Morningstar Farms and Their Limited Vegan Options

Back in September of 2012, I wrote about Gardein’s great vegan ribs, and how they made an excellent meatless version of McDonald’s popular McRib sandwich. Well, unfortunately, Gardein chose to discontinue production of their meatless ribs, but after a very long ribless dry spell, a new meatless rib product is now available, and from a very unlikely source.

Morningstar Farms, purveyor of a wide array of vegetarian food items, but little in the subject of Morningstar Farms Hickory BBQ Ribletsvegan, now produces their excellent Hickory BBQ Riblets, a very satisfactory, and maybe even improved, substitute for Gardeins’ product.

For several years, grocery frozen sections have given extremely limited space to meatless products, and the major of that space has generally been given over to companies such as Morningstar and Quorn, who make vegetarian products that include the likes of milk and cheese. In recent weeks, at least in our home area of West Covina, California, local groceries that in the last year or two have expanded their stock of meatless vegan items, primarily Gardein, Boca and Beyond Meat, have now seemed to reverse themselves, and have eliminated much of the selection offered by these companies, while turning over that space to expanded product lines primarily from Morning Star.

I have spent much time carefully examining the ingredient labels of the numerous new products from Morning Star on display, and after doing so in perhaps a half dozen groceries, the Hickory BBQ Riblets was the only vegan item I was able to find. I found this very aggravating, as the displays of Morning Star vegetarian but not vegan products had displaced vegan items from Gardein, Boca, and others.

I wrote to Moningstar about this, complementing them on their excellent Hickory BBQ Riblets,

but criticizing their lack of vegan items, and for their in effect “squeezing out” so many of the limited number of vegan meatless choices.

Within a day, I received a very surprising response from Morningstar. First, they were complementary and expressed appreciation for my concerns as to available grocery space for vegan products. They then stated how they do produce more vegan products than just Hickory BBQ Riblets, but that while all of their products are labeled “Vegetarian” they do not label their vegan product as such (something that
companies like Amy’s should be complemented for always doing).

Then, they provided a list of the product that they make that are vegan, and here is that list:

  • Morningstar Farms Garden Veggie Nuggets
  • Morningstar Farms Grillers Hickory BBQ Riblets
  • Morningstar Farms Grillers White Bean Chili Burgers
  • Morningstar Farms Grillers Roasted Garlic and Quinoa Burgers
  • Morningstar Farms Spicy Indian Veggie Burgers
  • Morningstar Farms Thai Yellow Curry Veggie Bowls
  • Morningstar Farms Meal Starters Chik’n Strips
  • Morningstar Farms Meal Starters Steak Strips
  • Morningstar Farms Veggie Sausage and Grain Breakfast Patties

No, I did not miss seeing these products in any grocery freezers, and no, I did not mis-read any labels. Despite the expanded selection of Morningstar products so many groceries now have, other than the Riblets and on other, the Meal Starters Chik’n Strips, none of these products could be found among the many stores I have checked. For the record, these include Stater Bros., Albertsons, Vons, Walmart, Target, Food4Less, Aldi, Grocery Outlet and Smart & Final.

Thanks to Morningstar for providing this information, and to all these groceries, I’ll be bringing this issue up with each of you directly (as I have with the issue of vegan products in the past with most of you).

2 thoughts on “Morningstar Farms and Their Limited Vegan Options

  1. Giancarlo Martelozzo

    If Kellogg’s owns Morning Star, they can’t put a Vegan Label. The term “strict vegetarian” is correct for their “vegan” products . Vegan doesn’t support companies that tests on animals!

  2. Presh

    There are different types of vegans. My husband and I are classified as “dietary vegans” due to the fact that we stick to a strict vegan way of eating. It is not an ethical thing for us. This list is very helpful and we really appreciate it!


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