Is Mars Suitable For Vegans? Can Vegans Eat It?

Mars is a chocolate manufactured by the Mars company along with other well-known chocolates such as M&Ms, Snickers, Dove, and Twix.

Due to its magnificent caramel flavor and soft middle layer, Mars has always been one of my all-time favorite chocolates. Sadly, I’ve stopped eating it as it isn’t vegan.

To better understand why Mars isn’t vegan, let’s first have a look at the ingredients.

Why Is Mars Not Suitable For Vegans

At first glance, milk and eggs are the primary animal-based ingredients that make Mars a bar of non-vegan chocolate. However, it is suitable for vegetarians, as most vegetarians eat dairy ingredients. 

Ingredients: Sugar, Glucose Syrup, Skimmed Milk Powder, Cocoa Butter, Cocoa Mass, Sunflower Oil, Milk FatLactose and Protein from Whey (from Milk)Whey Powder (from Milk), Palm Fat, Fat Reduced Cocoa, Barley Malt Extract, Emulsifier (Soya Lecithin), Salt, Egg White Powder, Milk Protein, Natural Vanilla Extract.

Mars is filled with animal-based ingredients and ingredients that may be considered vegan but that still pose a threat to the ecosystem. One such example is palm oil. 

But before we get to that, let’s figure out why sugar may not always be vegan. (I know this may sound confusing, but please bear with me)

Is There Such A Thing As Non-Vegan Sugar?

Several brands use bone char (ie: Oreos). Bone char is the carbonized bones of cattle and is used to filter and bleach sugar, so it looks clear and shiny.

However, bone char is only used to refine cane sugar, and even then, not every sugar supplier uses it. From what I understand, some countries in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand have banned the use of bone char. As a result, instead of using bone char, a lot of companies have replaced it with granular activated charcoal.

Also, keep in mind that this information is not available on product labels, therefore you need to contact companies to ask. Mars may contain sugar filtered with bone char but that is not guaranteed.

If you wish to avoid companies that may contain this type of sugar, you may look into other brands that rely on bone-char free sugar, beet sugar. organic sugar or natural sweeteners.

Typically, vegan brands have full knowledge of their supply chain (origin & process), so you’re better off buying chocolate bars or any other product from a brand that waves the vegan flag.

Mars Also Contains Palm Oil

palm oil

As we both know, the palm oil industry poses a great threat to the ecosystem.

The conventional farming of palm oil incites deforestation, which destroys rainforests and natural habitats. Consequently, several species lose their homes and end up dying because they can’t adapt.

Technically, palm fruit should be considered vegan. However, there’s so much demand for palm oil that it’s become an unhealthy practice. Several species are facing extinction, and that is all due to our greed. Because we want that delicious chocolate or food in a rather convenient way.

And the demand keeps growing as the population increases. If nothing is done to stop this insatiable demand — Orangutangs, Tigers, all those species will disappear.

As vegans, we should care, even though palm oil does come from a fruit.

Many Vegans Don’t Support Non-Vegan Companies.

Like I said, not many vegans fancy buying products from non-vegan companies. Especially if those companies are tied to the dairy or meat industry, and are known to carry out animal testing.

I mean, I can’t blame them. Why should I buy a vegan product from a company that will reinvest that profit into creating non-vegan products?

Well, not every vegan thinks the same. In fact, many share a different opinion, one that has been expressed by Gary Yourofsky in this video:

I guess it all comes down to your own personal views, and whether or not you believe these companies can change. “Ultimately, the consumer has the power.”

Perhaps Gary is right, given how the Mars company is launching vegan Galaxy bars.

Are There Vegan Alternatives?

There is one known vegan alternative to the Mars bar. Unfortunately, it is not available through Amazon, but I found it on actual vegan websites.

Twilight Candy Bar by Go Max Go

twilight candy bar


Ingredients: Organic rice syrup, cane sugar, organic unrefined cane sugar, palm kernel oil, palm oil, cocoa powder (natural and alkalized), soy protein concentrate, dextrose, natural vegan flavors, sunflower lecithin, salt, enzyme modified soy protein, agar, and guar gum.

Technically, this product is vegan.

However, it contains ingredients such as palm kernel oil and palm oil. Ingredients tied to the destruction of rainforests and the decimation of natural habitats.

Although the description of the product says this:

“…this bar is made with ethically sourced cocoa and palm oil (obtained from Brazil, with no potential harm to endangered species!), giving you peace of mind with every bite.”

Personally, I can’t tell if the product is certified by a known authority, therefore I cannot say whether that is true or not. Though it is still better than consuming non-vegan chocolate bars.

You Can Also Make Mars At Home

Alright, let’s assume you’re not happy with the Mars alternative I’ve presented.

In exchange, let me point you to a homemade Mars recipe that will make you happy. In total, it should take you 20 minutes to make a batch of 12 bars.

homemade mars bar

Eating chocolate is never healthy, but eating homemade chocolate will probably ease your mind and heart. The mars bar above is the result of a delicious recipe conjured by Arman. (I say conjured because it looks like magic)

Plus, there are no weird ingredients: coconut flour, cocoa powder, granulated sweetener of choice, almond butter, maple syrup, milk of choice, and chocolate chips of choice. 

You can grab his recipe for free here.

Summary: Mars Is Not Vegan

There are way too many animal-based and non-sustainable ingredients in a Mars bar.

What was once my favorite chocolate/caramel bar is no longer.

Despite that, I’m not sad. I know that great alternatives will eventually pop up, and I know excellent recipes exist. However, at the moment, the Mars bar is a no-no.

Thank you for reading this blog post!


Mars FAQs

Are Mars Bars Vegetarian?

Yes, Mars Bars are vegetarian, as most vegetarians are fine with consuming dairy products, unlike vegans who completely avoid eating animals and animal derivatives. 

Are Mars Bars Gluten-Free?

Unfortunately, Mars Bars contain barley malt extract, which is a grain with low gluten content, but enough to make people with celiac disease sick. Therefore, no, Mars bars are not gluten-free. 

Are Mars Bars Canadian?

Mars bars are not Canadian, as they first originated in England thanks to a gentleman named Forrest Mars, which was an American business and the founder of the Mars company. 

Are Mars Bars Nut Free?

While it may seem like Mars bars contain nuts, the fact is that they don’t contain any nuts, and are manufactured in a peanut-free facility. However, I would still be wary and look at the label to confirm whether or not the product itself is safe for people with nut allergies. 


This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you, if you purchase through these links. See my full disclosure here.

Our Recommendation For Vegans

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Alexandre Valente

Hey there! My name is Alex and I've been vegan for more than three years! I've set up this blog because I'm really passionate about veganism and living a more eco-conscious life. Hopefully, I can use this website as a channel to help you out on your own journey!

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