M&M’s come with an alternative vegan option for vegan chocolate lovers

Mars, the company that produces M&Ms, has released a vegan alternative to the current dairy-filled popular chocolate.

Varsha Harnoor

Mars, the company that produces M&Ms, has released a vegan alternative to the current dairy-filled popular chocolate.

The infamous M&M chocolates, which have been around since 1941, are especially known for their colorful outer layer, and inner chocolate. This January 2023, Mars, the brand that makes M&Ms, launched their very first vegan M&Ms chocolate. These vegan M&Ms are made with a chocolate recipe that does not contain any animal products. They are also certified by the Vegan Society, a charity that clarifies veganism. This newfound option allows vegan chocolate lovers to finally taste and enjoy their favorite chocolate without giving up their values. 

“[As a vegan] I think it’s really important [because] I feel like I shouldn’t have to sacrifice part of my diet for something. I shouldn’t have to make a compromise so I think it’s really important that they are accommodating to my needs,” said Rishika Das (‘23). 

Regular M&M’s contain milk chocolate as well as traces of animal preservatives that vegan chocolate lovers generally would not be able to consume. Although Mars is one of the first brands to create an alternative, other companies could follow this pattern and release their own versions of vegan chocolate. The vegan chocolate market size is estimated to have surpassed 1975.2 million dollars by 2028. 

“I think this will increase the customer base and benefit the company. I think the pros are that [it leads] to a bigger market and attracts more people because it shows that the company cares for [the] diverse needs of the [consumers]. The cons [to this] is that it could be more costly and harder to implement a whole new type of candy,” said Janvi Mehta (‘24). 

Veganism has also become prominent in food categories through meat substitutes such as plant-based meat, or soy. Though there are vegan chocolate options, they are currently less popular among teenagers due to the change in taste and texture. With M&Ms now having this alternative, vegan chocolate lovers have a more accessible option, especially for teenagers and children who love to consume chocolate. 

“This kind of goes along with [the point that] other companies should also switch to vegan [products]. I think it promotes a lot of healthy lifestyle choices because teens [tend to] eat anything and everything so I think it, first of all, promotes health and lifestyle choices. There are teens that are vegan so it helps them feel included,” said Das.

In recent times, ethical concerns have also stemmed from the creation of chocolate made from dairy products. This new vegan option serves as a step towards cruelty-free chocolate created by a more popular brand.  The demand for cruelty-free products is increasing for food, health care, makeup products, and now chocolate.

“I have seen videos where they test products on animals in labs or they use their fur to make products and I feel like it’s just such an unnecessary way to get the product when you can do it through more humane ways…I also think animal preservatives shouldn’t really be necessary for making a product which is why it’s nice to see a brand making a vegan version of a very popular chocolate,” said Das.

There are concerns that are brought up regarding the creation of this new chocolate; the potential replacement of the existing chocolate with the new vegan one in stores or online websites. Consumers of the dairy M&M chocolate may not feel as though the implementation of the vegan version alongside the dairy one would be beneficial. 

“I honestly think some [consumers] would be discontent because in my experience I’ve seen that a lot of people disagree with the [vegan] diet and probably want to see more of their favorite products stocking up the shelves. [However] I don’t think people should have to accommodate or feel down that they can’t enjoy something that everyone is enjoying… it kind of ends up upsetting people,” said Das.

These chocolates also provide an alternative for those who have health issues or allergies to dairy products. The implementation of these vegan options allows the public to open their mind to popular companies creating non-dairy alternatives. 

“I think it would be beneficial for people who have different health concerns and allergies… [so they] have more options to eat chocolate. I think a pro is that if you’re lactose intolerant it would be helpful to have vegan chocolate… [even though]  it might have a different taste,” said Sagana Chattanathan (‘25).