Wondering if M&Ms are vegan? You’re not alone.
With a history that spans 80+ years back and availability in 100+ countries, there is no denying that M&Ms are one of the world’s most popular candies. In fact, peanut M&Ms used to be our absolute favorite candy. Let's be real, who doesn't love them?
But are they vegan?
We’re sorry to be the bearer of bad news but M&Ms are not vegan. In fact, none of the flavors currently available including the peanut, dark chocolate or mint M&Ms are vegan. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like Mars Inc. has any plans on changing that.
Luckily all hope is not lost, and there are several vegan M&Ms alternatives that you can enjoy instead. As a matter of fact, we prefer these vegan M&M versions to the original, and we promise they'll satisfy your cravings as well.
Why Are M&Ms Not Vegan?
Naturally, it’s all about the ingredients. And in this specific case, it’s mostly because milk is one of the main ingredients in all of the M&M flavors. In other words, M&Ms are not suitable for vegans nor are they dairy-free or suitable for people who are lactose intolerant.
However, besides the milk, there are a couple of other ingredients that are neither vegan or cruelty-free.
Let’s take a look at the ingredients of one of the most popular M&M flavors so we can explain what we mean.
M&Ms Milk Chocolate Ingredients:
Milk Chocolate (Sugar, Chocolate, Skim Milk, Cocoa Butter, Lactose, Milkfat, Soy Lecithin, Salt, Artificial Flavor), Sugar, Cornstarch, Less than 1% - Corn Syrup, Dextrin, Coloring (Includes Blue 1 Lake, Yellow 6, Red 40, Yellow 5, Blue 1, Red 40 Lake, Blue 2 Lake, Yellow 6 Lake, Blue 2, Gum Acacia. Contains Milk and Soy. May Contain Peanuts.
As you can clearly see, the main reason M&Ms aren't vegan is because of the dairy, it’s even one of the first ingredients. But, as mentioned, there are other ingredients that vegans should avoid, mainly the coloring.
You see, even though food colors such as Red 40 and Yellow 6 don’t contain any animal-derived ingredients, they are regularly tested on animals meaning they are not cruelty-free.
We've covered the dilemma behind artificial colors in detail in our article why vegans should avoid Red 40.
Vegan M&Ms Alternatives:
Although it can be disheartening to learn that M&Ms aren't vegan, there is no reason to feel discouraged. As promised, we have hunted down the tastiest vegan M&M options below. And to make things even better, all three brands are readily available from Amazon and are free from harmful artificial colors.
Although not all-vegan, Unreal is a chocolate company that makes several vegan chocolates including some of the best vegan M&Ms we’ve tried. We found this brand by accident not that long ago and we instantly became hooked.
Before becoming vegan, we both loved M&Ms, and it wasn’t until we tried Unreal that we got to experience the satisfaction of eating chocolate covered candies again and for us, it was a game changer.
At the moment, Unreal has two vegan M&Ms called “Gems”:
In addition, Unreal makes dark chocolate peanut butter cups, dark chocolate almond cups as well as dark chocolate crispy peanut butter cups.
Best of all is that Unreal has become hugely popular in a short amount of time, and today they are offered in most well-stocked supermarkets including Whole Foods as well as directly off Amazon.
When it comes to vegan M&Ms, no one does it quite like Little Secrets. This chocolate company based in Boulder, CO, is all about dark chocolate treats and they are currently offering several vegan products including M&M copies called “Pieces.”
The following Little Secrets M&Ms are vegan:
Similar to Unreal, Little Secrets is available on Amazon, although they can be a bit harder to locate in stores.
Out of all the chocolates and candies No Whey offers, our favorite is easily the vegan Choco No No's. They are a great substitute for M&Ms and a great candy for people suffering from food allergies.
At the moment, No Whey only offers two types of these chocolates but they tend to offer seasonl products and they update their selection on a regular basis.
No Whey's Vegan M&Ms:
As a quick side note we want to add that No Whey also offers peanut free peanut butter cups which is one of their most loved products!
The easiest way to try the vegan No No's on your own is to order them off Amazon!
Is there any other chocolate candy that you’ve been craving since becoming vegan? Then check out our list of the world's best vegan chocolate brands and we promise you’ll find a plant-based option of your favorite chocolate.
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