Is Dark Chocolate Vegan?

Is Dark Chocolate Vegan?

Most people know that dark chocolate is not vegan since it contains milk, which is an animal product. However, the question of whether dark chocolate is vegan is more complicated. 

While much of the dark chocolate you’ll find in stores is vegan-friendly, it’s not always the case that dark chocolate is suitable for vegans. 

Read on to find out whether dark chocolate is vegan, when it might not be, and how you can tell whether a specific dark chocolate product is vegan-friendly or not.

We’ll also be recommending some of our favorite vegan dark chocolate brands!

Is Dark Chocolate Vegan? 

Vegans will be pleased to know that for the most part, dark chocolate is vegan. That’s because the majority of dark chocolate bars you’ll find in stores are made from a similar combination of ingredients: cocoa powder, cocoa solids, cocoa butter, and sugar.

Since there is no milk or dairy butter on this ingredients list, it seems totally vegan-friendly. If you see a dark chocolate product labeled as over 70% dark chocolate, this is a good indication that it’s likely to be vegan. 

However, things can get confusing when it comes to the type of sugar used in dark chocolate and the potential for trace contamination with dairy products. 

Why Might Dark Chocolate Not Be Vegan?

Some dark chocolate might not be vegan due to the kind of sugar used in the recipe. 

Refined sugar can contain bone char, which is a product made from cattle bones. Since bone char is an animal byproduct, dark chocolate made with refined sugar may not be suitable for vegans. 

Unfortunately, most manufacturers won’t specify what kind of sugar is used in the production of their chocolate.

This means that without the vegan label on the packaging, it can be difficult to tell whether dark chocolate is completely free from animal byproducts or not. 

Additionally, there’s always a risk of cross-contamination in factory settings that also handle milk and other dairy products.

Many vegans don’t consider the ‘may contain traces of milk’ warning to mean that dark chocolate isn’t vegan since the ingredient isn’t included in the recipe itself. Plus, the warning is intended primarily for allergy sufferers.

With that being said, for some vegans, the idea of traces of dairy being present in an otherwise vegan-friendly product is enough to deter them from buying it. 

Whether you consider potential traces of dairy to make a product non-vegan or not is a personal decision, but it’s worth thinking about.

How To Tell If Dark Chocolate Is Vegan 

The best way to make sure that a specific dark chocolate product is vegan is to look for the vegan label or symbol on the packaging.

There are a few variations of this symbol. It might be a simple ‘V’ enclosed in a circle, or a green ‘V’ with a leaf on one end.

Another version is the word ‘Vegan’ beginning with the ‘V’ we just described, which has a circle around it. 

If you don’t see any version of the vegan symbol, read the label. The words ‘suitable for vegetarians and vegans’ may be used instead of a symbol. 

Is Dark Chocolate Vegan?

Now, if you can’t see either a symbol or a clear written confirmation that a dark chocolate product is vegan, you have a few options. You can read the ingredients list and check for the absence of any dairy-derived ingredients. 

If you’re worried about the sugar in dark chocolate being refined with bone char, you may be able to contact the manufacturer and ask for more detail about the production process.

If you don’t have time to wait for a response, we recommend looking for sugar-free dark chocolate. It will be more bitter, but at least you’ll be 100% sure it’s vegan. 

Vegan Dark Chocolate Brands 

Following the steps outlined above will help you to determine whether individual dark chocolate products are vegan-friendly. However, taking the time to read labels in detail can be time-consuming and impractical. 

That’s why we recommend familiarizing yourself with which dark chocolate brands are vegan. This will save you time at the grocery store and make you feel more secure in your choice. 

Here are some of our favorite vegan dark chocolate brands*: 

  • Raw Chocolate Company (All dark chocolate products)
  • Charm School Chocolate (All dark chocolate products)
  • Manifest Chocolates (All dark chocolate products)
  • Raaka (All dark chocolate products)
  • Dear Coco (All dark chocolate products)
  • Rescue Chocolate (All dark chocolate products)
  • Lulu’s Chocolate (All dark chocolate products)
  • Missionary Chocolates (All dark chocolate products)
  • Trader Joe’s (Dark Chocolate)
  • Green & Blacks (Organic Dark Chocolate)
  • Hu (Almond Butter and Puffed Quinoa Dark Chocolate)
  • Edge (78% Cocoa Dark Chocolate)
  • Alter Eco (Super Blackout Organic Chocolate)
  • Endangered Species Chocolate (Strong and Velvety Dark Chocolate)
  • Montezuma (Absolute Black Dark Chocolate with Almond and Sea Salt)

*This is not an exhaustive list 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Are Dark Chocolate KitKats Vegan?

Dark chocolate KitKats are not currently vegan because there are milk-derived ingredients in the recipe. However, a vegan KitKat is undergoing test runs in several countries at the moment. 

Are Oreos Vegan?

Oreos are dark chocolate cookies with a creme filling in the center. Oreos may come into contact with milk during the production process but they are otherwise suitable for vegans.

Is Dark Chocolate Healthier?

If you are vegan for the health benefits, you might wonder whether dark chocolate ties in with your health-conscious lifestyle.

While dark chocolate often contains sugar, it’s a healthier alternative to milk or white chocolate because it’s lower in sugar and saturated fat. It’s also rich in antioxidants. 

Final Thoughts 

Most of the time, dark chocolate made with over 70% cocoa is vegan-friendly. However, if it contains refined sugar, it may have been produced using the animal byproduct, bone char.

Dark chocolate might also come into contact with dairy during production. 

We recommend memorizing some vegan-friendly dark chocolate brands and checking dark chocolate packaging for the vegan label if you want to be sure that it’s vegan. Look out for the word ‘milk’ in bold on any labels, too. 

Brandon White
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