Can vegans eat m&ms?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “Can vegans eat m&ms?” and will discuss other vegan alternatives for m&ms.

Can vegans eat m&ms?

No, vegans can’t eat m&ms. There are presently no vegan M&M tastes available, including peanut, dark chocolate, or mint. The main offender here is milk! Dairy must be avoided if one wants to be vegan. Those who adhere to this concept abstain from all types of milk and milk-derived goods. M&Ms contain a significant amount of milk, which is a sad fact.

Vegan chocolate is a niche market experiencing rapid growth. It comprises 40% market share of the total vegan confectionery market and is currently valued at $1 billion U.S. The expected compound annual growth rate is 12% from 2020 to 2027, outpacing the traditional chocolate market, which has a predicted 4.6% annual growth rate in the same timeframe (1).

Why are M&Ms not vegan?

These delectable, multi-colored, button-shaped chocolates beg to be devoured, don’t they? M&Ms have a long history dating back more than 80 years, and they can be found practically everywhere. This well-known candy has the letter “m” printed on one side and comes in a variety of flavors.

Tragically, none of them are plant-based eaters. In addition, the fact that they include components derived from milk explains it all. That means they’re not dairy-free either, and most people with lactose intolerance can’t eat them.

However, it is not vegan because of the presence of milk. In reality, several additional components prevent these products from being vegan-friendly. The following are the components that go into making M&M’s Milk Chocolate, which should help clarify things.

·        Milk chocolate: sugar, chocolate, skim milk (milk from which sufficient fat has been removed to reduce the milkfat content to less than 0.5%), cocoa butter (the fat obtained by pressing chocolate liquor, obtained from roasted cocoa nibs, to yield cocoa butter and presscake), lactose (disaccharide carbohydrate that occurs in mammalian milk except that of the whale and the hippopotamus. It is principally obtained as a cows’ milk derivative), milkfat (the fat of milk which exists in milk as an emulsion of small fat globules in an aqueous phase), soy lecithin (an emulsifier that is a mixture of phosphatides which are typically surface-active), salt (a seasoning and preservative whose chemical composition is sodium chloride, about 40% sodium and 60% chlorine by weight, natural flavor (natural flavors are flavor constituents derived from plant or animal sources)(2).

 Dark chocolate with a milk chocolate taste (sugar, chocolate, milk fat, skim milk, lactose, cocoa butter, salt, soy lecithin, artificial flavor)

·         Sugar: It is obtained as cane or beet sugar (2). 

·         Syrup from the corn: A corn sweetener that is a viscous liquid containing maltose, dextrin, dextrose, and other polysaccharides. It is obtained from the incomplete hydrolysis of cornstarch (2).

·         Cornstarch: The starch made from the endosperm of corn, containing amylose and amylopectin starch molecules. When starch is heated in water it forms a viscous, opaque paste. The paste forms semi solid gels upon cooling and has the ability to form strong adhesive films when spread and dried (2).

·         Dextrin: A partially hydrolyzed starch formed from the treatment of starch by dry heat, acid, or enzymes. It can be formed from amylose and amylopectin-type starches (2).

. Carnauba Wax: A general purpose food additive that is a hard and brittle wax. It is obtained from the leaf buds and leaves of the Brazilian wax palm Copernicia cerifera (2).

. Gum Acacia:A gum obtained from breaks or wounds in the bark of Acacia trees. It is used in confectionary glazes to retard or prevent sugar crystallization and acts as an emulsifier to prevent fat from forming an oxidizable, greasy film (2).

·         Gingko californium:

·         Colorings (Red 40, Blue 1 Lake, Blue 1, Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Red 40 Lake, Blue 2 Lake, Yellow 6 Lake, Blue 2)

After reading this, you may conclude that the major reason M&Ms aren’t vegan is that they include dairy. Other components, such as the food coloring, render these products non-vegan as well.

Colors such as Yellow 6 and Red 40, for example, don’t often include chemicals originating from animals. However, you’ll be shocked to learn that they put animals through a lot of testing. Animal studies of behavioral effects of food dyes can be divided into two classes: those in which the effects of dye ingestion are assessed by multiple behavioral and physical measurements and studies in which effects of the dye on a specific behavior or behavioral “model” are examined (3).

Vegan M&Ms Substitutes

Even though it’s disappointing to find that vegans can’t eat M&Ms, there’s still hope! That’s because you’ll be able to fulfill your M&M appetite with vegan alternatives. There are three vegan versions of M&M’s listed here. Additionally, you can readily find them on Amazon.


If you want to stop craving M&Ms, give this chocolate firm a try. UNREAL’s chocolates aren’t completely vegan, of course. However, the company’s major focus is on chocolates that are suitable for vegans. Due to the current vegan M&Ms being named Gems, there are two UNREAL flavors: Dark Chocolate Crispy and Dark Chocolate Peanut.

In such a short period, the company’s name has become well-known. Well-stocked stores like Whole Foods carry them now. Additionally, you may get them on Amazon. 

Little Secrets 

When you think of vegan M&Ms, you may also think of Little Secrets! This chocolate firm, based in Colorado, specializes in dark chocolate confections. They now provide a wide range of vegan options. Pieces are the brand name for their M&M clones.

In addition to Sea Salted Peanut and Sea Salted Almond flavor, vegan M&M candies made by Little Secret are available in dark chocolate and peppermint pieces as a special holiday edition.

Little Secrets, like UNREAL, is sold through Amazon and is the best location to get it. The reason for this is because they are a bit hard to come by while shopping around for them. 

No whey food

A third alternative to M&Ms is No Whey, a chocolate manufacturer. It’s a vegan-only company with a wide selection of chocolates. Tree nuts and peanuts are not used in any of the recipes since they are allergens (4). 

One of the various kinds of sweets and chocolates that they make is vegan Choco No No’s. These are excellent M&M replacements. As a bonus, they’re safe for those with food allergies, too.

For the time being, the firm exclusively sells Chocolate No No’s and Peppermint No No’s as vegan chocolates. They do, however, have seasonal items and are constantly upgrading their collection. You’ll be happy to know that the company makes peanut butter cups without peanuts as well! One of their best-tasting items without a doubt.

Ordering straight from Amazon is the best method to discover vegan No No’s.

Those are your three options for enjoying M&Ms without compromising your vegan lifestyle. Smarties, Oreos, Jujubes, Airheads, and Swedish Fish are just a few of the many vegan-friendly sweets and delicacies you may test out. Be cautious to check the labels on these tasty delicacies, even if they are made by vegan companies.

Other FAQs about Vegans that you may be interested in.

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In this brief guide, we answered the query, “Can vegans eat m&ms?” and discussed other vegan alternatives for m&ms.


  1. Chilson, Shane. The Effects of Varying Types and Amounts of Ingredients in Vegan, Gluten-Free Fudge. 2021. Fontbonne University.
  2. Igoe, Robert S. Dictionary of food ingredients. Springer Science & Business Media, 2011.
  3. Silbergeld, and Anderson. Artificial food colors and childhood behavior disorders. Bull New York Acad Med, 1982, 58, 275.
  4. Al-Muhsen, Saleh, Ann E. Clarke, and Rhoda S. Kagan. Peanut allergy: an overview. Cmaj, 2003, 168, 1279-1285.