Is Chocolate Vegan?
If you are currently vegan or considering becoming vegan, you may wonder if you can continue to consume chocolate. The delicious and healthy snack is a staple in many peoples’ diets, so it is natural to have concerns about whether or not it can fit in with yours. Fortunately, there are many forms of chocolate, but it is, in its purest form a vegan product. You might have to cut out certain blends of chocolate treats, but it shouldn’t be too difficult.
What is Chocolate Made From?
Chocolate is made from the pods of the cocoa tree, which are a sort of bean, so the core ingredient is in fact vegan. However, many chocolate products, especially cheaper chocolate bars, are made by mixing the cocoa with other additives that often include milk. Any bar labeled as milk chocolate is not going to be vegan. Some dark chocolates even contain a little bit of milk, so it is important to read the ingredients to determine whether or not a bar is vegan.
The good news is that a lot of higher quality chocolates are completely vegan and dairy-free. Some chocolate manufacturers have even started making vegan milk chocolate bars by substituting almond, rice or soymilk for the regular milk usually contained in the bars. These are vegan alternatives for milk chocolate that are often higher quality and tastier than their cheaper dairy counterparts.
Not all vegan chocolate bars are advertised as such, as many have been using non-animal ingredients for a long time before veganism became more widespread. These are often just high-quality bars that don’t use milk for filler and never did, so they’ve always sold as standard chocolate bars. If you are uncertain whether or not a certain chocolate product complies with your vegan diet, you can always check the ingredient list.
Watch out for cheaper chocolates as they are more likely to contain milk as a filler and will have a lower chocolate content than those with a higher price tag. While some of these can still be tasty, they do not conform to the vegan diet.
What to Look For
If you are a vegan who enjoys chocolate, you will need to check the labels on your chocolate bars to ensure that you are getting the right product. Obviously, the words “milk chocolate” should be a clear sign to stay away, unless it is made with milk alternatives. However, some darker chocolates not labeled as milk chocolate might still have animal products.
If you see casein, lactose, or whey in the ingredients, steer clear. Those are all derived from milk and mean that the chocolate bar is not vegan. Any cholesterol percent over zero would also suggest that there are animal products in the bar.
Cocoa butter, despite its name, is perfectly safe for vegans as it is not a dairy-based butter. It is made from the cocoa bean and gives a delectable flavor. Just be sure to read through the ingredients and you’ll be well on your way to enjoying a great vegan treat!