Is Trader Joe’s gluten free granola vegan?

As more people adopt vegan and gluten-free diets, there is increasing demand for packaged foods that fit both categories. Trader Joe’s is a popular grocery store chain that offers a variety of gluten-free and vegan items. One of their products that frequently gets asked about is their gluten free granola cereal. This article will examine the ingredients and production process of Trader Joe’s gluten free granola to determine if it is also vegan.

What makes a food product vegan?

The vegan diet avoids all animal products and byproducts. This includes obvious things like meat, eggs, and dairy. However, it also excludes more subtle animal-derived ingredients like honey, gelatin, casein, whey, carmine, and lanolin. Vegans also do not consume foods that involved animal testing or exploitation.

To be considered vegan, a food product must not contain any ingredient that comes from an animal. All ingredients must be plant-based or synthetic. Any additives, flavorings, colorings, preservatives, vitamins, and processing aids must also be vegan.

In addition, vegan foods cannot be manufactured using animal products or byproducts. For example, some sugars are filtered using bone char from cattle. This bone char filtration process would make that sugar non-vegan.

What ingredients are in Trader Joe’s gluten free granola?

The ingredients listed on the Trader Joe’s gluten free granola cereal are:

– Whole oats
– Cane sugar
– Sunflower oil
– Almonds
– Cashews
– Pumpkin seeds
– Brown rice crisp
– Maple syrup
– Contains less than 2% of salt, cinnamon and vanilla extract

Analysis of the ingredients

Analyzing this list of ingredients confirms that Trader Joe’s gluten free granola is vegan:

– Whole oats – Oats are a gluten-free whole grain and suitable for a vegan diet.

– Cane sugar – Cane sugar is plant-based and vegan. Beet or bone char filtered cane sugar would not be vegan but there is no indication that the cane sugar in this product is processed with bone char.

– Sunflower oil – Sunflower oil is a vegan ingredient.

– Almonds – Tree nuts like almonds are gluten-free and vegan.

– Cashews – Cashews are a gluten-free vegan nut.

– Pumpkin seeds – Like tree nuts, pumpkin seeds are vegan.

– Brown rice crisp – Rice is gluten-free and the brown rice crisp used is vegan.

– Maple syrup – Maple syrup comes from maple trees so it is a vegan sweetener.

– Salt – Most salt is vegan, including typical table salt, sea salt, pink Himalayan salt and other varieties.

– Cinnamon – Cinnamon spice is derived from the inner bark of tropical trees and is gluten-free and vegan.

– Vanilla extract – Authentic vanilla extract is vegan, derived from vanilla beans. Artificial vanilla would not be considered vegan.

In summary, all the ingredients in Trader Joe’s gluten free granola are gluten-free and plant-based. There are no animal products, byproducts or derivatives listed.

Manufacturing process

In addition to checking the ingredients, the manufacturing process must also be considered for a product to be certified vegan.

For a processed food like granola cereal, the equipment and facilities must avoid cross-contamination with allergens like dairy. Some vegan organizations require separate equipment and storage from non-vegan production.

At this time Trader Joe’s has not pursued formal vegan certification for their gluten free granola. However, Trader Joe’s states on their website that all their own brand products avoid using animal products or byproducts in the manufacturing process.

Trader Joe’s also notes that their products are made on shared equipment that processes milk, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, soy, wheat and other allergens. They recommend those with food sensitivities check carefully for allergen warnings.

So while not certified vegan, Trader Joe’s gluten free granola appears to be made in a way that avoids animal ingredients or contamination according to their stated procedures. Customers with soy or nut allergies need to be aware of potential cross-contact.

Does Trader Joe’s gluten free granola contain honey?

Honey is not vegan because it is made by bees. Some gluten free and health food brands add honey to granola for flavor and texture. However, honey is not listed as an ingredient in Trader Joe’s gluten free granola.

The sweeteners used are cane sugar and maple syrup. These are both plant-based syrups. Honey is not used.


Trader Joe’s gluten free granola cereal has a gluten free certification from the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO). GFCO testing confirms the product has less than 10 parts per million of gluten.

