Let us find out without delay what makes Fruity Pebbles unfit for vegan consumption.
The Fruity Pebbles Timeline
Over the years, Fruity Pebbles has made a name for itself as one of the most loved and sought after breakfast cereals. But did you know? Most people initially thought it would be a ‘fad’ and would not last in the market.
Fruity Pebbles tapped on to the media character hype and roped in licensed use of the popular Flintstones imagery. Before them, there had been companies that tried the use of media characters for promotion. But creating a brand revolving around a name was something new.
The Fruity Pebbles brand is inspired by the daughter of Fred and Wilma Flintstones- Pebbles.
By 1969, Fruity Pebbles and its sister cereal Cocoa Pebbles, gained high demand and were up for national distribution. Since then, the brand prides itself on being a consistent ‘bestseller’ over the years.
Flavors Of Fruity Pebbles
Consumers nowadays might be more familiar with the Magic Fruity Pebbles flavor, which is pink in color. True to its name, the pink Magic Fruity Pebbles turn the milk into blue color. Post Consumer brands launched this ‘enchanting’ flavor on National Cereal Day. How cool is that!
Before this, there were other flavors like the Marshmallow Fruity Pebbles, Half Sugar Fruity Pebbles, Winter Fruity Pebbles, and Fruity Pebbles Extreme, etc. However, except for the Marshmallow flavor, the others have been discontinued.
The intense fruity flavor of Fruity Pebbles and its variants are in line with the brand’s ‘fruity way to rock’ slogan.
Being a family choice for more than 50 years is no mean feat, and Fruity Pebbles has done just it.
With exciting flavors and the ability to deliver unmatched taste, Fruity Pebbles has maintained its timeless classic family breakfast cereal image over the years.
What Is inside Fruity Pebbles?
But whether vegans can enjoy the experience that Fruity Pebbles offers remains a big question.
To determine whether they are vegan-friendly or not, consumers have to know what is inside Fruity Pebbles.
The first and foremost thing to do to get to that information is to check the contents on the label. Among other ingredients, rice, sugar, hydrogenated vegetable oils, salt, and artificial flavors are some of the main items in this irresistible cereal.
At first glance, they are seemingly harmless ingredients, but closer looks at all the items on the label indicate that Fruity Pebbles are not vegan-friendly.
The wide range of tasty and exciting flavors makes Fruity Pebbles hard to put away. After all, who would not like to munch on some crispy rice cereal treats? However, the presence of sugar, artificial colors, and Vitamin D in Fruity Pebbles makes them unsuitable for a vegan.
Vegan Content In Fruity Pebbles
At first look, Fruity Pebbles seem vegan friendly, owing to its ingredients, which includes rice, hydrogenated vegetable oils, etc. These items are vegan friendly and add to the much-loved taste of Fruity Pebbles. With multiple flavors and exciting colors, the Fruity Pebbles range of cereals has a large fan base for a reason.
Many consumers who do not pay heed to what is on the label may think Fruity Pebbles are vegan-friendly. Even those who do take a closer look may not notice the signs unless they are well-versed in the codes used for food additives and colorants. Terms like Red 40, Yellow 6, Blue 2, and Blue 1 are synthetic colors added to processed foods, and you may find it in many products. While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves these additives, there is an ongoing debate over their composition and source.
Some of these additives, like the Red 40, are considered vegan going by their chemical composition. But they are not cruelty-free, which means their presence in food would pose a considerable problem for vegans.
Fruity Pebbles include all the additives as mentioned earlier, which make them unsuitable for vegans. Let’s find out more about them in the next section.
Non-Vegan Content In Fruity Pebbles
Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles were breakfast cereals introduced by Post Consumer Brands way back in 1971. And according to the timeline of the products, Fruity Pebbles has undergone multiple changes over the years.
It has witnessed additions, changes in formula, and variants as well. The names Half Sugar, Dino and Bamm-Bamm Berry will surely ring a bell for Fruity Pebbles enthusiasts because these are some famous variants over the years.
In 2006, a significant addition made to Fruity Pebbles included polydextrose as a ‘key ingredient.’ We get polydextrose from cornstarch, and so it is safe for vegans.
However, here is a quick look at other ingredients in Fruity Pebbles, making it not okay for vegans.
Especially with the growing numbers of vegans, it has become pertinent to know what is in the food we consume and otherwise pass off.
Almost every cereal has sugar as a vital element. But for vegans, the presence of sugar in food products need to be double-checked to see if they are fit for consumption or not.
Bone char filter used for processing sugar to achieve the white color. We get bone char from the bones of cattle, which is why it is unacceptable to vegans.
