Sweet! These Plant-Based Chocolate Snacks Are Dairy-Free, Delicious, and Ethically Made

Each one of these plant-based chocolate bars and chocolate-covered snacks has no animal products and adheres to fair trade practices.

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Jun. 18 2024, Published 2:24 p.m. ET

plant-based chocolate bars and candies and almonds
Source: Hu Kitchen, UNREAL Snacks, iStock Photo

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I'm a dark chocolate kind of girl; somewhere between 55 and 70 percent is the sweet spot for me. For a long time I'd assumed dark chocolate was implicitly vegan, and it is much of the time. But sometimes brands will sneak in non-vegan ingredients like milk. Now I know to hunt down brands that explicitly label their products as plant-based chocolate. Then I check the ingredients list for milk derivatives like whey, casein, and lactose. A cholesterol level greater than 0 percent is also a dead giveaway that animal products are included. A great plant-based chocolate will have none of this, yet still retain the indulgent deliciousness you love about chocolate.

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The 6 Best Plant-Based Chocolates

Best Dark Chocolate Bar: Hu Salty Dark Chocolate Bar, Pack of 6 ($36)

Best Milk Chocolate Bar: LOVO Oatmilk Chocolate Bar, Pack of 4 ($27)

Best Mini Chocolate Bars: Raaka Chocolate Mini Dose Bars, Pack of 30 ($33)

Best Granola: Alter Eco Dark Chocolate Granola ($6.50, was $9)

Best Chocolate-Covered Treats: Taza Chocolate Covered Almonds ($7.50)

Best Variety Pack: Unreal Vegan Variety Pack ($35)

And yes, you can still have your milk chocolate in vegan form thanks to milk substitutes like oat milk, coconut milk, and almond milk. These kinds of plant-based chocolates not only replicate the smooth texture of milk chocolate but are also safe picks for those with lactose intolerance or dairy allergies. Vegan chocolate is often lower in saturated fats, too. It's always a win when your sweet treat is actually good for you.

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The plant-based chocolates below are made by companies that also abide by fair trade practices, ensuring things like fair wages and safe conditions for workers — that includes everyone from cacao farmers to factory workers. A fair trade certification guarantees that the products are made in a socially and environmentally responsible way, using sustainable farming practices that protect the environment and biodiversity. Supporting fair trade chocolate helps combat child labor and exploitation in the cocoa industry, too. Have your chocolate and eat it knowing it aligns with your values.

Hu Salty Dark Chocolate Bar

You probably recognize Hu Kitchen as one of the more ubiquitous vegan chocolate brands on the market. I particularly love the Salty Dark Chocolate Bar, which balances the richness of dark chocolate (70 percent!) with a hint of sea salt (the subtle crunch is what gets me). This bar is made with organic, fair trade cocoa, and the treat is keto-friendly and Kosher, among other dietarily friendly features. I also love that Hu uses unrefined organic coconut sugar instead of more common sweeteners like refined sugar, cane sugar, and sugar alcohols.

$36 at Hu Kitchen
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LOVO Oatmilk Chocolate Bar

For all you milk chocolate enthusiasts, the LOVO Oatmilk Chocolate Bar is made of a scrumptious blend of cocoa and creamy oat milk (it also comes in coconut milk, almond milk, and hazelnut milk blends) in the place where milk chocolate originated: Switzerland. Each Swiss chocolate bar is gluten-free and GMO-free, using ethically sourced plant-based ingredients and fair trade practices.

"I've been gluten- and dairy-free for health reasons for almost a decade. I've tried all kinds of compliant chocolates and had a favorite one but then I bought Lovo and this is hands down my favorite of all time," a customer wrote.

$27 at Amazon

Raaka Chocolate Mini Dose Bars, Box of 30

Raaka Chocolate's mini plant-based chocolate bars are gluten-free and fair-trade certified; this mixed pack has an assortment of bars including 100 percent cacao, 58 percent oat milk, 60 percent coconut milk, and 71 percent sea salt. Raaka practices "transparent trade," which means the company buys its cacao directly from cooperatives and grower organizations at prices higher than the Fair Trade minimum. This ensures that farmers receive fair compensation for their work. Raaka also builds direct relationships with cacao farmers, and the brand's packaging is made from recycled paper and printed with vegetable-based inks.

$33 at Amazon
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Alter Eco Dark Chocolate Granola

Did somebody say road trip? Get your chocolate fix en route, on a hike, or curled up on the couch with this Alter Eco dark chocolate vegan granola that blends USDA organic granola with rich cacao. Alter Eco uses fair trade practices and is committed to being a carbon-neutral company, too. The brand also packages its granola in bags made from post-consumer recycled materials, and some of its other products come in compostable packaging. "I bought this on sale the first time. And now I'm completely hooked on it," wrote a shopper.

$6.50 (was $9) at Amazon

Taza Chocolate Covered Almonds

Taza's chocolate covered crunchy almonds are made with with organic, stone-ground, ethically sourced dark chocolate — and the result is sweet bliss. Every ingredient in these treats is certified USDA Organic, and the company's products are also Direct Trade and non-GMO. The company ensures fair wages and safe working conditions for its farmers. Taza’s commitment to minimal processing retains the natural flavors of the cacao.

$7.50 at Taza Chocolate

UNREAL Vegan Variety Pack, Pack of 5

Can't decide on a specific chocolate treat? That's what UNREAL's Vegan Variety Pack is for. Stock up on an assortment of plant-based, gluten-free snacks including dark chocolate crispy quinoa gems, dark chocolate peanut gems, dark chocolate peanut butter cups, dark chocolate coconut bars, and dark chocolate almonds, all made with non-GMO and fair trade certified ingredients. These snacks provide a delicious, ethical alternative to traditional chocolates, with no artificial flavors or preservatives.

$35 at UNREAL Snacks
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