Published On: January 15, 2021Categories: Chocolate

Chocolate is plant-based, so it must be vegan, right? Well, it’s not quite so simple.

Although some chocolate products, like many kinds of dark chocolate, are de facto vegan chocolate because they sidestep additives made from animal products, simply because something is made from organic chocolate does not make it vegan.

The issues arise when plant-based cocoa solids go through the various stages of transformation required to make chocolate products. While some turn out as chocolate chips with few additives, others, like chocolate bars, can have anything from milk fat to peanut butter or honey thrown in, so be sure to check product labels before taking a bite.

To find out which kinds of chocolate are safe for vegans, let’s take a look at some of the main groups of chocolate products.

Categories of Chocolate Products

In convenience stores across the country, you can find a wide variety of chocolate bars on display. If you take the time to examine the ingredient list on many of these products, you will find all sorts of things that are not chocolate, which makes many people wonder which chocolate brands they can trust.

To figure out which kinds of chocolate are vegan-friendly, it’s worth looking into how different types of chocolate are made.

WHITE CHOCOLATE

Like any recipe, there are lots of potential variations out there, but white chocolates are usually made using a blend of sugar, cocoa butter, milk products, vanilla and soy lecithin.

As you may have noticed, chocolate solids are not found in this ingredient list, which is why some people argue that white chocolate isn’t part of the family of chocolates. In the end, this debate largely comes down to a question of semantics because the rules surrounding chocolate marketing and labelling vary from place to place. In general, white chocolate uses the same base ingredient – cocoa – as other chocolates, so it has a place in the chocolate family tree.

“Regular” white chocolate is never vegan chocolate because it contains milk ingredients, although there are some vegan versions out there.

MILK CHOCOLATE

As the most popular form of chocolate in many places, milk chocolate products can be found almost anywhere. The three primary ingredients in any milk chocolates are cocoa, sugar and some form of dairy milk derivative, like powdered or condensed milk.

Because it contains milk by definition, you can cross milk chocolates off your list of vegan chocolates. Although some companies have created vegan, dairy-free “milk” chocolate by using plant alternatives, like almond milk or rice milk, they are few and far between.

DARK CHOCOLATE

For vegans, high-quality dark chocolates are your best bet. Why? Because the ingredients list on the best dark chocolates are short, easy to understand and (usually) free of animal ingredients.

Instead of using dairy products for their fat content, dark chocolates are primarily made using cocoa butter. However, some kinds of dark chocolate still use a small quantity of milk solids so it’s worth checking the ingredients list the next time you come across a dark chocolate bar to make sure it is, in fact, dairy free.

SEMISWEET, BITTERSWEET AND UNSWEETENED CHOCOLATE

These kinds of chocolate are the base for many chocolate products and all sorts of delicious baked goods. They are all made mostly from raw cacao, which is usually clearly indicated on the product label.

Bittersweet chocolate contains roughly 70% cacao, and can be used interchangeably with semisweet, even if it does have a slightly higher cacao concentration.

Semisweet chocolate has about 60% cacao content. You are most likely to find it in the form of semi-sweet chocolate chips, which are usually featured prominently in grocery store baking aisles because classic recipes for chocolate chip cookies almost always call for this kind of chocolate.

Unsweetened chocolate is chocolate in completely raw form, so it is bitter and has a chalky, crumbly texture. This kind of chocolate should be reserved for recipes that include some sort of sweetener.

Which Chocolates are Vegan?

When it comes to diet, everyone has their own approach.

For most people, something is considered vegan if it is free from animal products. But easily identifying vegan products, especially vegan chocolate, can become a complicated process.

For some people, the definition of animal products and byproducts remains a matter of debate, so it comes down to each individual to decide if the ingredients of chocolate products conform to their ethics. But, in general, the best dairy-free chocolate option on the market is dark chocolate.

WHY DARK CHOCOLATES?

In general, the darker the chocolate, the more likely it is to be vegan. Although not guaranteed, almost all high-quality dark chocolates stick to a short list of easily identifiable ingredients, which is why it is easier to verify for vegans.

Where Can I Get Vegan Dark Chocolate?

Finding high-quality vegan chocolate might be a challenge at your local grocery store, but it’s only a few clicks away when you shop online. And the world of vegan chocolate isn’t limited to dark chocolate! Check out this vegan chocolate flavour guide to see all the delicious offerings Pure Lovin’ Chocolate has to offer.
To enquire about a vegan chocolate custom order or for more information about any of our vegan chocolate options, contact us, or visit our online shop today!

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