What Makes Chocolate Vegan?

If you’re vegan or are simply curious about vegan options, you might wonder what makes vegan chocolate different from regular chocolate. 

This article breaks down what makes vegan chocolate vegan, what plant-based ingredients are used in vegan chocolate, and how you can tell the difference.

So, what makes chocolate vegan? 

What Ingredients are in Vegan Chocolate?  

The core of what makes vegan chocolate perfect for vegans is the ingredients used. As well as using dairy alternatives, truly vegan chocolate ensures that all ingredients are free from animal products.  

Cocoa Beans 

The primary ingredient in chocolate, cocoa beans, is naturally vegan. These beans are harvested from the cacao tree, fermented, dried, roasted, and processed to produce cocoa mass (also known as cocoa liquor), cocoa butter, and cocoa powder.


Vegan chocolate uses plant-based sweeteners instead of refined sugar processed with bone char (a practice common in some sugar refining processes). Suitable alternatives include organic cane sugar, beet sugar, coconut sugar, maple syrup, and agave nectar. 

Milk Alternatives

Traditional milk chocolate contains dairy milk, but vegan milk chocolate substitutes this with plant-based milks such as almond, soy, coconut, oat, or rice milk. These alternatives provide a creamy texture and rich flavor without using animal-derived ingredients. 


Common emulsifiers like soy lecithin or sunflower lecithin are used in vegan chocolate to achieve a smooth consistency. These plant-based emulsifiers replace non-vegan options like milk fat.

Flavourings & Additives 

Any additional flavorings or additives in vegan chocolate, such as vanilla, fruit, nuts, or spices, must also be free from animal products. Careful attention is paid to ensure these components are sourced ethically and meet vegan standards.

What Potential Non-Vegan Ingredients to Avoid 

Here are some ingredients to be careful of as they’re not completely vegan. 


While it is a popular natural sweetener, honey is an animal product derived from bees and is avoided in vegan chocolate. 

Bone Char Sugar 

Some sugars are processed with bone char. This is a decolourising filter made from animal bones. Naturally, vegans seek out chocolates that don’t use bone char sugar. 

Non-Vegan Additives 

In addition to ensuring your vegan chocolate has vegan ingredients, it is also crucial to avoid common non-vegan additives. Certain additives like gelatin, shellac and colourings are derived from animal products. 

Vegan Certification & Labelling 

To ensure your chocolate is vegan, you should look for certain certifications from reputable vegan organisations. Labels such as ‘Certain Vegan’ or ‘Vegan Society’ provide customers with confidence that the product meets strict vegan standards. 

At LoveRaw, we are dedicated to creating delicious vegan chocolate. As well as being committed to creating ethical sweet treats, we are committed to ensuring our chocolates are strictly vegan.  

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