Published On: August 13, 2021Categories: Chocolate

Chocolate is one of the world’s most popular treats. However, despite its global appeal, there remains a fair bit of confusion about its ingredients, manufacturing process, nutritional value, health benefits and more.

For people with certain food restrictions (such as lactose intolerance) or strong ethical and moral considerations (such as veganism), the uncertainty surrounding the nature of chocolate and its milk content can affect their food choices.

To help clear up any outstanding confusion, we put together this short guide to help people get straight answers to simple questions, such as “is dark chocolate dairy free?”

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Chocolate Products, Explained

DARK CHOCOLATE

Most dark chocolate products, ranging from candy bars to bulk chocolate, are dairy-free. How?

Dark chocolates are made using only cacao bean derivatives, including cocoa solids, cocoa butter and added sugar. Because cocoa butter is derived from the fat in cacao beans, this means there are no dairy ingredients involved.

This makes dark chocolate (and the vegan chocolate from Pure Lovin’ Chocolate) a naturally dairy-free product.

MILK CHOCOLATE & WHITE CHOCOLATE

Pure chocolate, also known as baking chocolate, is the base ingredient for other chocolate products, such as milk chocolate and white chocolate.

As the name makes clear, milk chocolate is made using milk powder or other dairy products, which helps develop a creamy texture. So, these products are obviously off the list for vegans, or those with dairy-related dietary restrictions.

White chocolate – if it is even chocolate (see our white chocolate blog for more on this issue) is normally made using refined sugar, cocoa butter, milk fat or milk solids, vanilla, and soy lecithin. This makes it also a no-no for vegans.

That said, there are now a number of vegan chocolate products that use plant-based milk alternatives, such as coconut milk, soy milk or other ingredients to simulate the effects of dairy. Keep your eyes open for those delicious treats! But as always, before trying any of these products, read the product label and allergen statement carefully to make sure they don’t contain anything you want to avoid.

Dairy-Free Dark Chocolate Products: What Can I Learn from the Labels?

If you pay close attention to the wording on product labels, you may notice that some manufacturers warn consumers about potential cross-contamination on their labels. For example, you may see something to the effect of “may contain traces of milk or dairy,” or “processed in a facility containing dairy products,” even from vegan chocolatiers.

However, what this signifies for vegan dark chocolates is that, while the product is almost certainly dairy-free, because the dark chocolate was produced in the same factory that produced milk chocolate, there is a chance (albeit an extremely small one) of cross-contamination.

Because of this (and for legal reasons) some vegan chocolate brands (like Pure Lovin’ Chocolate) feel obligated to abandon the term “dairy-free,” even if the product is vegan and almost certainly doesn’t have any dairy products in it.

In the end, a brand you can trust is one that is always honest and forthright with their customers. So while seeing a cross-contamination warning may give vegan dark chocolate lovers pause, there is often nothing to worry about.

To be absolutely certain, the best thing concerned consumers can do is contact the manufacturer directly and ask specific questions about how the products are made and how their facility prevents cross contamination from shared equipment. If they can provide satisfactory answers, that’s a sign their products are trustworthy.

Pure Lovin’ Chocolate – Your Online Source for Vegan Chocolates

At Pure Lovin’ Chocolates, we create organic, fair trade vegan chocolate options that are handmade with love! Contact us to learn more about our vegan-friendly dark chocolate products or anything else on our menu.

We also offer custom orders for corporate events, weddings, birthdays and other special occasions. We look forward to hearing from you!

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