The ‘twist or dunk’ debate has been around for years, but so has the ‘vegan or non-vegan’ debate when it comes to Oreo cookies. No matter where you stand, if you are avoiding animal-derived products, the accidentally-vegan Oreo can be confusing. So, in this article we will do our best to provide all the information we have sourced on the popular Original Oreo so you can decide if it is right for you.
Where do Oreos come from?
If you are wondering where the story began, it is important to go back to the foundation of the National Biscuit Company created in 1912. In New York, the National Biscuit Company known as Nabisco had an idea for a “sandwhich cookie”.
In the beginning, the cookie was referred to as the Oreo Biscuit but had a name change in 1921 to Oreo Sandwich. Next, another name change to Oreo Creme Sandwich in 1937 before a further change to Oreo Chocolate Sandwich Cookie in 1974. Today, the sandwich cookie, with two chocolate cookies sandwiched around a sweet cream filling, is commonly referred to as “Oreo”.
Are Oreos Vegan?
Oreos are accidentally vegan! So while you won’t find a vegan label on the packet, you will be pleased to know that the original Oreo cookie does not contain animal-derived ingredients. However, it is a personal choice to purchase a product that may contain milk due to cross-contamination in the factory.
Oreo products are vegetarian-friendly, but not all products are accidentally vegan. Original Oreos for example are vegan.
What Ingredients Are In Original Oreo Sandwich Cookies?
There are several Oreo varieties, limited-edition recipes, and variations to the ingredients depending on the location. Oreo is sold in over 100 countries, and the range continues to expand all the time, with new flavors appearing on the market.
The following ingredients are listed on the OREO UK website under Original Vanilla:
- Wheat Flour
- Vegetable Oil (contains Antioxidant 319) Palm Oil & Rapeseed Oil ➔ Wheat Starch
- Cocoa Powder
- Fructose Syrup
- Raising Agents (500, 503) Ammonium Carbonates, Potassium Carbonates, Sodium Carbonates)
- Emulsifier (Soy Lecithin)
- Acidity Regulator (Sodium Hydroxide)
This is why the vegetarian/vegan debate surrounding Oreos is ongoing in the vegan community. If you are personally okay with processed food that is not certified vegan, Original Oreos should not be a problem; however, if you prefer to consume only certified vegan products you may choose to avoid Oreo products.
Allergen May Be Present:
Is Oreo Gluten-Free?
Before January 2021, there was no gluten-free option in the Oreo range. However, according to sources, there are two additional Oreo cookies that are gluten-free; Gluten-Free Original Oreo and Gluten-Free Double-Stuff Oreo.
Does Oreo Contain Palm Oil?
Yes, Oreo use palm oil in the original recipe. Palm oil is one of the least expensive vegetable oils in the world, with the majority of plantations in Malaysia and Indonesia. The oil is one of the most commonly used vegetables oils though is originally native to Africa. Although palm oil is plant-based and not an animal-derived ingredient, the oil is highly debated due to it’s controversial environmental impact.
Palm oil is a major contributor to deforestation. The loss of forest has contributed to important biodiversity loss and placed several species under threat including orangutan and the Sumatran rhino.
As consumers, we can show our support for sustainable palm oil by shopping products that use RSPO Certified Palm Oil. Since 2018, Oreo have maintained 100% RSPO palm oil in its products and are monitoring any concerns regarding deforestation in palm oil production. If you want to know more about Palm Oil, check out our take on it!
What Oreos are Dairy-free?
As you can see, Cross-Contamination (and Palm Oil) kind of ruins the whole thing, but the following Oreos contain no Dairy or Milk (directly):
- The Original
- Golden Double Stuf
- Double Stuf
- The Most Stuf
- Mega Stuf
- Chocolate Hazelnut
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie
- Chocolate Marshmallow
- Chocolate Confetti Cake – 110th Birthday
- Ultimate Chocolate
- Birthday Cake
- Boo (Halloween orange)
- Caramel Coconut
- Carrot Cake
- Thins Original
- Thins Pistachio
- Thins Coconut
- Thins Extra Stuf
- Thins Dark Chocolate
- Thins Golden
- Thins Lemon
- Thins Mint
- Thins Latte
- Minis Golden
- Minis Original
- Cinnamon Bun
- Dark Chocolate
- Joy (Winter)
- Java Chip
- Maple Creme
- USA Red White & Blue
- Peanut Butter
- Mocha Caramel Latte
- Toffee Crunch
Can I Eat Oreo On A Vegan Diet?
A vegan lifestyle is one that removes all animal and animal-derived ingredients from the diet. This includes dairy products such as milk, milk fat, milk powder, whey, and milk chocolate. The vegan diet is different from a vegetarian diet because it is common for vegetarians to consume dairy.
For this reason, Oreo original are best described as accidentally vegan but some vegans may choose not to eat Oreo’s due to the possibility of cross-contamination with milk products.
The question of whether or not you can eat Oreo’s comes down to the consumers personal lifestyle views, ethics, dietary requirements and so on.
Frequently Asked Questions
Just like the original Oreos, Golden Oreos don’t contain any animal by-products. However, you need to keep in mind that there is a possibility for cross-contamination because they are made at the same factory as the non-vegan flavors.
Not all Oreos are vegan-friendly, and the ones that do not contain any animal products are also possibly cross-contaminated. If cross-contamination is not a problem for you, you are good to go with the Original, Double Stuf, Golden, Haloween, Lemon, and Gingerbread too.
Just like the original Oreos, Gluten-free Oreos don’t contain any animal products. The issue with them is the possibility of cross-contamination because they are made at the same factory as the non-vegan flavors. If you are a strict vegan, you should avoid Oreos.
Unfortunately, Oreo Cakesters contain Eggs and Milk, thus they are not vegan or vegetarian.
Double Stuf Oreos don’t contain any animal products, so you could say that they are vegan. The issue with them is the possibility of cross-contamination because they are made at the same factory as the non-vegan flavors. If this is an issue for you, you should avoid them.
Mint Oreos do not contain any animal products, but they are made at the same factory as the non-vegan flavors. If Cross-Contamination is not an issue for you, then you can consider them vegan-friendly.
Just like the original Oreos, Vanilla Oreos (Golden Oreos) don’t contain any animal by-products. However, you need to keep in mind that there is a possibility for cross-contamination because they are made at the same factory as the non-vegan flavors.
Just like the other Oreo cookies, Oreo thins may not contain any animal products, but Cross-Contamination stops them from being fully vegan. They are also made with Palm Oil, which does not help the case either.
Lemon Oreos do not contain any animal products, but they are made at the same factory as the non-vegan flavors. If Cross-Contamination is not a problem for you, you can consider them vegan-friendly.
Carrot Cake Oreos are accidentally-vegan, however, they have the same issue as the Other Oreo flavors: Cross-Contamination. All Oreos are made at the same place, thus they can be contaminated with animal products such as Milk or Eggs.
Gingerbread Oreos, don’t contain any animal by-products, thus they are accidentally vegan. However, you need to keep in mind that there is a possibility for cross-contamination because they are made at the same factory as the non-vegan flavors. For strict vegans, Gingerbread Oreos are a no-go.
Halloween Oreos do not contain any animal-derived ingredients, but they are not fully vegan. Oreo makes all of its cookies at the same factory, thus cross-contamination is guaranteed. If you are a strict vegan, you should avoid Halloween Oreos as well.