Most people associate chocolate with milk, but is dark chocolate vegan and vegetarian?
It’s entirely possible to make vegan dark chocolate, but most of the popular chocolate brands still use milk. The easiest way to determine what dark chocolate is vegan is to look for a vegan label on the front. Few dark chocolates are vegan, so almost all of them are labeled on the front.
Some dark chocolates are vegan, and much better than the regular kinds. Just think about this, what sounds more delicious, almond milk, or cow’s milk? I would definitely prefer almond milk in my dark chocolate bar. You should definitely try that too.
This article covers some of the most popular dark chocolate brands, and which of them are vegan. You’ll also find my favorite vegan dark chocolate.
Is Dark Chocolate Vegan
Chocolate, both regular and dark chocolate, is usually associated with animal products. That makes sense as most chocolate contains large amounts of dairy. Especially milk chocolate and white chocolate has quite a lot of dairy.
That’s really no surprise considering the name and flavor. Milk chocolate has the word milk in it, while white chocolate even looks like a dairy product. That being said, chocolate can be entirely vegan, and without any dairy.
It’s even possible to make vegan chocolate that mimics milk chocolate. However, especially dark chocolate is easy to find as a vegan. Although, most of them have some kind of dairy product.
Most dark chocolate is not vegan as it contains milk fat, milk, natural flavor, and other ingredients. It should be noted that natural flavor can be vegan, but far from always. So this means that vegans should be aware that most dark chocolate is not vegan.
How To Identify Vegan Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is generally not vegan, meaning the vegan kinds are fairly rare. It also means that most brands that make vegan dark chocolate are either mostly or entirely plant-based. Almost all plant-based dark chocolate has a vegan label for that reason.
So identifying vegan dark chocolate from the non-vegan kinds is actually fairly easy. Most of them are made entirely for the vegan audience, and so it marketed as such. Although, you should be aware of this.
Some dark chocolates may call themselves “plant-based”, or similar labels. That’s a good start but it’s not always synonymous with being vegan. The product may be mostly vegan but have trace amounts of animal products, which is not vegan.
So the safest way to find vegan chocolate is to only buy ones with vegan labels. The other, a little more boring, method is to read the ingredients. Avoid anything related to dairy, varies enzymes, and natural flavor(in most cases).
What Is Vegan Dark Chocolate Made Of
Chocolate like many other food items can be made in many different ways. Everything from ingredients to proportions can vary drastically from brand to brand. Especially dark chocolate, as there are so many brands doing their own unique recipes.
However, one brand that makes excellent simple vegan dark chocolate is Hu. They have many different flavors, many of which are amazing. It’s no surprise that these have different ingredients. Although, they do have their “simple dark chocolate”
That specific chocolate recipe is made with simple vegan ingredients, and is therefore a good indication as to what vegan dark chocolate is made of.
You can see the ingredients below, for both vegan and non-vegan dark chocolate.
Ingredients In Vegan Dark Chocolate
Ingredients: Organic cacao, unrefined organic coconut sugar, organic fair-trade cocoa butter.Hu Kitchen Simple Dark Chocolate
Normal Ingredients In Dark Chocolate
Ingredients: Sugar, Chocolate, Cocoa Butter, Milk Fat, Cocoa Processed with Alkali, Lecithin (Soy), Natural Flavor, MilkIngredients In Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate
What Makes Vegan Dark Chocolate Different
The ingredients lists above provide a good example of the difference between vegan dark chocolate and non-vegan. The main difference being that the vegan kind has replaced dairy products with plant-based milks.
The vegan kind relies heavily on the plant-based ingredients to do the job. One large difference is also the proportions. Ingredients lists are made so that the most dominant ingredients are placed in the beginning.
That’s because they can’t have exact proportions, in fear of copycats. Although, looking at the order gives us consumers plenty knowledge without exact numbers.
That being said, the most dominant ingredient in the vegan dark chocolate is organic cocoa, while the Hershey’s chocolate is sugar. I don’t know about you, but I think this proves something about the quality of the vegan option.
What Brands Of Dark Chocolate Are Vegan
Is Dove Dark Chocolate Vegan
Dove Chocolate is often eaten during special occasions, including Easter and valentines day. These are days where we come together and value each other. Although, one thing Dove dark chocolate does not value is animals.
Dove dark chocolate is not vegan as it contains milk fat, and natural flavor. Now, there’s no indication whether or not the natural flavor is vegan in this case. It’s an umbrella term that describes many different ingredients including non-vegan ones.
