Humans have been enjoying chocolate since prehistoric times. The earliest known evidence of chocolate dates back 5,300 years ago, in traces of cacao found in pottery used by the Mayo-Chinchipe culture in the highlands of what is now Ecuador. Cacao was a cultural cornerstone of ancient Mayan culture. It was used as a currency, a sign of status, and as a food believed to be a gift from the gods. 

Today we know chocolate as a smooth, sweet confection, but the earliest known preparations were very different. The wealthy enjoyed a bitter drink made with chili peppers, vanilla, and other spices while commoners ate cacao mixed into porridge. Cacao eventually spread to Europe in the 1500s, brought over by Spanish colonizers, where it became a popular, sugar-sweetened beverage among aristocrats. 

Chocolate bars didn’t come around until around the middle of the 19th century. The invention of a machine called the cocoa press allowed people to separate the roasted bean from the butter. In 1847 in Bristol, UK, chocolatier J.S. Fry & Sons made the first chocolate bar. Compared to the confection that we know today, it was dry and bitter. But, it would kick off the world’s love for chocolate bars. In 1875, the world’s first milk chocolate bar was produced in Switzerland, offering a creamier, more palatable sweet than the first-ever chocolate bars. Just over two decades later in 1897, Cadbury launched its first milk chocolate bar. And so the story goes.

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What is vegan chocolate?

Vegan chocolate is any chocolate that’s made without animal products. The main ingredients in your standard chocolate bar are cocoa beans, sugar, and cocoa butter. Generally, milk is the only non-vegan ingredient that you’ll find in chocolate. Most chocolate is sweetened with sugar (sugar-free options contain monk fruit, stevia, or other alternative sweeteners), so your chances of finding honey are very slim. Even dark chocolate can contain milk, so it never hurts to read the ingredient list. 

Is vegan chocolate ethical?

Sad to say, but vegan chocolate isn’t necessarily ethical. 

Even if a chocolate bar is free from animal products, journalists have documented the widespread use of child labor and slavery on cocoa farms in Western African countries, which supply the majority of the world’s chocolate. This includes some of the industry’s biggest names. Europeans brought cocoa to this region so they could establish farms where labor was cheap or free, according to the Food Empowerment Project (FEP), a vegan food justice nonprofit. 

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This mistreatment continues to this day. According to a 2020 report published by the US Department of Labor, an estimated 1.56 million children work on cocoa farms in Ghana and the Ivory Coast. In February 2021, a group of eight young adults launched a (still pending) child slavery lawsuit against Nestlé, Mars, Hershey, Cargill, and other chocolate-makers, which have attempted to have the case tossed.

However, that summer the US Supreme Court blocked a separate lawsuit against Nestlé USA and Cargill on the grounds that the six plaintiffs had no standing because the abuse happened outside of the US. FEP notes that while companies have admitted to the fact that labor abuse happens within the industry, many have pushed back against regulations. And unfortunately, not even fair-trade and the Rainforest Alliance certifications are a 100-percent guarantee that chocolate was made without child labor. See here for more information on what goes on within the cocoa industry.

What’s in vegan milk chocolate?

Dark chocolate used to be just about the only dairy-free chocolate option out there. But, that’s no longer the case. The vegan chocolate market is booming and cocoa heavyweights such as Hershey’s, Cadbury, and Lindt have rolled out dairy-free milk chocolate bars. And, there are plenty more brands to choose from. (Including from Dr. Bronner’s—yes, the soap brand.) These brands are making vegan milk chocolate bars from a multitude of plant-based milks, including oat, coconut, rice, and almond. Vego, a 100-percent vegan brand, blends hazelnut butter into its bars to create a creamy, melt-in-your-mouth texture.

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The ultimate vegan chocolate list

Amanda’s Own Confections

Chocolate Chips
Dairy-Free Chocolate Bar
Chocolate Coins
Chocolate Frogs
Chocolate Kittens
Chocolate Ballerinas

Askinosie Chocolate

Coconut Milk Chocolate Bar
Dark Chocolate + Coconut Sugar & Toasted Coconut CollaBARation Bar
Dark Chocolate + Coffee CollaBARation Bar
Dark Chocolate + Avocado & Rosemary CollaBARation Bar
Dark Chocolate + Peanut Butter Bar
Dark Chocolate + Red Raspberry CollaBARation Bar
Gingerbread Dark Chocolate Bar
Peppermint Dark Chocolate Bar
60% Dark Chocolate + Peanut Butter Bar
62% Dark Milk Chocolate + Fleur de Sel Sea Salt Bar
70% San Jose Del Tambo, Ecuador Dark Chocolate Bar
70% San Jose Del Tambo, Ecuador Dark Chocolate Nibble Bar
72% Mababu, Tanzania Dark Chocolate Bar
72% Zamora, Amazonia Dark Chocolate Bar
77% Davao, Philippines Dark Chocolate Bar

