These Chocolate Alternatives Will Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth — and Are Completely Cocoa-Free

A number of alternatives to chocolate exist for conscious consumers.

Jamie Bichelman - Author
By

Jun. 25 2024, Published 4:03 p.m. ET

Carob pods are pictured with one exposed pod revealing carob beans, as well as ground carob in the center of the photo.
Source: iStock

For those of us with an untamed sweet tooth, we are lucky to live in a time with plentiful plant-based chocolate products in general supermarkets around the U.S.

Still, many consumers share concerns over the forced labor that exists within the cocoa industry.

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Because of this, some consumers may only purchase chocolates with some sort of fair trade certification, or even choose to avoid chocolate altogether.

The good news is, there are a few sustainable chocolate alternatives that you can try instead. The below chocolate-free products can be great alternatives for those who object to the cocoa industry, are allergic to chocolate, cannot consume caffeine, or cannot eat cocoa for whatever reason.

Carob beans are a sustainable and ethical alternative to chocolate.

A pile of chocolate is pictured on the left, with the letters "v" and "s" in the middle and carob pods and beans on the right.
Source: iStock

Carob features the richness of traditional chocolate without the heavy metals. Carob seeds are housed in pods and crushed to form a powder, which has been studied as a suitable alternative to traditional cocoa powder in chocolate products.

Per an article published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information, carob also contains more calcium and fiber than chocolate; less calories than chocolate; and unlike coca, is free of caffeine.

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The NCBI study also assessed carob on other factors, such as taste, smell, sweetness, mouth feel, and appearance.

"As a whole, the nutritional and economic advantages of carob make it an appropriate nomination for the replacement of cocoa," the study concluded.

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WNWN is the world's first alt-chocolate.

A fascinating startup called WNWN, also stylized as "Win-Win," produces cocoa-free chocolate primarily from oats and carob. The company's unique production method results in a product that utilizes 80 percent less water and 90 percent less emissions than traditional chocolate.

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Why, then, might you only find words like "Choc, Chok, Chokolate" on Win-Win's packages? Per the brand's website, each country has specific regulations that mandate a certain percentage of cocoa solids to be included in a product in order for it to be called "chocolate."

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Endless Food Co's THIC chocolate is made from a unique byproduct.

The Copenhagen, Denmark-based Endless Food Co produces a product cleverly called THIC (This Isn’t Chocolate) which is an ingredient that mimics chocolate and can be used to make ice cream, pastries, and more.

Instead of using cacao, the patent-pending THIC is made with Brewers Spent Grain, a byproduct of beer brewing, to deliver a taste that approximates chocolate.

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Dried fruit and dates are easy, ethical options.

Nine bowls of varying sizes containing different dried fruits are pictured atop a wooden table.
Source: iStock

Mara Mennicken of the Canda-based The Good Chocolatier notes that one healthy alternative to chocolate is dried fruit. The sweetness of dehydrated fruits will definitely satisfy that aspect of the cravings, and when added to plant-based oatmeal and yogurt, it can approximate the creaminess of chocolate.

You may also consider Medjool dates — these fruits are sold fresh, though they bear a similar texture to dried fruits. Their sweet, caramel-like flavor makes them a satisfying chocolate alternative.

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Almond butter is a versatile, protein-rich substitute for chocolate.

Raw organic almond butter is pictured in a bowl atop a burlap cloth on a wooden table with almonds scattered about.
Source: iStock

I've always enjoyed heaps of almond butter on my toast, atop my açaí bowls, and in my protein smoothies.

If you've never mixed almond butter with maple syrup, a touch of vanilla extract, and any of your other favorite ingredients, you'd be surprised at how rich, chocolate-like, and satisfying this is on top of any dish in which you'd incorporate chocolate.

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