With a title like “milk” chocolate, it seems impossible that milk chocolate doesn’t contain animal products. But surprisingly, just like a morning latte, there are ways to make a milk chocolate that’s vegan-friendly and delicious. Good for you and good for the planet sounds like a win to me!
Just like how all chocolate is made, milk chocolate starts with cacao seeds, also called cacao beans. These fermented and dried fruit seeds are 100% vegan, as is the added cocoa butter (fat of the cacao beans) needed to make milk chocolate. Assuming you’re buying high quality vegan milk chocolate, there should only be 2 other ingredients in milk chocolate: milk powder, and sugar. As mentioned in the article on dark chocolate, cane sugar is the most common sweetener used in chocolate making, and it’s almost always not vegan.
So when seeking a vegan milk chocolate, look for either raw, organic cane sugar, or a nontraditional sweetener. Vegan cane sugar alternatives include fruit sugars like monkfruit or date, or even low-glycemic sweeteners like xylitol or maltitol. Insofar as the milk powder, these days there are numerous alternatives for cow’s milk. Some popular alternatives for making vegan milk chocolates include coconut or oat milk, with soy milk powder slowly gaining popularity in Asia.