Charm School Chocolate (v)

Vanilla Bean White
Vanilla Bean White with Rice Crisps
Caramel Malt
Coconut Milk Chocolate
Coconut Milk Chocolate Maple Pecan 
Coconut Milk Mocha
70% Dark Belize
Dark Chocolate with Nibs
70% Dark Belize with Jalapeño, Nibs & Sea Salt
Coconut Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Toffee
Black Sesame Bar

Chip n’ Dipped

Hot Dark Chocolate with Habanero Pepper
Dark Chocolate Salted Almond
Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Bar
Dark Chocolate Pretzel
Dark Chocolate Marshmallow Sundae
Dark Chocolate Crunch
86% Dark Chocolate
72% Dark Chocolate
63% Dark Chocolate

Chocolate Inspirations, Inc.

Artisan Vegan Espresso Bar
Artisan Vegan Hummingbird Nectar Tea Bar
Artisan Vegan Italian Orange Chocolate Bar
Artisan Mandarin Oat Crumble Bar 
Artisan Mango Coconut Bar
Holiday Dark Chocolate Peppermint Bark
Sweet Buddies-Salted Caramel, Peanut & Chocolate Bar
Sweet Buddies Bars-Salted Caramel Marshmallow & Chocolate
Vegan Artisan Peppermint Bar
Vegan Christmas Tea Bar
Vegan Raspberry Rose Chocolate Tea Bar

Cocoa Parlor 

Cowboy Up 70
Crushed Velvet 41
Dark Jungle 70
Dark Perfection 70
Deep Velvet 51
Into Dark 80
Garden of Eden 100
Jungle Peanut 35
Night Train 75
More Please 35
Popped Quinoa 70
Royal Dark 88
Simple Pleasure 56
Strawberry Mermaid 67
Surfer Girl 56

Coco Polo

Sugar Free Coconut & Chia Dark Chocolate - 70% Cocoa Pure Dark
Sugar Free Crispy Quinoa - 70% Cocoa Pure Dark
No Sugar Added Baobab - 70% Cocoa Pure Dark
Sugar Free 70% Cocoa Pure Dark Chocolate
No Sugar Added 70% Cocoa Dark with Whole Dry-Roasted Almonds
Sugar Free 70% Cocoa Dark with Elderberry
No Sugar Added 70% Cocoa Dark with Tart Montmorency Cherries
Sugar Free 70% Cocoa Dark with Ginger
Sugar Free 70% Cocoa Dark with Cocoa Nibs

Coconut Secret

Almond Coconut Bar
Classic Coconut Bar
Coconut Macaroon Bar
Mint Coconut Bar
Peruvian Dark

Compartes

Beauty Chocolate Bar Blueberry Almond
California Love Pretzel Dark Chocolate Bar
Coffee Crunch Extra Dark Chocolate Bar
Healing Chocolate Bar - Reishi Matcha Raspberry
Energy Paleo Chocolate Bar - Mixed Nuts & Sea Salt
Superfood Dark Chocolate Bar Strawberry Acai
Dark Chocolate Bar Sprouted Seeds Granola Endurance
Pro-Power Chocolate Bar - Peanut Protein
Nightcap Whisky Dark Chocolate Bar
Old Hollywood Smoked Sea Salt Dark Chocolate Bar
Dark Chocolate Bar Turmeric Ginger Lemon Detox
Pure Vegan Dark Chocolate Bar 80% Pure Cacao
Salted Pistachio Dark Chocolate Bar
Spring Awakening Mixed Berries Dark Chocolate Bar
Dark Mixed Nuts Sea Salt Bar
Tropical Paradise Chocolate Bar
Fruit Cocktail Dark Chocolate Bar
Dark Chocolate Peppermint Bar

Eat Chic Chocolates (v)

“Birthday Cake” Vanilla Cashew Butter Cups with Supernatural Sprinkles
Coconut Milk Chocolate Cinnamon-Tahini Cups
Coconut Milk Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Cups
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups with Maldon Sea Salt
Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups with Maldon Sea Salt
Dark Chocolate Coffee Almond Butter Cups
Dark Chocolate Cherry-Chai Almond Butter Cups
White Chocolate Cups with Black Sesame Tahini & Orange Filling
Matcha Cashew Butter Cups 
Mocha Hazelnut Butter Cups
Coconut Sugar Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups (Refined Sugar-Free)
Coconut Sugar Dark Chocolate Tahini Cups (Refined Sugar-Free)
Pink Chocolate Cherry-Chai Almond Butter Cups

