Plant Based vs. Vegan Chocolates: Understanding the Differences

October 17, 2022

Plant Based vs. Vegan Chocolates: Understanding the Differences

If you’re a craft chocolate fan and eat a plant-based or vegan diet, get ready to indulge! You don’t have to have to skip out on dessert or eat a chalky, flavorless product. We’re enthusiastic creators of premium plant-based chocolate and the biggest fans of the modern bean-to-bar movement. We want to show you that there are plenty of delicious plant-based and vegan chocolates for everyone, which is why we created this helpful guide. 

Finding the right chocolate snacks and ingredients can help you follow your dietary preferences and enjoy a tasty treat. It’s always helpful to know whether you’re buying a “plant-based” or “vegan” chocolate bar. This guide will tell you what to know about plant-based vs. vegan chocolate bars and baking products. Once you discover the distinctions, you’ll be ready to shop for your favorites.  

What Are Plant-Based Ingredients? 

Plant-based food is exactly what it sounds like: food derived from plants. Typical ingredients include fruits and vegetables. You can also eat legumes or pulses. A plant-based diet features essential whole grains and tasty ingredients like seeds and nuts. It focuses on plants, but it does not ban the inclusion or use of animal products. 

What Are Vegan Ingredients? 

Vegan ingredients do not include any animal products. It’s important to know that some vegan ingredients are plant-based, but some aren’t. For example, sea salt is vegan because it’s not made from animal ingredients. It’s also not a plant-based product, as it’s a mineral. This is just an example of the nuances of eating a vegan diet. 

Common vegan substitutes in chocolate and baked goods include coconut oil and cocoa butter. You can also use popular items like oat milk or silken tofu. Check vegan ingredients and baking substitute lists to know what’s considered vegan — and what’s not. 

plant based vs vegan ingredients

Try Our Vegan & Plant-Based Chocolate Products

What Is Plant-Based Chocolate? 

Now that you know about plant-based and vegan ingredients, it’s time to understand the differences in the types of chocolate. You’ll find that most chocolate is plant-based because it’s made from the small evergreen cacao tree. The cacao bean, which grows on the tree, is chocolate in its rawest form. 

You’re eating plant-based chocolate if your bar is mostly made from plant-based ingredients. The bar may be vegan if it doesn’t include animal products. It’s possible that plant-based chocolate isn’t vegan if it involves the use of animal products like honey. However, many of the best plant-based chocolate bars do not contain any animal products. 

How Plant-Based Chocolate Is Made 

So, how is chocolate made? Open a ripe cacao bean pod and find many cacao beans inside. Making plant-based chocolate is exceptional, as it’s challenging to grow and harvest. It takes hundreds of cacao tree beans to make a pound of dark chocolate. Each pod must be open before the cacao beans can reach the next step in processing. 

After harvesting, the cacao beans usually undergo a special fermentation process. This process spans at least a few days and helps to develop the rich and full chocolate flavor. Fermentation also makes the beans less tart and acidic. Unfermented cacao will not have as deep and fudgy-tasting notes, which is why it’s far less popular to leave them unprocessed. 

After fermentation, the beans are carefully dried to prepare for manufacturing. Once they’re sorted and cleaned for quality, they’re roasted to showcase their tantalizing chocolate aroma. As a bonus, roasting cacao kills harmful microorganisms and helps to develop a foundation for tasty chocolate products. 

The shells are removed, and then the beans are cracked open. At this point, it’s time to get creative with the cacao. Plant-based cocoa nibs are ground into cocoa liquor, which can then make cocoa powder or cocoa butter. Cocoa can be combined with sweetener and cocoa butter to make plant-based chocolate. You can then add plant-based ingredients and flavoring through blending and conching processes. 

plant based vs vegan chocolate

What Is Vegan Chocolate? 

A vegan chocolate bar or chocolate baking product is made from cacao beans, just like plant-based chocolate. While the cocoa percentage may vary, each vegan bar and baking chocolate is more than just made from plants. It’s also entirely free of animal products like dairy and butter. 

You won’t see sweeteners like honey, and you won’t see any white chocolate or milk chocolate. Vegan chocolate often has a short and simple list of ingredients. It’s a good choice for a vegan diet because you know it doesn’t have milk. 

Instead, you’ll notice vegan ingredient substitutes like oat milk or almond milk. Vegan chocolate usually includes a special label to help you feel confident about the product. You won’t see a vegan label on non-vegan, plant-based chocolates. 

How to Make Vegan Chocolate 

To make vegan chocolate you should follow the same process as plant-based chocolate. After all, the harvesting and manufacturing process is the same as making plant-based bars. During manufacturing you will not add any animal products. 

TCHO chocolate is vegan because we don’t mix our cacao with cow’s milk or butter. Our ingredients list is clean and straightforward, as we swap out dairy milk for ingredients like nut milk and oat milk. We also feature delicious vegan additions like vegan toffee and vanilla. Consider making your vegan chocolate in a facility that does not include non-vegan products. 

What Makes These Chocolates Different? 