However, it doesn’t really matter in this case, as the milk fat makes it non-vegan. Thus they should not consume this dark chocolate, not even during Easter.
Ingredients In Dove Dark Chocolate
Ingredients: Semisweet Chocolate(Sugar,Chocolate Processed With Alkali, Cocoa Butter, Milkfat, Soy Lecithin, Artificial and Natural Flavors) -Contains Milk and Soy.
Is Lindt Dark Chocolate Vegan
The Lindt brand is synonymous with quality. They generally use high quality ingredients and make all sorts of dark chocolate. Different flavors, and cocoa percentages. In fact, I don’t think I have ever seen another dark chocolate bar with +90% cocoa.
The ingredients are actually mostly vegan. Some of their flavors contain non-vegan parts, but there are some where the ingredients are entirely vegan. The issue is that all of them have a disclaimer saying: “May contain hazelnuts, almonds, milk, soya“.
The issue here being the milk. Products often have trace amounts of animal products because they are produced in same factories as non-vegan items. The same is true for Lindt dark chocolate. So the ingredients are largely vegan, but there’s almost always some trace amounts of animal products.
Some vegans may think that trace amounts are fine, as it’s an indirect issue. While others would never buy anything with even trace amounts. So this one really depends on your particular stance.
Lindt Dark Chocolate 90% Ingredients
Excellence Mild 90% Ingredients: cocoa mass, cocoa butter, low fat cocoa powder, sugar, vanilla.
May contain hazelnuts, almonds, milk, soya.
Is Ghiradelli Dark Chocolate Vegan
Most chocolate brands have quite a few options and Ghiradelli is no exception. Not only do they have numerous added flavors, but also different kinds of dark chocolate. That being said, the ingredients for the dark chocolates are fairly similar.
One of their dark chocolates is named Cacao Midnight Reverie, which consists of 86% percent cocoa. That’s a good start as it leaves less space for non-vegan ingredients. Although, not only this one is vegan, it contains both milk and natural flavor.
Now, they have many different flavors and cocoa percentages. I looked through numerous ingredients lists trying to identify at least one vegan dark chocolate. Sadly, there was nothing to find as it seems everything contains milk.
Now, they may have vegan options available in your region. Ingredients tend to change from country to country, as these tend to have different tastes.
Ghiradelli Dark Chocolate Ingredients
Other Ingredients: Bittersweet chocolate (unsweetened chocolate, cocoa butter, sugar, milk fat, soy lecithin – an emulsifier), vanilla and natural flavor
Is World’s Finest Dark Chocolate Vegan
You may know this brand of chocolate from varies organizations and people trying to raise money. That’s because this brand is specifically made for the purpose of fundraising. Now, that seems like a generally vegan company for this reason alone. Although, that’s not entirely the case.
Worlds Finest Chocolate has at least 5 different chocolate bars, which are the following:
- Milk Chocolate
- Dark Chocolate
Sadly enough, none of these products are vegan, including the dark chocolate. Mainly because all of them contain milk powder, which is not vegan. That’s especially sad because it means you can’t be vegan and support fundraisers with buying these. Keep in mind that you can always support fundraisers with direct donations instead.
|Whole Milk Powder
|Whole Milk Powder
|Whole Milk Powder, Condensed Milk, Palm oil
|Whole Milk Powder, Honey
So it seems that none of their bars are vegan. The dark chocolate flavor is not vegan either, although it’s actually the least problematic chocolate bar. It only has a small amount of milk powder, while the others have larger amounts and other non-vegan ingredients.
Ingredients In World Finest Dark Chocolate
Ingredients: Dark Chocolate(Sugar, Unsweetened Chocolate, Cocoa Powder, Soy Lecithin, [Emulsifier], Vanilla[Artificial Flavor], Milk Powder, Ground Almonds)
The main takeaways from this article is probably that dark chocolate can be vegan, but most are not. It’s not because vegan ingredients are inherently worse than the traditional kinds, it’s merely because milk is the norm.
To be honest, coconut milk would be a much better ingredient for any dark chocolate. Well, if you like coconut that is, something like almond milk would be just as good. However, this all means that you need to be selective about your dark chocolate.
Do a little research or simply look for brands with a vegan label. There’s a very big chance that any vegan chocolate bar will have a vegan label.
Hey, I’m Gus! I have been vegan for quite some years now, and have collected a lot of knowledge about the subject in this time. My goal with this blog is to spread the vegan message and make it easy to know exactly what’s vegan and what’s not.