The granola is produced in a gluten-free facility to prevent cross-contamination. Proper gluten-free protocols and sanitation procedures must be followed and routinely audited by GFCO.

This level of certification ensures the granola is safe for those on a medically necessary gluten-free diet. The GFCO certification program is considered the gold standard for gluten-free labeling in North America.

However, Trader Joe’s gluten free granola is not certified vegan. As discussed above, the ingredients and manufacturing indicate it is vegan, but vegan certification has not been pursued or obtained. Those seeking a certified vegan label should look for other granola brands with third-party vegan verification.

Nutrition profile

Here is the nutrition information for Trader Joe’s gluten free granola cereal according to the package:

Nutrition Facts 1/4 cup (29g)
Calories 150
Fat 7g
Saturated Fat 1g
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 75mg
Total Carbohydrate 18g
Dietary Fiber 3g
Total Sugars 8g
Added Sugars 4g
Protein 4g

This nutrition profile shows the granola is a good source of protein and fiber, providing 4g of protein and 3g of fiber per serving. It is low in saturated fat.

The main drawback nutrition-wise is the added sugars, with 4g per serving. The maple syrup and cane sugar boost the total sugar content. Those looking to limit added sugars may want to be mindful of portion sizes when eating this granola.

That said, the overall nutrient levels are as expected for a cereal of this kind. There are no major red flags for those following a standard vegan diet. The ingredients provide a mix of grains, healthy fats, minerals, antioxidants and plant-based protein.

Cost analysis

A 16 ounce package of Trader Joe’s gluten free granola costs $3.99 at the time of writing.

There are about 11 servings in the 16 ounce bag. That comes out to a per-serving cost of about $0.36.

This is fairly affordable as far as gluten-free and vegan cereal options go. The price provides decent value given the quality ingredients.

Of course, generic oatmeal or store brand cereals can be cheaper. But Trader Joe’s granola has the convenience factor, unique flavor profile and added nutritional benefits of seeds and nuts.

Compared to other similar packaged vegan granolas, Trader Joe’s gluten free option is competitively priced. It is less expensive than many major brands while still being tasty and made with whole food ingredients.

The Trader Joe’s specialty foods generally offer good quality for the price. Their gluten free granola is no exception, providing an economical option for vegans wanting gluten-free convenience.

Taste reviews

Here are some real customer reviews on the taste and texture of Trader Joe’s gluten free granola cereal:

“It has the perfect crunch and great oat-y flavor. The hints of maple and vanilla make it taste kind of like a cookie. I love granola with almond milk.”

“This is so delicious I can eat it by the handful. Perfect amount of sweetness and very filling. Great alternative to sugary cereal.”

“The texture of this is great even when soaked in milk overnight. Stays crunchy rather than mushy. I add fresh fruit for a nutritious breakfast.”

“I really wanted to like this but unfortunately the consistency was too hard and tough for me. Hurt my teeth to chew it.”

“This got soggy very quickly in both yogurt and milk, turned me off from buying it again. Also very sweet – I prefer plain granola.”

As these reviews demonstrate, personal taste preferences vary quite a bit. Some praise the crunchy texture while others found it too hard or soggy. The maple sweetness is enjoyable for some while too sweet for others.

In general, this cereal has good reviews for its cookie-like crunch and robust granola flavor profile. But those who prefer less sweetness or softer textures may find it lacking. Trying a small package first can help determine if Trader Joe’s gluten free granola aligns with your tastes.


Based on an in-depth look at the ingredients, manufacturing, nutrition, cost and reviews, Trader Joe’s gluten free granola does appear to be vegan.

While not certified vegan, all the ingredients are plant-based and free of animal products. The production also avoids use of animal ingredients or byproducts according to Trader Joe’s policies.

The granola has a certified gluten free status which is important for managing celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. It provides decent protein and fiber compared to many highly processed cereals.

With a tasty blend of oats, nuts, seeds and maple flavor, Trader Joe’s gluten free granola offers a convenient vegan cereal option at a reasonable price point. Those seeking vegan, gluten-free nutrition in cereal form can be assured that this Trader Joe’s product aligns with vegan dietary standards.

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