When you choose a plant-based chocolate bar, you can be confident that it’s made primarily of cacao and other quality plant-based products such as vanilla bean or coconut oil. They may also have unique and delicious additions like oat milk or almond butter. 

Vegan chocolate differs from plant-based bars because even though they’re made from cacao, they’ll never include animal products. Plant-based bars are always appropriate for those who enjoy a plant-based diet. If they’re only plant-based, they won’t be labeled vegan. Double-check the ingredients list if you’re someone who needs to choose vegan products.  

chocolate chunks and squares

How to Choose a Chocolate 

Now that you know a lot about what makes plant-based and vegan chocolate different, you can find the right types of chocolate for your tastebuds. We have a few tips for how to choose the perfect premium chocolate: 

Decide on Vegan or Plant-Based Chocolate 

Determine whether you need vegan chocolate. You’ll want to purchase 100% vegan dark chocolate or a vegan confection made with non-dairy milk if you eat a vegan diet. If you’re more of a plant-based reducer, you can feel free to choose any style of plant-based bars. Some plant bars don’t contain animal products, so vegans can still eat them. We always like to check the ingredients list before we buy. 

Check for “Off-Limits” Ingredients 

Everyone has their own wellness needs and dietary preferences. Some of your off-limits ingredients may be fine for others, so be sure to check the ingredients list on any chocolate bar or baking product. If you’re vegan, you’ll want to ensure that your chocolate doesn’t contain milk or milk derivatives like whey or casein. You should also stay away from non-vegan products like honey and refined sugar. 

If you’re eating a plant-based dessert, be sure it’s free of gelatin. Gelatin is made of a protein derived from collagen in animal bones and connective tissues. Reading your chocolate bars or baking discs label is an excellent way to check for ingredients that cause food allergies. Some may choose to stay away from certain plant-based ingredients because they don’t like the taste. So many milk substitutes are available that many vegans and reducers already have their favorites. 

vegan chocolate bars baking products

Shop for Bars or Baking Products 

Now that you know what kind of chocolate to buy, it’s time to shop for delicious chocolate bars and premium baking products. Let us give you a few ideas to get started. Even though vegan and plant-based are different, it’s possible to find chocolate that’s both at the same time. 

Here at TCHO, our chocolate bars and baking products are plant-based and vegan. We love that you can enjoy wholesome ingredients and know that you’re keeping with your diet. Here are some of our best-loved TCHO products for plant-based reducers and vegans alike: 

Vegan Chocolate Bars 

Enjoy craft chocolate and some much-needed variety with vegan dark chocolate bars. Our TCHO bars always make a tasty evening treat or a fun afternoon pick-me-up! Each confection is manufactured for a full chocolate flavor you will notice immediately.

When you shop with us, you’ll discover dense and fudgy cacao truffle-filled dark chocolate and fruit-forward cacao truffle-filled bars. We also have delicious dark chocolate pairings filled with vegan ingredients like vegan toffee and sea salt. 

Give away one of our gift boxes or save individually wrapped chocolate bars for yourself. All our chocolate bars are 100% vegan, so you can feel free to enjoy the entire collection. Share them with a vegan loved one or a plant-based friend: everyone will be satisfied. 

Vegan Baking Products 

Whether you consider yourself a culinary professional or a home baker, you’ll love that our baking products are plant-based and vegan. Make a simple switch and upgrade your baking or cooking experience with 100% cacao unsweetened cocoa powder. The rich and chocolatey flavor is perfect for just about any recipe. We also have another vegan classic — 100% cacao unsweetened baking chocolate. Trust us. You’ll love the simplicity and richness with no added sugars or flavors. It’s also exceptionally versatile and flexible. 

Now, it’s time to take your desserts and baked goods to the next level with some of our vegan favorites! You’ll honor the flavor of our premium chocolate with roasted cacao nibs that add a deep, toasty flavor to cakes and cookies. We have a sweet and sassy 66% chocolate medley with fruity and nutty flavors if you’re looking for something a little bittersweet. Explore your favorite cacao percentage and tasting notes. 

Some people like their craft chocolate in liquid form. Grab vegan drinking chocolate crumbles for that perfect cup of mocha or hot cocoa. We even have a baking variety pack to introduce you to the delicious world of vegan baking and plant-based baking products. 

truffle filled chocolate squares

Enjoy Delicious Craft Chocolate 

Chocolatiers and plant-based chefs alike have made great strides in vegan treats and baking. Nowadays, everyone can enjoy a chocolate bar or bake it the way they want. Vegan and plant-based chocolate make it possible. We’re proud to be your destination for craft chocolate the way you like it. 

Whether you’re looking for the tastiest snacks or the best baking ingredients for your next big dessert, you’ll know you chose quality ingredients without animal products. Now go ahead and serve your ice cream or pastry with confidence! Vegans and plant-based fans will love the rich and fudgy flavor — and you’ll like how easy it is to find and indulge in the best plant-based and vegan chocolate products around. We can’t wait for you to try some for yourself!