Best Chocolate Brands The Ultimate Guide to Vegan Chocolate Featured Image

Best Chocolate Brands: The Ultimate Guide to Vegan Chocolate

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Consumer Notice: This post contains affiliate links that are marked in this manner: (affiliate link*)”. If you click on these links and purchase, I earn a commission at no added cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. 

Are you vegan or interested in being vegan, and looking for a good chocolate brand just in time for Halloween or Christmas?

Well, look no further than this Ultimate Guide to Vegan Chocolate! You will discover what to look for in chocolate besides the absence of animal products… Perhaps even things you never considered before, like the ethics of chocolate. Lets dive in!

What is Vegan Chocolate?

Vegan chocolate is chocolate without any animals products. This means that you shouldn’t see the following ingredients in vegan chocolate:

  • Milk
  • Milk By-Products(Examples include: “whey,” “lactose,” “butter,” etc.)
  • Honey

One more point about vegan chocolate: not all dark chocolate is vegan! You really have to read the ingredients as many “dark chocolates” may hidden sources of milk.

What About Palm Oil?

Occasionally, you might see “palm oil” listed as an ingredient in vegan chocolates. But what is it? And why do some vegans avoid it? lets talk about that.

Palm oil is derived solely from a fruit called the oil palms, making it a vegan product.

So what’s the big deal? The palm oil industry at large has been accused of deforestation, biodiversity loss, and human rights violations. Check out this article in The Guardian to learn more.

In short, while this oil is plant based, some ethical vegans might avoid it due to the issues surrounding the product.

Is Vegan Chocolate Healthier than Milk Chocolate?

Probably.

Have you every heard that chocolate is good for you? That may be thanks to the cocoa content that contains flavanols (antioxidants) that may have benefits for heart health, although the evidence is limiting.

Since milk chocolate often has less cocoa content, it may hav less healthy flavanols than dark chocolate.

Milk chocolate also tends to contain more sugar than than your typical vegan dark chocolate. Sugar is one ingredient most health professional recommend to eat less of. So read your labels when comparing, but make no mistake, we are not recommending you trade fruits and veggies for chocolate!

What could possibly be unhealthy about vegan dark chocolate? That leads us to our next topic. Something that you might not have expected in your chocolate:

Heavy Metals

Chocolate may contain heavy metals such as lead and cadmium. In fact, certain levels of heavy metals in specific chocolate products may pose a risk to health, especially to children.

To see the results of heavy metal levels in certain brands, check out As You Sow or Consumer Labs (note: a fee is involved to view Consumer Labs report).

So, if you are looking for chocolate with potentially (note: no guarantee of this) lower heavy metal content check out these tips:

  • Cocoa products sourced from Latin America may have higher amounts of heavy metals as opposed to Africa.
  • Look for lower cocoa percent solids (source)
  • Talk to the chocolate company: Where do you source your chocolate? Do you test for heavy metal content? Can I see the results or can you tell me about your standards?
Vegan vs. Milk Chocolate Pro and Cons List

Is Vegan Chocolate Ethical?

Vegan chocolate is absent from animal products, which equals a reduction in animal suffering. However, this does not make vegan chocolate “innocent”.

Chocolate is a very popular product in the US. As such, there is a high demand for a cheaper product. The cacao beans (beans used to make chocolate) are primarily grown in West Africa. This area supplies most of the worlds chocolate.

To provide a cheap product, unfortunately, many cocoa producing areas have resorted to cheap labor practices. And that is just one issue.

The cocoa industry of West Africa has been accused of the horrible reports of child labor, trafficking and even slave labor. You can read more about the issues via this article by Food Empowerment Project. I strongly encourage you read the entire article, although it is a hard read.

A little encouraging news though! The Food Empowerment Project researched many brands and came up with a list of vegan chocolates that they do or do not recommend based on the issues of child and/or slave labor.

I personally refer to this list when shopping for chocolate. Even got the app, so I can take it on the go! Check out the list here.

Best Chocolate Brand Per A Vegan Dietitian

Disclaimer: This is Plant Powered You’s humble opinion after researching many brands available in the United States, and taking points mentioned in this article into account.

Consumer Notice: This section contains affiliate links that are marked in this manner: (affiliate link*)”. If you click on these links and purchase, I earn a commission at no added cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. 

Beyond Good

Why I love it:

If you enjoy a more “raw” tasting chocolate bar, check out this one (affiliate link*):

For the Milk Chocolate Lovers

Beyond Good also has chocolate that tastes so smooth and creamy (in my opinion).

Personal story time! Remember Crunch bars? I loved those as a kid, and wished for a vegan alternative for a long time . And guess what? I finally found one that is even better (again, in my opinion). Check it out here, and be ready to be taken back (affiliate link*):

Did you find this article helpful? Anything I missed or you would like covered? Let me know in the comments below!

And if you want to stay updated on all things vegan nutrition, sign up for my e-mail list here!

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