Calling all vegan chocoholics! Dark chocolate is not only delicious, it is equally nutritious as well, but not many know this fact. It is also a mouthwatering treat for many — especially those on low-sugar or otherwise constricted diets. As a matter of fact, it is one of the best sweet choices for your health. As such, it is a very popular “dessert” in the health community. But, “Is Dark Chocolate Vegan?”
By definition, real dark chocolate, with high amounts of cocoa solids is usually vegan friendly. But the process of making dark chocolate does not always allow it to be vegan friendly. But, other kinds of dark chocolate — that stray from the pure dark-chocolate-making-process — are not necessarily vegan friendly.
Below we will look at the process by which dark chocolate is made, what makes it vegan or not so vegan-friendly, as well as cover some of the vegan basics. As long as the dark chocolate stays within these basic ingredients, it should always be vegan.
What Determines If Chocolate Is “Vegan”?
The making of dark chocolate is straightforward enough but what determines whether or not dark chocolate is actually vegan? Those who adhere to a strict vegan diet do not consume animal products of any kind: including meat and — more relevantly — dairy. The addition or exclusion of dairy is the primary factor in determining whether or not chocolate will be vegan friendly or not.
True Dark Or Not?
“Real” or “true” dark chocolate does not include any kind of dairy product — which is opposed to its “milk chocolate” counterpart, who’s name tells you all you need to know. So, if dark chocolate contains any dairy it is, deep down, really milk chocolate and therefore not vegan friendly.
Many dark chocolates put slight additions of dairy ingredients, usually milk in some form, into the chocolate: milk powder, cream, and butter being among them. The best thing you can do when purchasing dark chocolate is to just read the label. True dark chocolate usually only has a few ingredients and has no dairy additives.
You’re Sure It’s Dark?
A study done by the FDA revealed that even some of the dark chocolate brands that claimed to be completely dairy-free were found to have significant traces of dairy. As they recommend in the study, the two mains things you should do is to:
- Make sure the ingredient list does not sneakily add in anything like “may contain milk” and
- Contact the manufacturing company to see if the areas and lines that they use to make dark chocolate are shared with those areas that make milk chocolate — or any other product that uses dairy.
These are the only ways to be 100% sure that there is no dairy in your chocolate. This is even more important if an allergy is a reason for avoiding dairy products. So the verdict is that some dark chocolates are vegan, and some are not.
So, Can Vegans Eat It?
Yes, so long as it is pure dark chocolate, it should be fine for vegans to consume. One thing to keep in mind, though, is the percentage labels on the dark chocolate. All it means is the higher the percentage, the more cocoa — and usually less sugar — is in the chocolate. More cocoa means more pure, which is healthier and more “dark” in the true sense.
What Brands Of Dark Chocolate Are Vegan?
- The famous Lindt chocolate bars are notoriously purists in their dark chocolate creation. Ranging from 70% cocoa all the way up to even 100% cocoa, their dark chocolate bars are dairy free and nationally recognized as being among the best.
- The swiss made Alter Eco chocolate boasts its rich, dairy free dark chocolate — and even its milk chocolate comes from grass fed cows. With tasty options of hazelnut, carmel, almond, and even coconut chocolate, there’s a lot to choose from these organic manufacturers.
- Based in San Francisco, Dandelion Chocolate takes an artisan approach with their craft and have been recognized as having 100% vegan friendly chocolate options.
- Endangered Species chocolate has fully traceable ingredients who’s vegan-friendliness is backed by the Vegan Awareness Foundation — so it’s a safe bet that their chocolate is actually vegan friendly.
There are many other vegan-friendly dark chocolates too, these are only a couple. Chances are, your local grocery or health food store will have some quality, vegan dark chocolate that you can enjoy on your next shopping trip!