Is Dark Chocolate Vegan? Usually, But Not Always!

is dark chocolate vegan

If you are new to the vegan diet, you will have probably questioned whether dark chocolate is vegan-friendly. Dark chocolate is made from cocoa beans, harvested from cocoa trees. Therefore, it easy to assume it passes the vegan test but that may not always be the case.

In this article, we answer the question: “Is dark chocolate vegan?”

What’s in Dark Chocolate?

is chocolate vegan

The process of making chocolate is what determines if the final product is vegan-friendly or not.

The basic principle of making chocolate is the same regardless of the cocoa bean species. With the help of factory machinery, the cocoa beans are made into chocolate. Depending on the bean species there will be a few varying details during the production process.

Dark chocolate is naturally a plant-based treat. It is made from cocoa beans that come from cocoa trees.

Unlike other chocolates, i.e. milk and white chocolate, dark chocolate constitutes a high percentage of cocoa. It is also usually devoid of products such as toffees, caramel, and milk typically found in other types of chocolates.

For dark chocolate to qualify as vegan, there should be no animal products in the ingredients list. The usual ingredients found in dark chocolate are cocoa butter, sugar, vanilla, cocoa, and, occasionally, soy lecithin.

However, every now and then, manufacturers will add fillers such as artificial flavoring and food starch. The addition of these products makes that particular chocolate non-vegan friendly.

The higher the cocoa percentage the purer the dark chocolate. If you are vegan, it is important to review the ingredients list on the dark chocolate you intend to consume. This is because some dark chocolate may contain milk derivatives such as casein, milk fat, and whey.

If you are vegan, look out for dark chocolate containing any milk derivatives and cholesterol. Both of these products come from animals. Also, if the package has the statement “contains milk” as an allergen disclaimer it would be wise to avoid it.

Is it Vegan or Not?

Here comes the good news:

Yes, dark chocolate is (generally) vegan.

However, because not all dark chocolates are made equally, always verify the ingredient label. This will ensure that you do not consume chocolate that contains milk or animal-derived fillers.

There are several different types and degrees of veganism, each with varying dietary preferences. Checking the ingredients list will help you identify which dark chocolate is ideal for your dietary preference.

Additionally, there are a few chocolate brands that have a Certified Vegan Logo. The presence of the logo on a bar of chocolate means that it is suitable for vegans and vegetarians. It is also a confirmation that the chocolate does not contain any form of dairy in its ingredients.

Vegan-Friendly Dark Chocolate

The good news for chocolate-loving vegans is there are several brands that make delectable dark chocolate suitable for a vegan diet.

Lake Champlain Chocolate, for example, makes high-quality dark chocolate by using ethically sourced non-GMO ingredients. Their dark chocolate treats would effortlessly pass the vegan test.

Other vegan dark chocolates you can consider include, Newman’s Own, Fanny May, Green & Black’s and Trader Joe’s. All these brands have organic dark chocolate suitable for vegans.


Marion is a Kenya-based freelance writer who covers a wide range of topics from politics and business to health and nutrition.

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