Luckily, more and more people are opting to live their best plant-based lifestyles. That means more brands are bringing vegan-friendly chocolate products to the table for us to enjoy. Gone are the days of going without our favourite chocolate treats or battling bitter 100% cocoa chocolates. Let’s take a look at the best vegan chocolates in 2021.
How Is Vegan Chocolate Different From Regular Chocolate?
Okay, before we delve into the world of everything sweet and chocolatey, let’s take a brief look at what makes vegan chocolate vegan.
Of course, it’s probably obvious why milk chocolate isn’t vegan. The clue is in the name – it contains milk. Unfortunately for us, the milk that they use is almost always derived from cow’s milk. Other than that, some brands opt for sheep or goat’s milk to make their milk chocolate.
What about dark chocolate, surely that should be vegan-friendly if it doesn’t contain milk? Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Most of the time, dark chocolate isn’t suitable for vegans because it contains multiple animal-derived ingredients. Some dark chocolate might not technically contain milk but it will contain milk fat, which is also derived from milk.
However, if you can get your hands on 100% cocoa chocolate, it might just be vegan! Most of the higher quality 100% cocoa dark chocolates will be vegan because they don’t contain any milk derivatives. It is worth mentioning that it is extremely bitter, so it might not be to everyone’s taste. If you’re health-conscious, 100% cocoa chocolate might be one of the best vegan chocolates for you. It has significantly lower levels of sugar than other dark or milk chocolates.
How Do I Know if Chocolate Is Vegan?
If you’re new to the vegan life, you might need a fews pointers when it comes to finding which chocolate is suitable for you. Don’t worry, it’s a lot easier than you think. The best vegan chocolates usually carry a green “V” logo on the back. Alternatively, it’ll have a “suitable for vegans” label on it.
If you can’t easily spot a vegan logo on the packaging, you can always check the ingredients list. Milk and eggs are usually listed in bold as they can cause allergic reactions for some people. Therefore, they’ll be easy to spot. However, there are other ingredients that are not vegan. Ingredients that could be buried in the ingredients list, under less recognisable names. If you want to be 100% sure, you might have to do some quick Googling.
Looking up the status of each ingredient can be a bit time-consuming if you’re a big chocolate fan. Therefore, you might find it easier to stick to the best vegan chocolates we have listed here, as well as other chocolates that are clearly labelled as vegan!
Are Organic and Fairtrade Chocolates Vegan-Friendly?
Although many organic chocolates aren’t vegan, if you’ve made the lifestyle change for environmental reasons, you should consider opting for organic vegan chocolates. Just like other organic products, farmers who grow cocoa are subject to strict regulations about how they grow their produce. They must only use natural methods to manage pests, weeds, and diseases for their crops. This means that no chemicals are entering the ecosystem by seeping into the soil or waterways nearby.
Organic certification is not given lightly and farms must undergo annual inspections and audits. But you can go one step further if you’re passionate about saving the environment. The Soil Association is an organisation that aims to tackle intensive farming practices, as well as certifying farms organic.
Therefore, their standards are far higher than the legal minimum requirements for organic farming. They even look into the processing and packaging of productions. If you really want to make sure you’re getting the best vegan chocolates, you can look for their certification on the packaging.
Being certified Fairtrade doesn’t necessarily mean that chocolate is vegan either – it means that the producers are paid a fair price for their cocoa. Many cocoa farmers are facing financial hardship as the value of cocoa has decreased in recent years, despite an obvious increase in demand. On top of disease and damage to cocoa trees, not many people want to continue the tradition of farming cocoa because of the difficulties communities are facing.
Opting for Fairtrade certified chocolate means that manufacturers promise farmers and producers minimum, fair prices for their crops, so they can properly care for themselves and their families. So, whilst Fairtrade chocolate isn’t necessarily vegan-friendly, choosing Fairtrade certified vegan chocolate is a far more sustainable option.
The Best Vegan Chocolates Available in the UK
Okay, so now that we know what the different certifications are for chocolate, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty – our favourite vegan chocolates!
1. Vego Organic Hazelnut Chocolate Bar – 65 G
To get our list of the best vegan chocolate bars going, we have to start off with the classic, the firm favourite, the Vego bar. Vego bars have been around quite a while longer than most vegan chocolate bars, and they certainly are setting the standard high for newcomers. This humble bar is not only vegan but it’s also certified organic and Fairtrade. On top of that, it’s gluten-free and doesn’t contain any palm oil.