Enjoy Life

Boom Choco Boom Dark Chocolate Bar
Boom Choco Boom Rice Milk Bar
Mega Chunks
Mini Chips
Dark Chocolate Morsels

Fine & Raw Chocolates (v)

Truffle Chunky
Alderwood Smoked Salt Bar
Habanero Salt Bar
Ginger Bar
Hazelnut Butter Bar
Truffles
Espresso Bar
Sea Salt Bar
Cashew Butter Chocolate Bar
Lucuma & Vanilla Chocolate Bar
Raspberry Chocolate Bar
Mesquite Chocolate Bar
Cacao + Coconut Chunky 
Almond Chunky 

Gnosis Chocolate (v)

Superchoc Bar
Simplicity Bar
Fleur de Sel Bar
Deeply Dark Bar
Freedom Bar
Coco Almond Bar
LuckChoc Bar 
PommAcai Bar
Cool Mint Bar
Hazelnut Bar
Mayan Heat Bar
Passion Bar
Immunity Bar
Goddess Bar

Go Raw 

Super Raw Chocolate Bar
Orange Raw Chocolate Bar
Mint Raw Chocolate Bar

Go Max Go Foods (v)

Buccaneer Candy Bar
Cleo’s Peanut Butter Cups
Cleo’s White Peanut Butter Cups 
Jokerz Candy Bar
Mahalo Candy Bar
Snap! Candy Bar
Twilight Candy Bar
Thumbs Up
2fer

iChoc (v)

Almond Orange Bar
Choco Cookie Bar
Classic Bar
Super Nut Bar
Jungle Bites Bar
Sunny Almond Bar
White Nougat Crisp Bar
White Vanilla Bar

Lagusta’s Luscious (v)

Bourbon Chile Bar
Earl Grey and Preserved Orange Bar
Ginger Nibby Chocolate Bar
Peanut Butter Caramel Bar with Nougat
Salted Milk Chocolate Almond Bar
Semisweet Chocolate Bar
Smoky Corn on the Cob Chocolate Bark
The Turtle Bar
The Maple White Chocolate Bar
Peppermint Bark
Strawberries and Cream Bark
Almond Slate
Fig and Caramelized Fennel Bark
Holler Mountain Bark
Autumnal Pagan Bark
The Flower Tablet
Chocolate Coconut Cream Pyramids
Furious Vulvas
Pauline Benjamin’s Peanut Butter Cups
Vandana Shivas
Selma’s Peppermint Patties
Tahini Meltaways

Lulu’s Chocolate (v)

Aztec Crunch Bar
CBD Chocolate
Maca Buttercups
100% Cacao Bar 
Salted Caramel Cups
Love Truffles
Raw Love Bar
Smoked Sea Salt Almond Bar
Midnight Velvet Bar

Moo Free (v)

Caramelized Hazelnut Nibs Bar
Crunchy Banana Chocolate Bar
Organic Fruit & Nut Chocolate Bar 
Dairy-free Organic Santa Bar
Dairy-Free Organic Snowman Bar
Choccy Chums Suprises 
Mini Moos Original Organic Bar
Mini Moos Bunnycomb Bar
Mini Moos Organic Minty Moo Bar
Mini Moos Organic Cheeky Orange Bar 
Organic Rice Milk Chocolate Bar 
Dairy-free Choccy Drops
Rosie Rabbit Chocolate Bar
Chocolate Easter Egg
Easter Bunnycomb Egg

Montezuma’s

73% Cocoa Very Dark Chocolate
100% Cocoa Chocolate Bar: Absolute Black
Dark Chocolate Chilli
Dark Chocolate Gourmet Gorilla
Dark Chocolate Lordy Lord
Dark Chocolate Sea Dog
Dark Chocolate Spice it Up
Dark Chocolate Bean Machine
Dark Chocolate with Rose & Vanilla Bar
Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Truffle Bites
Milk Chocolate Alternative Dairy Free Halloween Frogs
Very Dark Turtles (73%)
Dark 58% Giant Button Bag
Dark 54% Giant Button Jar
Dark Chocolate Star
Dark Chocolate with a Cherry Truffle Centre
Sunrise - Vegan & Organic Dark Chocolate Orange

Nibble Chocolate (v)

72% Cocoa Brazil
85% Cocoa Brazil
72% Cocoa Dominican Republic 
85% Cocoa Dominican Republic
72% Cocoa Madagascar
85% Cocoa Madagascar
72% Cocoa Peru
85% Cocoa Peru
Bonbons Vegan Truffles
Nibbleitos

