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Parents want to give their kids a better life than they had, which is why Ryan Howard, whose son had been vegan since birth, just had to do something about the marshmallow. He wasn’t going to deny his boy one of life’s great pleasures—eating gooey s’mores around the campfire—but he also couldn’t in good conscience give him commercially made marshmallows heavily reliant on animal-based gelatin.

So, in 2008, Howard, a food process engineer by trade, set to work with his Chicago Vegan Foods partner (and longtime friend), Dan Ziegler, to take on the marshmallow and Dandies—a vegan marshmallow with all the squish of the original—were born. Even better? Howard and Ziegler managed to exclude high fructose corn syrup (and all the pesky GMOs that typically tag along with it) too. A year later, Dandies were winning all sorts of awards at Natural Products Expo West and vegans officially had the cruelty-free marshmallows of their dreams.

Even for us non-vegans, Dandies are indistinguishable from the classic—and that’s exactly what Howard and Ziegler were after—though it took several years and extensive upgrades to the animal product-free facility to achieve exactly the right marshmallow size and consistency. Their perseverance paid off. Dandies more than pass muster in rice crispy treats, hot chocolate, sweet potato casseroles and the s’mores that started it all. Although, let’s be honest, they’re also pretty darn delicious snacked on straight from the bag.

Free of gluten and most other common allergens, Dandies make buying marshmallows for a mixed crowd easy peasy. Now no one has to sit out the next chubby bunny game.

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