Coco Pops are the tasty breakfast cereal that kids have loved for generations. Manufactured by Kelloggs, Coco Pops have had the household slogan “Just like a chocolate milkshake, only crunchy!” for as long as many can remember.
So do Coco Pops fall into the high-sugar cereal category?
So let’s answer the one question we all want to know: Are Coco Pops Vegan? Yes. But wait - this depends on where you live. Why? Kelloggs have different recipes. Unfortunately, it appears that the Coco Pops recipe sold in the UK is not vegan.
How about Kelloggs, are they cruelty-free? A new public policy by the brand was released in 2019 promising that all animal testing is now banned. However, there is more to this story so let’s take a closer look.
Vegomm score: 60%
- Brand is certified cruelty-free: YES as of 2019
- Brand offers a selection of vegan products: YES
- Animal testing: NO as of 2019 policy reform
- Parent company sells other brands in China: YES
- Parent company tests other brands on animals: (unsure)
Are Coco Pops Vegan?
Vegan cereals are growing in popularity as consumer demand calls for more nutritious breakfast choices.
How are Coco Pops made? The process starts by steaming grains of rice, adding sugar and salt, vitamins and minerals. Then the rice goes into an oven to puff the grains into rice bubbles. The rice bubbles are then coated with cocoa syrup in a mixing drum and set to dry.
What are Coco Pops ingredients: whole white rice (65%), sugar, cocoa (3%), minerals (calcium carbonate, iron, zinc oxide), salt, natural flavour, barley malt extract, vitamins (niacin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, folate). Allergen notes: contains cereals containing gluten. May contain traces of peanuts and tree nuts.
“We’re pleased to share that many of our most iconic cereals are vegan friendly, containing no animal-derived ingredients including honey, gelatine and carmine colouring”.
So, how about the UK? Let’s check the recipe listed on the Kellogs UK website.
What are Coco Pops ingredients in the UK: Rice, Glucose Syrup, Sugar, Fat Reduced Cocoa Powder, Cocoa Mass, Salt, Barley Malt Extract, Flavourings. Vitamins & Minerals: Niacin, Iron, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B1 (Thiamin), Folic Acid, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12. Allergen notes: contains cereals containing gluten. May contain traces of peanuts and tree nuts. There is no added milk but Vitamin D has been added and it does not specify if this is derived from plants or animals.
Are Coco Pops healthy? As a breakfast meal, high sugar vegan cereals don't rank highly from a nutritional standpoint. Overall, Coco Pops only have a 2/5 star health rating. “The Health Star Rating System was introduced to help consumers compare the overall nutritional quality of products at a glance.
Sugar rate: So just how much sugar is in one 100 gram serving? 17 grams! One teaspoon of sugar is 4 grams meaning there are still four teaspoons of refined sugar in just 100 grams of cereal.
Salt rate: Coco Pops might not taste salty, but they still contain 0.65 grams of salt per 100-gram serve. The average healthy adult should have between 1.5-2.3 grams of salt per day, not exceeding 7 grams. Children should have a lower salt and sugar intake than adults.
Are Coco Pops Cruelty-Free?
For decades, Kelloggs has had a reputation for being a brand that openly tests on animals. In one example, the brand was trying a known carcinogen on rats that caused them to develop colon tumours, suffocate and die before then being dissected all in the name of science and food safety.
A step forward: The good news is that Kelloggs has collaborated with PETA to adapt a new public policy to end its cruel animal testing system. Whilst many animal rights activists are relieved that these tests have finally come to an end for the world's leading cereal producer, the difficulties that occurred for the last 65 years simply are not easy to forget especially when they are not mandated by law. It is well known that such tests, which involve common food ingredients with no toxicity concerns, can instead be safely performed using human volunteers. Thankfully, Kellogs have made the conscious choice to ban all forms of animal testing.
Unfortunately, the brand has a hope to expand the cereal range further in the Chinese market focussing on the country's desire for more packaged food. This is another grey area, as animal-testing in China for ingredients of packaged foods is unclear.
Which Kellogs Cereal Products Are Vegan?
Kelloggs Vegan Cereal Range for the UK Market: All-bran, Super Grain Granola, Krave Dark Chocolate, Raisin Wheats, Organic Wheats Original, Organic Wheats Raisin, a selection of the Granola range is vegan. As we can see, Coco Pops are not listed here.
UK Vegan & Cruelty-Free Alternatives To Coco Pops
If you are unsure about consuming Coco Pops, then there are many delicious and healthy alternatives to Kellogg’s cereal available for you to try:
Nature's Path Envirokidz Chocolate Choco Chimps
This is one of the best brands you can support when it comes to purchasing healthy cereal for kids. The company has made it their mission to create organic food for kids and to help save animals and the planet. Nature's Path partners with 1% For the Planet, 1% of sales of all EnviroKidz products goes towards working to save endangered animals, protect their habitats and educate kids worldwide. Choco Chimps is organic, gluten-free, non-GMO, and made without artificial ingredients.
- Gluten, dairy and wheat-free
- No artificial flavours, colours or preservatives
- Suitable for vegans
- High in fibre
- To be enjoyed by adults and children alike.
Spoon Cereals Dark Chocolate and Almond Granola
The reason Spoon Cereals are so great is that the blend is also gluten-free and the packaging is plastic-free. Spoon Cereals are an award-winning company on a mission to make breakfast better, and all of the granolas and mueslis are all made in the UK in small batches. This granola mix still has a dark chocolate taste so you might find that kids also enjoy Spoons Cereal paired with plant-based milk or coconut yoghurt and fresh fruit.
- Made with 70% dark chocolate which is packed full of antioxidants
- Added zesty lime for an even better flavour profile
Rude Health Puffed Brown Rice
Puffed rice cereal is usually reconstituted, fortified and coated with sugar. That is why the puffed brown rice from Rude Health is made with whole-grain brown rice with no added sugar or salt. Add what you like to customise the puffed rice such as plant milk, coconut flakes, cacao powder, sliced banana, or use it as a base to make your granola mix.
- Vegan friendly
- Nothing artificial, nothing refined
Buyers Guide To Vegan Cereal
Certain cereals that appear to be vegan can easily contain hidden animal ingredients and animal derivatives like milk powder, skim milk powder and honey. Then there is the personal choice of if you choose to buy cereal that says it “may contain” certain ingredients.
Whey, Milk Protein & Milk Powder: This is the leading cause of disappointment for vegans when shopping a vast array of products. Dairy products are often found in chocolate-based cereal.
Honey: A common ingredient in cereal, pre-made oats, granola and muesli for added sweetness, honey is consumed by vegetarians but not deemed suitable by vegans.
Vitamin D3: Vitamin D2 comes from plants and the sun whilst Vitamin D3 comes from animals. D3 is extracted in the form of an oil, from the wool of the sheep, also known as lanolin. Avoiding D3 seems simple enough, but sadly many companies just list Vitamin D making it impossible to know where it comes from without a Vegan certification.
It is possible to enjoy Coco Pops as a vegan breakfast cereal depending on where you are located; however, for UK consumers, it appears that they are not an option. Thankfully you have a vast range of healthy plant-based alternatives to choose from instead that are also cruelty-free and organic.