Nirvana Belgian Chocolates

Organic Dark Chocolate
Organic Dark Chocolate Spicy Aztec Bar
Organic Dark Chocolate with Blueberry and Açai Fruit
Organic Dark Chocolate with Caramel and Sea Salt
Organic Dark Chocolate with Cocoa Nibs
Organic Dark Chocolate with Pomegranate
Organic Dark Chocolate with Super Berries

Nohmad (v)

Sprouted Hazelnuts & Sea Salt Raw Dark Chocolate
Sprouted Almonds & Smoked Sea Salt Raw Dark Chocolate
Peppermint Crunch Raw Dark Chocolate
Decadent Extra Dark Chocolate
Fruit and Nut Sprouted Almonds and Currants Raw Dark Chocolate
Freeze Dried Raspberry Raw Dark Chocolate
Coffee Crunch Raw Dark Chocolate

No Whey! Chocolates (v)

Better P’Nut Crisp Bars
Caramel P’Nut Log
Caramel Pecan Clusters
Cats Meow Bark with Organic Dark Chocolate
Exotic Sea Salt Caramels
Healthy Heart Bar
Peanut Butter Delight
Pretzel Barz
Pretzel Swirls
Raspberry Truffles

Pacari (v)

Allspice Bar
Andean Blueberry Bar
Andean Mint Bar
Andean Rose Bar
Cardamom Bar
Cherry Bar
Coffee Bar
Cranberries Bar
Esmeraldas Bar
Fig Bar
Guayusa Runa Bar
Ginger and Chia Bar
Goldenberries Bar
Jasmine Bar
Lemon Bar
Lemon Verbena Bar
Lemongrass Bar
Lacumbia Bar
LaMontubia Bar
Los Rios Bar
Manabi Bar
Merken-Chilli Bar
Orange Bar
Passion Fruit Bar
Piura Bar
Roses Bar
Salt and Nibs Bar
70% Cacao Raw Bar
70% Cacao Raw with Andean Blueberry Bar
70% Cacao Raw with Maca Bar
70% Cacao Raw with Salt and Nibs Bar
70% Cacao Raw with Spirulina Bar
85% Cacao Raw Bar
100% Cacao Raw Bar
101% Cacao Raw Bar

Poco Dolce

81% Cacao Bittersweet Bar
Olive Oil & Sea Salt Bar
Bittersweet & Sea Salt Bar
Hazelnut Bar
Mayan Chile Bar
Peanut Butter Bar
Five Spice Bar

Premium Chocolatiers (v)

Choco No No’s
Milkless Chocolate Bar
Mini Peanot Cups
No Whey!
Peanut Butter No No’s
Peanot Cups
Premium Dark Semisweet Chocolate Bar
White Chocolate Bar

Raaka (v)

71% Dark with Sea Salt Bar
Coconut Milk (60% Cacao) Bar
Maple and Nibs (75% Cacao) Bar
Yacon (79% Cacao, Cane Sugar Free) Bar
Lapsang Chai (66% Cacao) Bar
Congo 75% Bar
Vanilla Rooibos (67% Cacao) Bar
Mint & Nibs (56%) Bar
Best of First Nibs: Earl Grey (67%) Bar

Rescue Chocolate (v)

The Fix Bar
Forever Mocha Bar
Foster-iffic Peppermint Bar
Mission Feral Fig Bar
Peanut Butter Pit Bull (bar and mini) Bar
Pick Me! Pepper Bar
Up & Up PBJ Pup 

Rose City Chocolates (v)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles
Chocolate Cordial Cherries
Chocolate Truffles
Chocolate Pretzels
Chocolate Mints
Tropical Paradise
Chocolate Hazelnut
Chocolate Bark
Chocolate Marzipan
Artisan Chocolate and Nuts
Artisan Earthly Delights Clusters
Artisan Caffeine Clusters

Schmilk Chocolate (v)

Hazelnut n’ Raz Schmilk Bites 
Pecan Schmurtles
Original Schmilk Chocolate Bar
Peanut Butter Schmilk Bites
Raspberry Schmilk Chocolate Bar
Salted Almond Schmilk Chocolate Bar
Toffee Schmilk Chocolate Bar
Schmilk Roasted Marshmallow Hugs
White Schmilk Chocolate Leaves
Dark Schmilk Chocolate Leaves
Vermont Soft Maple Leaves

Sjaak’s Organic Chocolates (v)

