The Reason M&M's Aren't Considered Vegan

Whether a person is vegan or lactose intolerant, they won't be able to enjoy M&M's. Like other similar chocolate items, M&M's are made with a blend of whole milk, cocoa butter, sugar, and chocolate liquor (via How Products are Made).

Its parent company, which is now just Mars, still manufactures many other popular chocolates that contain milk, such as Twix and Snickers. Hershey's, which is known and loved for its assortment of milk chocolate products, also used to contribute chocolate to M&M's. Therefore, the fact that M&M's contain milk should not be much of a surprise to those who are dairy-free.

Furthermore, milk chocolate is always made with milk, as implied by its name. This differs from other products, such as wine and marshmallow creme, which are surprisingly not vegan.

However, it turns out that M&M's may not even fit the "vegetarian" label, according to a PR representative. Here's why.

Why M&M's aren't vegetarian

Though it is completely understandable that M&M's contain milk, what other animal products could they possibly contain? According to Taste of Home, the beloved candy can't be considered vegetarian-friendly due to the varying definitions that label encapsulates.

An M&M's PR representative told Taste of Home that "We know the definition of vegetarianism can vary for many and given that many of our products possess dairy—or an animal by-product—we typically classify them as not being vegan or vegetarian friendly."

Veg Knowledge states that M&M's created in the United Kingdom contain beeswax, which is an animal byproduct and is therefore not vegan. However, they also are made of carmine, which is essentially how they get their bright color. Those with faint stomachs beware, but carmine is produced by crushing up the bodies of female cochineal insects, according to Ethical Elephant. Therefore, M&M's are understandably not vegetarian, at least in the U.K.