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What Chocolate Is Vegan?

If you choose to live a cruelty-free lifestyle, you'll struggle to find replacements for your favorite treats. You'll browse the aisles looking for a treat that satisfies your cravings and your diet - which isn't easy. You're probably wondering, what chocolate is vegan?

Going vegan doesn't always mean giving up all of your favorite treats. Thanks to advancements in the food industry, there's a vegan alternative for almost every non-vegan food out there--including chocolate!

In fact, chocolate in its purest form is entirely plant-based, made from cocoa beans off the cacao tree. So, it all boils down to processes and ingredients used to make chocolate that determines whether it's vegan-friendly or not. But how do you know if the chocolate you want to try is vegan? And what even makes chocolate vegan?

Don't worry--we are here to answer all of your questions.

In this article, we will explain what vegan chocolate is, how it's made, and how to tell if a chocolate product is truly vegan. We'll even cover what chocolate is vegan so you can satisfy that sweet tooth without compromising on your diet or values.

First, let's define vegan chocolate.

What Makes Chocolate Vegan?

To put it simply, vegan chocolate is made with zero animal products. It does not contain any dairy like milk chocolate. It's also free of refined sugar that is processed using bone char (animal bones). Instead, vegan chocolates are mostly made out of cocoa beans, cocoa butter, vegan sugar, and soy lecithin (a binder)--ingredients that do not harm or exploit animals at any step.

How Is Vegan Chocolate Made?

The manufacturing process of vegan chocolate differs greatly from that of milk chocolate, white chocolate, and other types of non-vegan chocolate.

First, dried cocoa beans are processed to extract cocoa butter. Cocoa butter stays in a liquid state at low heat, then hardens into a solid at room temperature. It is responsible for holding the shape of a vegan chocolate bar while giving you that 'melt-in-your-mouth' goodness when you eat it. Conventional chocolate, on the other hand, often uses vegetable oil.

When the process stops there, you have dark chocolate, which is as natural as chocolate can get. Dark chocolate contains higher levels of cacao and smaller amounts of sugar and fat. Thus, it has the highest concentration of flavanols, which are naturally-occurring compounds in plants that are linked to improved brain function.

However, not everyone appreciates the ultra-rich cacao flavor that dark chocolate offers. Some people want their dark chocolate to be sweeter and creamier. This is why a lot of vegan chocolate may contain natural sugar, maple syrup, agave nectar, coconut cream, and other vegan-friendly additives.

In contrast, non-vegan chocolate often has dairy, sugar, artificial sweeteners, and other non-vegan ingredients to offset the bitter taste of rich cacao. Some manufacturers may even disguise dairy as casein, which is a protein found in milk. That said, any chocolate bar that contains casein is not vegan.

Want to learn more about how vegan chocolate is made? Make sure to check out our complete guide!

So, What Chocolate Is Vegan?

Now that you know more about it - what chocolate is vegan?

When looking for the perfect vegan chocolate bar to satisfy your sweet tooth, you basically have two categories to choose from--dark chocolate that contains absolutely no animal products but is not marketed as vegan (also termed as "accidentally vegan"), and vegan chocolate made with dairy-free milk.

If a vegan chocolate bar has a cocoa content higher than 66%, it's likely vegan--but not always. White and milk chocolate are rarely vegan since they usually contain dairy, but they can be. For instance, vegan-friendly milk chocolate uses dairy alternatives to achieve that creamy consistency, such as coconut milk, almond milk, and other plant-based milk.

All things considered, you simply have to inspect the ingredient list to see if there's anything non-vegan in the chocolate bar. It's also a good idea to count the number of ingredients; the fewer ingredients there are, the purer the vegan chocolate is.

Sustainability and fair trade are also two important factors to consider when looking for vegan chocolate. You want chocolate with ingredients that have been responsibly sourced, traded, and manufactured. Most vegan chocolates have sustainable and fair trade labels, but if you want to make sure, contact the manufacturer.

How to Tell if Chocolate is Vegan

The best way to tell if a chocolate is truly vegan is to look at its list of ingredients. But what exactly do you have to look out for?