Chocolate Covered Hazelnuts (mini tub)
Chocolate Melk Caramel Bites (large tub)
Hazelnut Butter Bites (small tub)
Organic Chocolate Mint Mills (small tub)
Organic Fair Trade Hazelnut Butter Bites (large tub)
Organic Fair Trade Vegan Chocolate Almond Butter Bites (small tub)
Organic Fair Trade Vegan Chocolate Mint Bites (small tub)
Organic Fair Trade Vegan Chocolate Orange Bites (small tub)
Organic Fair Trade Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Bites (small tub)
Organic Fair Trade Vegan Dark Chocolate Bites (large tub)
Organic Fair Trade Vegan Extra Dark Chocolate Bites (small tub)
Organic Mint Mills (large tub)
Organic Raspberry Bites (small tub)
Organic Vegan Almond Butter Bites (large tub)
Organic Vegan Chocolate Caramel Bites (small tub)
Organic Vegan Peanut Butter Bites (large tub)
Salted Caramels, Dark Chocolate (4 pack)
Salted Caramels, Melk Chocolate (4 count)
Dark Chocolate Bar
Dark Chocolate with Almond Bar
Dark Chocoalte with Espresso Bar
Dark Chocolate with Raspberry Bar
Dark Chocolate with Creamy Caramel Bar
Extra Dark 70% Chocolate Bar
Melk Chocolate Bar
Melk Chocolate with Almonds Bar
Melk Chocolate with Almond Butter Bar
Melk Chocolate with Creamy Caramel Bar
Melk Chocolate with Peanut Butter Bar
Eli’s Earth Celebrate Bar
Eli’s Earth Dream Big Bar
Eli’s Earth Treasure Bar
24 Piece Valentine Assortment
Chocolate Heart Lollipop
Cupids Kisses Hazelnut with Coconut
Dark Chocolate Valentines Nuts and Chews
Half Foil Heart Filled with Hearts of Cherry
Hearts (large tub)
Limited Edition Valentine Truffle Birdie Box
Melk Chocolate Valentines Nuts and Chews
Melty Truffles in Valentine Box
Organic Fair Trade Melk Chocolate Heart Filled with Chocolates
Organic Fair Trade Melk Chocolate Valentine Tote Bag
Organic Fair Trade Vegan Dark Chocolate Heart Filled with Dark Chocolates
Organic Fair Trade Vegan Dark Chocolate Valentine Tote Bag
Organic Hearts of Cherry Gift Tote
Raspberry Truffle Hearts (large tub)
Valentine Heart in Bag
Almond Butter Bunny
Easter Peanut Butter Bite Tote
Easter Caramel Bite Tote
Half Foil Egg Filled with Peanut Butter Eggs
Large Filled Bunny with Fruity Bears
Organic Fair Trade Melk Chocolate Bunny in a Basket
Organic Fair Trade Melk Chocolate Eggs (full tub and bag)
Organic Fair Trade Melk Chocolate Sitting Bunny
Organic Fair Trade Vegan Dark Chocolate Basket with Bunny
Organic Fair Trade Vegan Dark Chocolate Eggs (full tub and bag)
Organic Fair Trade Vegan Dark Chocolate Sitting Bunny
Organic Peanut Butter Chocolate Filled Egg Box
Organic Peanut Butter Crunch Egg
Organic Vegan Melk Caramel Filled Egg Box
Small Smiling Bunny
Vegan Melk Chocolate Easter Eggs Tote
Halloween Bite Box
Halloween Orange Bites (small tub)
Halloween Peanut Butter Bites (small tub)
Pumpkin Spice Bites (large tub)
Skull Lollipop
Christmas Nuts & Chews Assortment-Dark
Organic Fair Trade Chocolate Winter Wonderfuls (small tub)
Organic Fair Trade Mint Bite Tote
Organic Fair Trade Red Raspberry Tote
Organic Fair Trade Snowman Tote
Organic Fair Trade Winter Wonderfuls (large tub)

TCHO

Dark Chocolate “Chocolatey” 70% Bar
Dark Chocolate “Nutty” 65% Cacao Bar
PureNotes Dark “Bright” 67% Bar

Vego (v)

Organic Hazelnut Chocolate Bar

Wei of Chocolate (v)

Gratitude
Love
Pure
Joyful
Inspired
Relaxed
Beautiful
Radiant
Peace

Whelpdale Chocolates (v)

Raspberry White Chocolate
Vegan Cookies & Creme Chocolate
Cherry Chipotle
White Chocolate
Dark Chocolate
Milk Chocolate
Caffe Mocha
Bourbon Dark Chocolate
Mint Julep Milk Chocolate
Bourbon Smoked Sea Salt Chocolate 

Need more up-to-date info? Check out our other VegGuides!