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INDIANAPOLIS — Eating vegan has gone up dramatically in the past decade, especially in the past 5 years.  One in 3 Americans now considers it as an option, even if they don’t fully do it as a lifestyle. 

One of the problems with going vegan has been the expense and the availability of products, but that’s changing.  And now it’s not just food staples but more fun foods like marshmallows for example, which is a fall favorite when making s’mores.

“It’s just been pure love from everyone at tradeshows, emails, people who haven’t had marshmallows in a long time. People say our marshmallows taste better than conventional marshmallows,” said Ryan Howard, president of Dandies.

So what’s different about these marshmallow treats?  They are 100% vegan says Howard who’s from central Indiana.

“I’m a local town boy.  I grew up on the north side, Broad Ripple, Washington Township and went to Purdue University.  I can remember back in the ’90s in Indianapolis, if you wanted to eat vegan it was iceberg lettuce and brown soymilk,” joked Howard.

His passion for affordable vegan products came from his time in central Indiana when there wasn’t much to choose from.  Howard told FOX59, conventional marshmallows use gelatin, a byproduct of the animal industry.  He says their vegan marshmallows use tapioca and no fat.  But like a lot of vegan products, they are not cheaper than the alternative.  Having said that, if you want vegan, they are getting much more affordable.

“I think if you try to make them yourself, you’re going to end up spending around $10, so that will cost you time and money.  If you buy a Dandies, you’re probably going to spend between $3.99 and $4.29,” said Howard. 

So where do you get them locally, if you choose?  You can buy the vegan marshmallows at Meijer, Good Earth Natural Foods in Broad Ripple, Whole Foods Market and Fresh Thyme as some examples.  

And there are other places to get the marshmallows.  Just type in your location on the search function of their Dandies website to tell you where to shop.