Oreo cookies are made without any animal products. However, the company that makes them says these cookies are made in facilities that handle milk. As a result, there may be traces of milk in Oreo cookies.
Many of us grew up eating Oreos as kids, breaking apart the creamy middle from one half of the cookie and dunking it into a tall glass of milk.
Little did we know that these favorite childhood treats contain no animal products.
Are Oreos really vegan?
Oreo cookies do not contain any animal-derived ingredients and are safe to eat for vegans. If you have a dairy allergy, keep in mind that Oreos have milk as cross-contact.
The ingredients listed on the Oreos packaging are: unbleached enriched flour, sugar, palm and/or canola oil, cocoa, high fructose corn syrup, leavening, corn starch, salt, soy lecithin, vanillin, and unsweetened chocolate.
There is no mention of dairy or eggs, yet the Oreo company itself says they do not consider the cookie “suitable for vegans” on theFAQ page: “Oreos have milk as cross-contact and therefore are not suitable for vegans.”
Oreos were not always vegan
In the past, Oreos definitely weren’t vegan. In the early twentieth century, they were made with lard (pig fat). It was only in the mid-1990s, over concerns about the healthfulness of animal fat, that Nabisco, Oreo’s parent company, decided to replace lard with partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. That change lasted another decade until further health concerns. So in January 2006, underpressure from the public, Oreo replaced the trans fat in the biscuits with non-hydrogenated oils. Still, the recipe included whey protein, which is derived from dairy, until 2013 in the UK and 2014 in the US. When that ingredient was removed, the cookies finally became animal-free.
Can vegans eat Oreos?
Given that most products are made in facilities that contain animal products, does a trace amount of milk make something definitively not vegan?
For an answer, we turn to PETA, the organization many would consider the authority on what counts as vegan. They have a whole statement about foods containing small amounts of animal products with a sticky note that reads “Don’t worry”. The statement reads:
“Some packaged foods have a long list of ingredients. The farther an ingredient is down the list, the less of that ingredient is in the food. People who have made the compassionate decision to stop eating animal flesh, eggs, and dairy products may wonder if they need to read every ingredient to check for tiny amounts of obscure animal products. Our general advice is not to worry too much…The goal of sticking to a vegetarian or vegan diet is to help animals and reduce suffering; this is done by choosing a bean burrito or a veggie burger over chicken flesh, or choosing tofu scramble over eggs, not by refusing to eat an otherwise vegan food because it has 0.001 grams of monoglycerides that may possibly be animal-derived.”
“Our general advice is not to worry too much…The goal of sticking to a vegetarian or vegan diet is to help animals and reduce suffering.”
Indeed, PETA complies a whole list of“Accidentally Vegan” foods, which contains such items as Life Original Cereal, Lay’s Barbecue Potato Chips, Jolly Rancher Hard Candy, Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup, Aunt Jemima Pancake/Waffle Mix, and Old El Paso Fajita Dinner Kit.
Related: Most popular vegan snacks
Now that we have determined that Oreos are technically vegan, should you be eating them?
Unfortunately, the fact that Oreos are vegan is more a testament to the ingenuity of fast food producers than any moral or health claims. None of the ingredients found in an Oreo cookie are whole, real foods. Like other processed foods, Oreos contain many genetically engineered and harmful ingredients, including high fructose corn syrup, an omnipresent sweetener, and soy lecithin, an emulsifier extracted from soybeans. While both of these ingredients are derived originally from plants, they are a far cry from healthfulness. Indeed, Oreos are a perfect example of that fact that just because something is vegan does not make it healthy.
Nor does it make it ethical in a broader sense than solely animal welfare. One of the main ingredients is palm oil, which is not only a processed food that is bad for our health, but is also disastrous for the environment. The vast majority of palm oil produced today is grown unsustainably in developing countries where large swaths of tropical forests have been cleared to make room for palm oil plantations. Given that it’s cheaper to produce palm oil than animal fat, this ingredient has become almost ubiquitous in processed food today.
So, while you should consider Oreos vegan, you should not consider them healthy, nor necessarily ethical. At Fresh n’ Lean, we believe in more than providing you with vegan meals, but also providing you home-cooked wholesome goodness made of real plants from the earth, rather than processed foods. That being said, you can still eat Oreo cookies on occasion, and consider it a nostalgic indulgence.
Just make sure to dunk it in a glass of plant-based milk.
What makes a product vegan?
Veganism goes a step beyond vegetarianism. Whereas vegetarians avoid eating meat, vegans try to avoid all animal product consumption. This includes dairy, honey, and eggs.
Things get a bit more complicated when you ask different vegans whether this product or that product counts. For example, some people are just dietary vegans and they’re fine with animal products as long as they aren’t eating them. Others are lifestyle vegans and try to avoid animal products that include fur and leather.
There’s also the question of what constitutes an animal. For example, B12 comes from meat, hemp seeds, and bacteria. Some vegans feel that the bacteria produced B12 found in supplements goes against their style of veganism while others do not. Additionally, insulin is made from yeast and other bacteria.
Some people would say that taking insulin is non-vegan-friendly whereas others say that exceptions have to be made in specific medical situations.
Others go as far as to say that certain plants are not vegan-friendly because they harm more animals than other plants. Palm oil, found in Oreos, is an example of this. Although palm oil comes from palm trees, many vegans feel like they should avoid this ingredient because it has a very negative impact on the environment and hurts animals who depend on palm trees in their ecosystem.