If you are new to the vegan lifestyle, it can be challenging to spot ingredients that are not vegan-friendly, especially when they are in terms that are unfamiliar to you. So, we've compiled a list of ingredients you should avoid when you're looking for vegan chocolate:

Milk and Milk Derivatives

Obviously, milk makes chocolate non-vegan. If the vegan milk chocolate bar you're eyeing used plant-based milk instead, it should indicate as such on the packaging, like on dairy-free chocolate. Plant-based milk includes oat milk, soy milk, almond milk, and coconut milk, just to name a few.

Milk derivatives can be harder to spot than milk itself. This is because they are often unfamiliar terms if you are a new vegan. Be wary of ingredients such as milk solids, milk fat, lactose, casein, whey powder from milk (or anything else listed as "from milk"), milk powder, and skimmed milk powder.

Egg Products

Milk is not the only common animal product in regular chocolate. Most mass-produced chocolates contain lecithin, an emulsifier that is commonly found in eggs. It is also used as a cheap filler to increase the volume of production.

Vegan chocolate uses lecithin as well, but it comes from plants such as soy, rapeseed oil, and sunflower oil instead of eggs. That said, chocolate is only vegan if it specifically states that its lecithin comes from non-animal sources.

Refined Sugar

Mass-produced refined sugar often makes use of bone char during the bleaching process. However, not all refined sugar is non-vegan. So, if you want to make sure that the vegan chocolates you are eyeing are truly vegan, then you may have to contact the manufacturer directly to find out. Alternatively, you can check for labels that explicitly state that the chocolate is 100% vegan.

When In Doubt - Look For The Vegan Seal or Allergen Information!

Looking through all the different ingredients in your chocolate can get overwhelming. Fortunately, there is a better way to evaluate your chocolate.

The best way to tell if you're about to buy vegan chocolate? Simply look for a "vegan" crest of approval on the label. Any manufacturer that offers cruelty-free goods will proudly display this crest to make your shopping decision easy. You can also look at the allergen information to see if lactose is present - which indicates milk was used.

Is Vegan Chocolate Better For You?

You're probably wondering, are vegan chocolate bars healthy?

Veganism is more than just protecting the welfare of animals. It's also about maximizing the benefits that a plant-based diet can provide. When done right, going vegan can lower your risk of heart disease, improve your kidney function, regulate your blood sugar levels, and reduce your risk of certain cancers, among many other health benefits.

That said, vegan chocolate is better for you in more ways than one. For one, switching to vegan chocolate can help you maintain your lifestyle without depriving yourself of your favorite sweet treat. Moreover, eating vegan chocolate can have specific benefits, such as:

Better Brain Function

Dark chocolate contains higher amounts of flavanols, which has been linked to improved brain function and faster reaction time. And since vegan chocolate bars have higher concentrations of cacao (and therefore higher concentrations of flavanols as well), eating vegan chocolate can help your brain stay sharp.

Less Sugar Crash

When you eat sugar, your body produces more insulin. Insulin is responsible for allowing the glucose in your body to enter your cells. The more sugar you consume, the higher your insulin levels are. As a result, your glucose levels drop, and you will experience a sugar crash.

Vegan chocolate tends to have fewer amounts of sugar. That said, you are less likely to crash if you munch on vegan chocolates instead of your conventional chocolates--even if you eat more than the suggested serving size.

Vitamins, Minerals, and Antioxidants

Compared to mass-produced chocolate, vegan chocolate has higher concentrations of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Most notable are calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, and vitamin C. These micronutrients help boost your immune system, improve your blood flow, and prevent many types of diseases, including heart disease and cancer.

Discover Your New Favorite Vegan Treat at MidDay Squares

If it's quality, variety, and affordability you want, look no further than MidDay Squares. We offer the best vegan chocolate available online.

Our chocolate is made from 100% cruelty-free ingredients, sustainably sourced, and produced from start to finish in our own factory. The best part? It's not just any chocolate - with superfood ingredients, this is a functional chocolate bar that offers nutrition along with great taste.

So, what are you waiting for? Buy vegan chocolate from the best chocolatier in Canada today.