Ah, chocolate. With its multitude of good qualities, it’s no wonder that one of the first questions asked by those thinking about an animal-friendly lifestyle is “wait a minute, can vegans eat chocolate?”
The answer is a resounding YES!
It just takes keeping a few simple guidelines in mind. But first…
A Quick Overview
While the world of chocolate is rich and vast, most chocolates fall into one of three categories:
- Dark Chocolate: Possessing a high percentage of cocoa, dark chocolate is a deep, sophisticated experience. It is also the healthiest and most vegan-friendly option out there, thanks to its high concentration of antioxidants, low sugar, and lack of dairy.
- Milk Chocolate: Milk chocolate is the combination of cocoa solids, milk products, and sugar. Unless there is specific wording on the package stating that plant-based milk is used, this chocolate option is rarely vegan-friendly. Here are some options to consider.
- White Chocolate: Despite its name, “white chocolate” isn’t technically a “chocolate” at all since it doesn’t contain cocoa solids. White chocolate sometimes includes dairy products, so be sure to check the label.
In general, those choosing a vegan lifestyle should reach for dark chocolate. However, do scan the ingredient list – to check for inclusions, such as caramel, toffees, and the like that may include dairy.
Read Those Labels
Dairy products can sneak in under all kinds of clever names. In addition to looking for “milk,” vegans should choose another chocolate if these words appear in the ingredient list:
- Whey, casein, or lactose – these are all milk derivatives.
- “Contains milk” included in the allergen statement
- Cholesterol level greater than 0%, since cholesterol is only found in animal products.
Look for chocolates with a short ingredients list; this indicates a healthier and higher-quality product. Some chocolate brands make it easy to spot their vegan selections by including the Certified Vegan logo.
This chocolate label carries the Certified Vegan logo; therefore, this treat does not contain dairy as an ingredient and is super suitable for vegans. Those with dairy allergies need to go a step further and check the allergen statement. The bar pictured is produced on equipment that also processes milk (that explains the Kosher-dairy, U-D, symbol that appears alongside the Vegan logo).
Kindness is Sweet
There is, without question, a place for chocolate in a plant-based lifestyle. With so many delicious dairy-free options available in practically every chocolate aisle around, going vegan doesn’t mean forgoing the fun of indulging in a chocolate bar.
What’s your favorite vegan chocolate? Any other tips for chocolate-lovers new to veganism? Let me hear about it in the comments.