Are M&M’s Vegan?

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M&M’s are a beloved candy treat for many around the world, but are they suitable for a vegan diet?

In this article, we will be delving into the ingredients found in M&M’s to answer the question as to whether M&M’s are vegan-friendly. Let’s get started. 

What Are M&M’s?

Created in the United States in 1941, M&M’s are button-shaped candies that are recognizable by their range of bright colors as well as the lowercase “M” that can be found printed onto the side of the hard candy shell. 

Inside this shell, there is a deliciously semi-sweet chocolate filling. These particular styles of M&M’s would go on to become the “regular” type of M&M. 

There are now various kinds of M&M’s, such as Peanut M&M’s- in which the chocolate filling is replaced by a peanut coated in milk chocolate with that traditional hard candy shell-, Peanut Butter M&M’s, Crispy M&M’s and Dark Chocolate M&M’s just to name a few. 

Are M&M’s Vegan?

Sorry candy fans, but M&M’s are not vegan-friendly chocolate. This goes for all types of M&M’s due to the range of dairy ingredients that are used to make them. 

However, these aren’t the only ingredients that are not vegan-friendly, as M&M’s also contain ingredients such as food coloring, and processed sugar.

Let’s take a closer look at the exact ingredients that make M&M’s inappropriate for vegans.

Non-Vegan M&M Ingredients 

Milk And Derivatives Of Milk

Any and all milk products or derivatives of milk cannot be suitable for vegans, as they are supplied by cows. 

Despite regular dark chocolate being vegan-friendly, even the Dark Chocolate M&M’s feature a lot of milk and milk derivatives- such as milk fat, skim milk, and lactose- and so they are not vegan-friendly either. 


Seeing as sugar is generally derived from plants, it could be considered suitable for vegans. 

However, it is the processing element of various white sugars that changes this, as a lot of them are processed using animal bone char in order to obtain that bright white coloring. 

Whilst not all sugars are processed this way, it is difficult to find out one way or the other, which makes sugar a questionable ingredient in M&M’s. 

Red 40 Food Color

There are plenty of food colors used in the production of M&M’s- such as Yellow 5, Blue 2 Lake, and Yellow 6- but Red 40 is one that vegans tend to be particularly wary of as it is a color often associated with animal testing. 

Whilst there is no actual animal byproduct within this coloring, its method of production makes it unsuitable for those who avoid all manner of products that are related to animals, particularly those that could have caused an animal to suffer via harsh testing. 

Palm Fat

The same rules apply for palm fat as the Red 40 food coloring in that whilst there are no animal-derived products actually within the ingredient, its method of creation may have come about by animal suffering. 

Palm fat and palm oil is a controversial ingredient as it is often associated with deforestation and the destruction of wild animal habitats, such as those of tigers and orangutans. 

This in turn has led to a vast loss of animal life, and so many vegans consider it an ingredient that is not suitable. 

Final Thoughts

Unfortunately for chocolate and candy lovers, M&M’s are not vegan. This goes for all of the different kinds of M&M’s due to the ingredients that we have listed above. 

There is a chance that there will be vegan M&M options in the future, seeing as how veganism is becoming more and more popular across the world. 

M&M’s are produced by the global company Mars, so there is every possibility that a company that large is looking into ways to create vegan-suitable versions of their most popular products, such as M&M’s. 

For now, though, you’ll just have to stick with alternative, vegan-friendly candy options rather than M&M’s if you are looking for a sweet vegan treat.

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