What is vegan chocolate made of?
Upon learning that it's entirely dairy-free, you may wonder what vegan chocolate is made of. The funny thing about this is that vegan chocolate is actually the most natural form of chocolate - dairy is added to give it a sweeter taste.
But natural, dark chocolate is vegan in itself - straight from the cacao plant, no animals were harmed in the making of this delicious treat!
Today, we'll explain the entire process of producing vegan chocolate bars - from seed to sale. As you'll soon learn, being vegan and sticking to your values (and a healthier diet/lifestyle) doesn't mean you have to cut out your favorite treat!
Dark Chocolate Is A Naturally Vegan Food!
Those who have grown up on milk chocolate may not realize this - but it's actually not the original, natural form of chocolate.
Raw, dark chocolate is considered vegan in itself - because it comes straight from the cacao plant.
This means it's entirely plant-based, and chocolate is as vegan-friendly as it gets. It's dairy-free until chocolate or candy manufacturers add milk in at the end.
In our opinion, this is where they go wrong. Milk fat isn't just a nasty animal product, it prevents you from getting a true taste of the chocolate!
We think this is why so many companies sell milk chocolate instead of its dairy-free, dark counterpart. It's a lot easier to produce milk chocolate because the quality of your cocoa beans will be masked by the overwhelming sweetness of dairy milk.
What Is Vegan Chocolate Made Out Of?
By now, you know that vegan chocolate is made out of cocoa beans, but that surely isn't the only ingredient.
Of course, there are forms of raw dark chocolate that contain only cocoa & cocoa butter, but the best form of vegan chocolate tends to have other ingredients to compliment the cocoa beans used in the process.
Before we get into more complicated chocolate vegan products, let's first look at how cocoa beans are turned into dark chocolate.
How Cocoa Beans Become Dark Chocolate
First and foremost, cocoa beans are cultivated on a farm and ultimately harvested. These beans are the entire foundation for all things chocolate - at least, natural chocolate.
After they've been harvested, popped open, fermented, and dried - they are sent to the manufacturer to turn them into an actual chocolate bar.
Of course, every manufacturer has different processes. But in general, the process will look something like this:
The Vegan Chocolate Manufacturing Process
Dried cocoa beans are first turned into cocoa butter, which allows the manufacturer to actually mold the chocolate goodness into a bar.
This process involves melting the beans into a bar form. From there - you have a 100% cruelty-free chocolate bar!
This is as natural as chocolate gets, but for a lot of people - this rich, dark chocolate taste isn't going to cut it. Usually, this is where manufacturers will add milk to sweeten the chocolate.
We know that this isn't an option for us vegans - which is why other non-animal products must be used to further enhance the flavor and nutrition these chocolate bars offer.
Keep in mind that certain chocolate brands - particularly those that sell white chocolate - will have even more steps involved with making the product taste better.
For anyone who is vegan, though, you'll have to be really careful to look at what ingredients are added.
What Ingredients Can Be Added To Chocolate Vegan Products?
You can easily tell if a manufacturer sweetened their chocolate bars with animal products just by looking at the label - if there is a milk allergen, run the other way.
But you can also look at the different ways companies will disguise their dairy - ingredients like casein, for example, are also a dairy product.
Refined sugar is a vegan-friendly product, but we still recommend finding a brand with healthier manufacturing processes. Ingredients like all-natural cane sugar are far better for you, but should still be limited.
Adding Nuts & Fruits To Spice Up The Chocolate Vegan Flavors
One way chocolate manufacturers can make their vegan products taste better and offer more nutrition is by adding nuts & fruits to their recipe.
Almonds, peanuts, walnuts, dates - all of these are cruelty-free (they all grow on trees, just like the cocoa beans used to make vegan chocolate in the first place).
Not only are these going to add a hearty dose of fiber, but they're also all packed with protein! While some people don't love the idea of nuts in their chocolates, others crave that crunch.
Let's take a look at what an actual real-life vegan chocolate bar is made of - this will give you insight into what you can expect to see on the ingredient label of any quality vegan chocolate.
Using MidDay Squares Vegan Chocolate As An Example
The best vegan chocolate bar you can buy is MidDay Squares - these are the first functional chocolate bar, and they're entirely plant-based.
Not only are they healthy & vegan-friendly - they taste amazing.
So, let's take a look at their ingredient profile and determine what they're made out of.
All Natural, Vegan-Friendly Ingredients
Like any chocolate, MidDay Squares starts with all-natural cocoa beans - which are then melted into cocoa butter and turned into raw, dark chocolate.
This vegan chocolate is then further complimented by powerful vegan superfoods that don't just make the chocolate taste great, they make it even better for you to put in your body!
MidDay Squares is a unique vegan chocolate bar in that while it tastes better than your favorite chocolates, the ingredient label would suggest it's a nutrition or protein bar - but your taste buds would never know!
For this example, we're going to specifically look at the peanut butter flavor.
- Unsweetened chocolate
- Cocoa Butter
- Yacon Syrup
- Hazelnut butter
- Pink Salt
- Brown Rice Powder
Other Options Have Other Ingredients - But They're Still Vegan & Delicious!
This is just one example of what you may find on the ingredient label at Mid-Day Squares - but this is just one of their delicious vegan products.
Along with this Peanut Butta option, you'll also find a Fudge brownie flavor along with an almond crunch.
Each of these different products will vary a bit in terms of specific ingredients - you'll find hemp protein, almonds, and other vegan-friendly ingredients in these other choices.
However, no matter which one you go with - one thing is true. These products taste great, they're great for you, and they're great for our planet - because no animals were exploited to get the product in front of you!
They're not only vegan, but gluten-free, soy-free, non-GMO, and more. Find out why so many health-conscious vegans around the world can't go a day without their Mid-Day Snack!