vegan chocolate

Vegan Chocolate: Uncompromising Flavor & Ethics

Many brands of vegan chocolate offer extraordinary flavor, coupled with a commitment to fair trade production practices.

The first thing you need to know about chocolate is that most of the good stuff is vegan. In fact, most chocolate connoisseurs consider milk chocolate to be an abomination. Dark chocolate is the good stuff!

That raises the question: is dark chocolate vegan? Most of the time it is. Unfortunately, several brands of dark chocolate, including Hershey and Ghirardelli, contain whey or other milk products. So always check the ingredients.

Vegan Chocolate Varieties

When it comes to chocolate, the spectrum of quality is as wide as that of wine. Every brand of premium dark chocolate will invariably list its percentage of cocoa mass on the package. The higher the percentage, the stronger the chocolate flavor, but this also brings more bitterness. Once you reach 80 percent or above you’re in the territory favored by chocolate connoisseurs. Lindt and some other brands even have 90% offerings, which is only for the seriously committed—and akin to drinking Wild Turkey 101 neat.

Dark chocolate might initially seem unpleasantly bitter. If you grew up devouring Hershey Kisses and Nestle Crunch Bars, it may take you some time to acquire a taste for 80+ percent chocolate. Perhaps the best way forward involves starting with vegan chocolate in the 70 percent range, and then gradually working your way up to higher percentages.

But what if you’re really craving—chocolate snobs be damned—is the mild flavor of milk chocolate? Fear not; three all-vegan companies offer what you’re seeking:

Fair-Trade Dark Chocolate

Much of the world’s chocolate—even expensive gourmet vegan dark chocolate—is produced by exploited or enslaved workers. The Washington Post reported in 2019 that, “…the odds are substantial that a chocolate bar bought in the United States is the product of child labor.”

Fortunately, many vegan chocolate brands carry a fair-trade label. The best resource to learn more about fair-trade chocolate is through this regularly-updated list published by the Food Empowerment Project.

Although Amazon.com has great prices on most products, they fall short when it comes to chocolate. Many of the vegan chocolates they carry are quite overpriced. But they do have a few good deals. Here are the vegan fair-trade chocolates Amazon generally keeps in stock:

Vegan Chocolate Companies

Plenty of companies make both vegan chocolate and non-vegan varieties. But more than a dozen companies churn out only vegan products. These vegan companies also tend to specialize in fair-trade chocolate. Here’s our list of the best vegan chocolate companies.

For further reading: please see our vegan foods page and our vegan eating guide.

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