So although all vegans agree that veganism is about avoiding animal products, it’s clear that vegans draw the line differently one from another.
With Fresh n’ Lean, you don’t have to worry if your food is vegan
No matter where you fall on the great Oreo debate, there is one thing we should all be able to agree on. Being vegan can be hard sometimes and questions like, “Are Oreos vegan,” just add unnecessary complications to breakfast, lunch, and dinner that don’t need to be there. Fresh n’ Lean can take away all of that and make eating simple again.
Our Fresh n’ Lean chefs make amazing meals out of in-season ingredients that are suitable for vegans of all stripes and standards. Our vegan meal delivery service has been a real blessing to those who are trying to keep vegan while not spending all of their spare time planning their next meal. Our food is organic, in-season, healthy, and vegan, basically it’s everything you need and nothing that you’re trying to avoid.
Forget about the Oreos and check out our menu instead to see if going vegan with Fresh n’ Lean is the right choice for you.
Fresh N’ Lean is the nation’s largest organic meal delivery service. Our tasty, chef-prepared cuisine is always fresh and never frozen, and we offer five convenient meal plans: Protein+, Keto, Paleo, Standard Vegan and Low-Carb Vegan. Choose Fresh N’ Lean for affordable nutrition, delivered to your doorstep.
Fresh n Lean meals can be great for weight loss if you choose wisely and pair them with a healthy diet and exercise routine. However, I always recommend speaking with a medical professional before making any drastic changes to your diet or starting a weight loss regimen.Can you freeze fresh and lean? ›
According to the company, Fresh N Lean meals should be eaten within 7–10 days. For longer storage, you can freeze them for 6–8 weeks.Who owns Fresh N Lean? ›
Laureen Asseo is the founder and CEO of Fresh n' Lean, the largest organic prepared meal delivery service in the United States with more than $30 million in revenue.Is Fresh N Lean and trifecta the same? ›
The main difference in customization features between these two services is that Fresh N Lean allows you to choose your meals for each plan and offers better ingredient exclusions, while Trifecta offers a completely customizable Meal Prep plan that allows you to build your own meals.Can I lose weight eating healthy frozen meals? ›
“Frozen meals provide an option that takes the guesswork out of calculating calories and other macronutrients, and lower-calorie frozen meals provide a convenient, calorie-controlled option that may aid with weight loss,” adds Smith.Is Optavia too few calories? ›
Is the Optavia diet a good option for weight loss? As a dietitian, I don't recommend the Optavia diet for several reasons: It's unnecessarily restrictive. The 5&1 Plan cuts calories to just 800–1,000 per day, which simply isn't sustainable.How long does fresh and lean last in the fridge? ›
Upon receiving your delivery, refrigerate your meal packs as soon as possible. Thanks to our vacuumed sealed trays, meals typically stay fresh up to 7-10 days from delivery (just remember to refrigerate them!). You can freeze the meals if you like, but for optimum taste, we recommend eating them fresh.Are fresh and lean meals high in sodium? ›
Most Fresh n' Lean meals are low sodium (140 mg of sodium or less per 100 g), with many averaging around 600 mg per serving. Each plan includes a variety of meals, but subscribers can't choose what they want.How do you reheat fresh and lean meals? ›
Our goal is to take the hassle out of healthy eating, so all you have to do is heat and eat. After peeling off the label, simply puncture a few holes on the plastic film, and microwave your meal for 2-3 minutes. You can also reheat your food on the stove or in the oven if you prefer.Is fresh and lean grass fed? ›
We have our own farms based in California where our farmers source nutrient-dense ingredients, to send directly to our kitchen. Ingredients include a wide range of fruits and vegetables, grass-fed beef, free range eggs & poultry and wild-caught fish. Nothing is ever fried or frozen.
Fresh n' Lean revenue is $9.0M annually.What company makes lean? ›
Lean Cuisine is a brand of frozen entrées and dinners sold in the United States and Canada by Nestlé, and in Australia by Vesco (under a licensing agreement with Nestlé).Is Lean and Green the same as Optavia? ›
Lean & Green Meals are an important component of the OPTAVIA program. Along with our scientifically developed products, Lean & Green Meals help you integrate healthy eating into your life by using fresh and delicious ingredients to make easy-to-prepare dishes.Does fresh and lean use preservatives? ›
We never use processed or artificial ingredients. We source locally-grown, whole-food, nutrient-dense, organic ingredients.Has anyone lost weight with Trifecta? ›
“Trifecta meals give me easy access to high quality lean proteins - beforehand I was eating frozen hamburgers for just about all my meals. In the last three months on Trifecta I have lost over 30 pounds.” "I finally realized at 35 years old that I had to lose weight or I was going to die young.Have people lost weight with HelloFresh? ›
The calorie-controlled meals on HelloFresh's Fit & Wholesome plan may help you reach this goal. However, weight loss is not a guarantee, even if you're receiving Fit & Wholesome meals ( 1 ).Do Optavia fuelings burn fat? ›
This lower level of carbohydrates, coupled with the reduced-calorie level of the Optimal Weight 5 & 1 Plan, allows your body to enter the fat-burning state. This gentle, but effective fat-burning state helps the body achieve faster weight loss while helping retain muscle mass.How many calories are in a fresh and lean meal? ›
The food is not heavily seasoned but there are plenty of interesting flavors, spices and sauces plucked from popular world cuisines. Most Fresh N Lean meals fall somewhere in the 400-to-500-calorie range.