There are vegan-friendly sugars used in processed foods like beet sugar, but refined white sugar, in particular, makes Fruity Pebbles non-vegan friendly.
Palm Kernel Oil
There are no animal by-products in palm kernel oil; it is a vegetable product.
But the production of the oil is rigged with controversy. The process involved in palm oil production is supposed to be responsible for many animals’ habitat loss. It is also associated with having an overall adverse impact on the climate. Many people opine that palm oil is not entirely cruelty-free.
That is why vegans, in particular, find it unacceptable to consume products that have palm kernel oil in its list of ingredients.
We get natural flavors from either animal or plant sources. There is little or no way to know whether products having natural flavors are vegan friendly or not. Vegans choose to stay away from this item as it treads a ‘grey area.’
Food colors can be either natural or synthetic. As the name suggests, raw food colors are derived from plants and are vegan friendly. However, the real problems for vegans lie in the artificial colors used in foods.
According to its ingredient label, fruity Pebbles contain Red 40, Yellow 6, Turmeric Oleoresin (Color), Blue 1, Yellow 5, and Blue 2.
These are not just color codes but a topic of enormous concern for vegans. Yellow 5, Yellow 6, or Red 40 are some of the most debated ingredients among vegans.
We test artificial colors on animals. Although some might argue that the testing is essential to determine the product’s safety, vegans consider it a part of animal cruelty. Whether testing on animals is done by the manufacturers or the safety standard authority, the involvement of animal cruelty is undeniable.
That is what makes Fruity Pebbles a strict no-no for vegans.
Iron can be non-heme or heme, depending on whether it is derived from plant-based sources or animal-based sources. The Fruity Pebbles label does not mention which kind of Iron is in the cereal, but as a Vegan, the presence of Iron would be something to ponder about.
We may think of Vitamin D as a vital supplement in our diet. But who would have thought that it could be against vegans?
Vitamin D and its variants are not all vegan-friendly. While Vitamin D2 is considered friendly for vegans, we get Vitamin D3 from animal sources. Yes, sheep’s wool, to be precise.
One of the glaring ingredients in Fruity Pebbles, as you may have guessed by now, is Vitamin D3.
For strict vegans, the presence of Vitamin D3 in food products or any other product, for that matter, is a deal-breaker.
So if you are a vegan, these are the things you have to keep in mind the next time before you pick up a carton of Fruity Pebbles.
Apart from these ingredients, other contents are coded or renamed to make it less noticeable. To a casual buyer, it might not make much difference. However, as a vegan, check for ingredients and find out their source before consumption or even purchasing them.
Despite the tricky ingredients that Fruity Pebbles contain, some vegans still think it is okay to enjoy a good and tasty cereal. However, for the others who do not want to take chances with their food but still wish to enjoy their cereal experience, there are lists of options to choose from.
Some alternatives vegans can opt for in place of Fruity Pebbles are as follows:
- ELAN Granola Cereal In Almond Pecan Walnut Coconut: Vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free, the ELAN Original Granola Cereal is the perfect cereal for a vegan. It is also salt-free while the nuts, seeds, and syrup retain a soft, fiber-filled experience.
- Food For Life Ezekiel 4:9: Organic Sprouted Grain Cereal, Golden Flax: Available in stores and online, this cereal from Food For Life Ezekiel 4:9 is vegan. A fun fact about this cereal is that it is based on a recipe from the Holy Bible. It is organic, natural, yeast-free, and does not contain additives, colors, or preservatives.
- Fiber One Cereal: Original Bran, Whole Grain Cereal: This cereal claims to have 13 grams of whole grains in each serving. However, the cereal contains aspartame, which is considered vegan, but there are concerns regarding its impact on health.
- Cascadian Farm Organic Fruitful O’s Cereal: As the name suggests, we can use the Cascadian Farm Organic Fruitful O’s Cereal as a vegan-friendly substitute for Fruity Pebbles. They are tasty and can serve as a vital thing for the first meal of the day.
- Barbara’s Puffins Original Cereal: This cereal is not only vegan-friendly; it is also children friendly. Packed with whole grains and loaded with fiber, they also contain less sugar. It means children can enjoy their cereal without worrying about their pearly whites!
In a nutshell, Fruity Pebbles are quite a tasty treat. However, the presence of Vitamin D3 and other items mentioned above makes it unsuitable for vegans.
That does not mean vegans have to forego the joy of munching on crispy cereal treats. Some vegans still like to consider that some of the controversies surrounding certain ingredients are ‘disputed.’ They think that consuming the cereal in minimal quantity is okay to an extent.
But even if that argument does not fit your bill, opting for other vegan-friendly cereals is still on the table.