Are Strawberry Pop-Tarts Vegan?

Amongst all the flavors of Pop-Tarts, we get maximum inquiries about strawberry flavor. It may be the most popular, and the red filling always comes to our mind first. But, are they suitable for vegans? Well, berries are plant-based, so are the grains. But it is not that easy.

Are they vegan? The unfrosted strawberry Pop-Tarts are vegan, whereas the frosted ones are non-vegan. The frosted variety is not even vegetarian-friendly. They have gelatin, which is made from animal tissues making them unsuitable for all the plant-based eaters.

We will check the different reasons why it is right to munch the unfrosted kind and not so good consume the frosted ones.

Why Unfrosted Strawberry Pop-Tarts Are Vegan

Unfrosted tarts include

  • Enriched Flour–Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), and Folic Acid
  • Corn Syrup and High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
  • Dextrose
  • Soybean and Palm Oil (with TBHQ for Freshness)
  • Cracker Meal, Wheat Starch, Modified Wheat Starch
  • Dried Fruit (Strawberry, Pears, Apples)
  • Leavening Agents (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Baking Soda, Monocalcium Phosphate)
  • Citric Acid
  • Caramel Color
  • Soy Lecithin (An Emulsifier)
  • Xanthan Gum
  • Vitamin A Palmitate
  • Artificial Colors (Red 40, Yellow 6)

Strawberry Pop-Tarts Use Red 40

The Pop-Tarts don’t get their entire color effect from the natural pigments of fruits.

A vegan would never like Red 4 to be one of the ingredients in his favorite Strawberry Pop-Tarts. Red 4 or carmine can be thought of as a popular natural ingredient because it is found in most of the processed food products, but it is taken from the beetles making it a non-vegan component.

Red 40 and Red 4 have similar names. The former is derived from petroleum and can even be derived from strawberries. So, it’s always vegan.

Palm Oil Does Not Render a Food Non-Vegan

In the vegan groups, Palm oil is considered controversial because it has effects on the environment due to its cultivation.

The palm oil is produced by clearing large swaths of land. It is a matter of concern for eco vegans because it may help in increasing greenhouse gas emissions. It also results in the loss of habitat threatening critically endangered species such as the orangutan and Sumatran tiger.

Simply the presence of palm oil does not make our product non-vegan. If it is 100% plant-based or produced synthetically without the above implications, then it’s considered vegan.

If you’re genuinely eco vegan, then you may like to avoid palm oil.

TBHQ is Vegan-Friendly

TBHQ stands for tert-butylhydroquinone.

It’s a synthetic organic compound that is added as a preservative in products with vegetable oils like canola and soybean.

It’s a derivative of vitamin K known as hydroquinone and hence is vegan.

Xanthan Gum Is Generally Vegan

Some vegans have raised concerns about the use of egg whites in the production of Xanthan gum.

Also, it can be processed with whey protein only found in milk.

Xanthan isn’t a vegetable gum but derived microbially.

The use of egg white and lactose in the production of this gum is quite rare, and the Vegetarian Resource Group (VRG) accepts to be usually suitable for vegans.

Caramel Color Is Vegan-Friendly

Caramel color raise red flags in the vegan community because they confuse it for actual caramel.

Both are prepared with Maillard browning reaction on pure sugars substances.

Caramel candy is made from milk (by browning lactose), caramel color is produced by simple browning sugars like fructose and glucose found in malt syrup, or molasses.

Plant-Based Lecithin Is Used

Lecithin attracts both water and fat, making it an excellent emulsifier available easily in egg yolks, but can also be found in many plant-based sources like soybean and sunflower.

Strawberry Pop-Tarts contain soy lecithin.

What About Vitamin A Palmitate?

Vitamin A palmitate has palmitic acid which can be animal-derived if taken from a particular source, but vegan-friendly if sourced from other ones.

The VRG categorizes vitamin A palmitate as potentially non-vegan.

Most vegans can’t doubt such ingredients too much because there’s no way to find.

You may like to avoid it if you’re a particular plant-based eater.

Why Frosted Strawberry Pop-Tarts Are Non-Vegan

Ingredients include

  • Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid)
  • Corn Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Dextrose, Cornstarch, Sugar, Salt
  • Soybean and Palm Oil (with TBHQ for Freshness)
  • Bleached Wheat Flour, Wheat Starch, Modified Wheat Starch, Yellow Corn Flour
  • Dried Strawberries, Pears, and Apples
  • Leaveners (Baking Soda, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Monocalcium Phosphate)
  • Citric Acid
  • Gelatin
  • Food Colorants (Caramel Color, Turmeric Extract Color, Red 40, Blue 1)
  • Xanthan Gum, Soy Lecithin
  • Vitamin A Palmitate
  • It could be a surprise to you that gelatin may be used in the frosting of breakfast foods.

Ingredients of Frosted Mini-Wheats include

  • Whole Grain Wheat
  • Sugar
  • Brown Rice Syrup
  • Gelatin
  • BHT for Freshness
  • Vitamins and Minerals (Reduced Iron, Folic Acid)

Not all frosting contains gelatin, but most processed breakfast foods often do.

Gelatin is obtained from animals like pork by boiling bones, cartilage, and skin, etc. Well, it sounds disgusting.

The additive is generally used to improve the texture. There are many 100% plant-based gelatin replacements available, but it is still continued to be used.

That was the fact file for the vegan status of strawberry Pop-Tarts. Thanks for reading.


  1. Pop-Tarts Unfrosted Strawberry, 16 Toaster Pastries.
  2. Bug-Based Food Dye Should Be Exterminated, Says CSPI.
  3. Carminic Acid
  4. Potera, C., 2010. Diet and nutrition: artificial food dye blues. Environ Health Perspect. 118 (10), A428–A431.
  5. Stern, P.W., 1988. Food, drug, and cosmetic colors, in Pigment Handbook, Vol. 1. P.A. Lewis, Ed. John Wiley & Sons, New York, pp. 925–945.
  6. Vegetarian Journal’s Guide To Food Ingredients.
  7. Shears, Richard (30 March 2012). “Hundreds of orangutans killed in north Indonesian forest fires deliberately started by palm oil firms.” Daily Mail. London.
  8. “Camera catches bulldozer destroying Sumatra tiger forest.” World Wildlife Fund. 12 October 2010.
  9. Xanthan Gum Is Vegan – No Egg Whites.
  10. Caramel Color, Production.
  11. Animal-derived Ingredients Resource | Living
  12. Pop-Tarts Frosted Variety Pack, 48 Toaster Pastries (24 Frosted Strawberry, 24 Frosted Brown Sugar Cinnamon).
  13. Frosted Mini-Wheats, Original.
  14. Natural Colorants For Food and Nutraceutical Uses (Page). Francisco Delgado-Vargas, Octavio Paredes-López – CRC – 2003. ISBN 1-58716-076-5


Recent Content