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Myth Busting: Is Dark Chocolate Vegan?

By Cocoa Runners  ·  4th August 2021  ·  Veganism

Eating chocolate makes us happy, and the darker it is, the more serotonin (a.k.a the happiness chemical) is released. But can vegans reap the benefits? 

In a Nutshell

Yes! In fact, pure dark chocolate should only ever be made from cocoa beans and sugar, with the optional addition of cocoa butter (which, despite its name, is just the natural fat of the cocoa bean and so 100% plant-based). 

We are delighted that almost all of our dark chocolate bars are suitable for vegans – have a browse. A few of our chocolate makers do add sunflower or soy lecithin to their bars to reduce the viscosity, so keep an eye out if you are severely allergic to soy! 

However…

We do have a few exceptions within our Chocolate Library with two bars that go off the beaten track a bit. The natural Carmine dye that is sprayed onto Mucho’s Carmin’s bar with cochineal derives from an insect in the suborder Sternorrhyncha of Mexico, and for TCHO’s Mint Chip Gelato it’s the milk within the freeze-dried gelato that makes it not suitable for vegans.

Although dark chocolate should be inherently vegan (besides bars that are doing something innovative like those above), this is not always the case. 

Supermarket mass-produced dark chocolate sometimes has milk listed within its ingredients. Take Lindt’s Excellence Dark Touch of Sea Salt or Morisson’s 85% Dark Chocolate as examples. 

Whilst we strongly believe that these ‘dark’ bars that actively contain milk solids within the chocolate cannot really be called a dark chocolate, unfortunately this is the case for many mass-produced bars.

A Side Note 

If you are looking to cut down on sugar, a word to the wise: sometimes chocolate manufacturers use lactitol as a sweetener – and yes, lactitol is derived from cow’s milk. 

In Summary 

Dark chocolate is nearly always vegan, although animal products often find their way into supermarket chocolate ingredient lists as ‘whey powder’ or ‘butterfat’. But we’re having none of that. The vast majority of dark chocolate in our Chocolate Library is vegan. 

Vegans and those intolerant to lactose or allergic to dairy are very good at checking the labels of their chocolate bars. And what delight! almost every single dark is very much on the tasting table! 

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