One of the main ingredients in white chocolate is milk powder, as well as cane sugar, which is rarely produced in a vegan-friendly manner. Despite this, vegan white chocolate is not a unicorn, and is actually increasing in popularity these days, even amongst non-vegan chocolate lovers. So how can you know if a white chocolate is vegan?
The cacao seeds pictured above play a key role in making white chocolate. Or at least, their fat does. A cacao seeds, also called a cacao bean, is about half fat. While much of that fat is pressed out and used in the cosmetics industry, with the leftovers pulverized into cocoa powder, some of it goes towards making white chocolate (or milk chocolate). This fat, called cocoa butter, is a fruit fat like avocado or olive oil, and therefore 100% vegan.
So it’s not the cacao fat base of white chocolate that makes it non-vegan; it’s the milk powder and sugar that make up the rest of the product. Assuming you’re buying a high quality vegan white chocolate, those are the only 3 ingredients that make up your chocolate. So the way to make white chocolate vegan is to switch out those two non-vegan products. First is the sugar, which can be swapped for a vegan-friendly version or alternative, like coconut sugar or erythritol. Then is the milk powder, which can be safely and deliciously exchanged with a vegan alternative such as coconut milk or possibly even a very fatty nut with similar properties.