Therefore, as well as being one of the best vegan chocolates in the UK, in terms of taste, it’s also extremely sustainable.
2. M&S Vegan Treats
Can we really take a trip to Marks and Sparks without checking out the sweet treats section? Luckily for us, now we have a whole range of vegan-friendly chocolates to try out. You can choose from salted caramel truffles, cocoa dusted truffles or smooth hazelnut chocolate spreads that will more than replace certain palm-oil infused spreads that we won’t talk about.
You can buy each item separately or you can opt for a vegan-friendly hamper that contains all of the items along with other vegan treats. They’d make the perfect gift for a loved one, or you could just treat yourself.
Whilst not all of our favourite vegan-friendly chocolates contain CBD, the best vegan chocolates certainly do. Why not combine our two favourite things?
Available in three different flavours, this gluten-free and vegan-friendly chocolate contains 1 mg of CBD per gram of chocolate. So, you can enjoy a couple of squares as an after-dinner treat and get your evening dose of CBD in one go. We’re here for it!
You can choose between orange dark chocolate, mint dark chocolate, and classic dark chocolate, all of which are delicious. They make each chocolate bar with cold-pressed CBD oil and infused by master chocolatiers. Now, that sounds luxurious!
This is another of the best vegan chocolates when it comes to luxury as this product was created when the famed Melt chocolatiers combined forces with CBD connoisseurs, Dr Watson. Each chocolate bar is made using ethically sourced cocoa and premium, organic hemp oil. It truly is one of the best vegan chocolate bars when it comes to quality. With each bar containing 400 mg of CBD and CBG, it certainly packs a punch too.
One of the best things about vegan chocolates is that they come in so many shapes and sizes. For instance, if you’re looking for a bit of a crunch to combine with your chocolate treat, you can opt for chocolate chip cookies. And why not go one step further and add in some CBD too, for good measure?
That’s exactly what you can do with these vegan-friendly chocolate chip cookies! Each cookie is infused with broad-spectrum CBD and tonnes of protein. That makes them the perfect after-workout snack or a delicious way to smash those protein intake goals!
If chocolate orange isn’t your thing, don’t worry – you can opt for a decadent double chocolate option instead. Both are completely vegan and third-party lab tested for your reassurance.
6. Tony’s Chocolonely
Another cult classic and one of the best vegan chocolates are Tony’s Chocolonely Dark Almond Sea Salt chocolate bars. Made with Fairtrade, Belgian cocoa solids, almonds and sea salt, it’s a sustainable, cruelty-free option that we love to munch on!
If you’re a fan of super dark chocolate, they’ve also got you covered with their Extra Dark Chocolate. This 70% cocoa bar is bound to tickle the taste buds of hardcore chocolate lovers.
You Don’t Have to Be Vegan to Enjoy the Benefits of Vegan Chocolate
Did you know that raw chocolate is actually good for you? Dark chocolate, rich in cocoa powder is a source of vitamins, calcium, magnesium, copper, proteins, fibre, and iron? Of course, not every vegan chocolate is going to be as healthy. Some are packed with sugars and artificial flavourings. But if you want to enjoy the potential health benefits of vegan chocolate, you’re better off going for an option with high cocoa content.
In addition, some studies have shown that enjoying a portion of dark chocolate on a daily basis can help improve and support heart health. According to experts, they might be able to link the flavonoids and antioxidants found in raw chocolate to a reduction in heart disease. However, we’re going to need a lot more research before we start prescribing chocolate instead of heart medication!
One of the main reasons we love vegan chocolate is because it’s an instant mood booster! I mean, who could possibly be sad when they have a bar of rich, decadent chocolate in front of them? Likewise, many people love to ease the discomfort associated with menstrual cramps with a couple of squares of vegan chocolate.
Summing Things Up
Now that the vegan lifestyle is more popular than ever, we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to vegan chocolates in the UK. Long gone are the days that we were limited to super bitter dark chocolate (no offence if that’s your thing!) or just missing out altogether.
Although it’s early days in terms of research, some studies have shown that raw chocolate can have many beneficial effects on our health and wellness. Even without clinical studies, we all know how much better we feel after we have a square of our favourite vegan chocolate!
We’ve shared some of the best vegan chocolates in our eyes, but we’d love to know what your favourites are too! You can find us on Instagram. Need more vegan-friendly food inspo? We've got you covered over on your food page. See you there!