Cocoa butter is derived from seeds of a Theobroma cacao tree, otherwise known as cocoa beans. This tree is native to the Amazonian region, although has not been cultivated in other tropical regions such as Oceania, Asia, and America.
You can extract the fat from these seeds and use it in a number of products, from consumables to beauty products.
The term cocoa butter simply refers to the fact that it comes from cocoa beans and is fat, much like butter. Due to this, some people are unsure of whether cocoa butter would fit into the vegan lifestyle or not. Let’s find out whether it is vegan or not now.
What Is Cocoa Butter?
Cocoa beans have been used in food and drink for centuries, and there has been a lot of speculation about their medicinal properties as well.
Cocoa butter looks much like butter you would find in the kitchen, with a pale yellow coloring and thick creamy consistency. Cocoa butter is solid at room temperature but quickly melts when it comes into contact with skin.
Cocoa butter is made by fermenting cocoa beans, drying them, and then roasting them. The oil can then be extracted to make cocoa butter. The rest of the dried beans are then used to make cocoa powder, which can be used to give foods a chocolatey flavor.
Is Cocoa Butter Vegan To Eat?
Veganism is a way of living that avoids consuming any product, food or not, that involves animal cruelty or exploitation. This means that meat, fish, eggs, milk, honey, and other animal-derived products are off-limits to people following a vegan diet.
The good news here is that, as cocoa butter is derived completely from a plant, it is vegan friendly. The fact that it has the word butter in its name is simply due to its consistency rather than what it is made from.
However, don’t get too excited just yet. Cocoa butter is completely vegan, but that doesn’t mean that everything made with it is also vegan. Other ingredients might make the product not vegan friendly.
Is Chocolate Vegan Friendly?
There is no dairy within cocoa butter as it is derived from a plant. However, this unfortunately does not mean that chocolate is vegan. Cocoa butter is often mixed with dairy products to make milk or white chocolate.
If you’re following a vegan lifestyle, dark chocolate is the way to go. It is made by mixing cocoa butter with cocoa liquor and sugar, rather than dairy products. Dark chocolate is often dairy-free, making it vegan friendly.
This is great news for dark chocolate lovers. However, milk and white chocolate contain powdered or condensed milk, making these products not suitable for vegans.
A lot of manufacturers also use honey, eggs, whey, lactose, gelatin, carmine, and other animal-derived products within their chocolate. This makes the product unsuitable for vegans as well.
It is important to note that most chocolates contain traces of milk, even if they say “vegan”. If you want to avoid non-vegan chocolate, look for those that have an ingredient list that contains only cocoa butter and sugar. Avoid all ingredients that have been derived from animals.
Is There Gluten In Cocoa Butter?
Gluten is found naturally in wheat, barley, rye, oats, spelt, kamut, triticale, durum, emmer, farro, semolina, and graham flour. These grains are often used in bread, cakes, cookies, pasta, crackers, and more.
As gluten is found in grains, there is no gluten in cocoa butter. This means that products made with cocoa butter might be gluten-free. However, much like we said with cocoa butter being vegan, manufacturers might add ingredients to the cocoa butter to add gluten to it.
For example, chocolate bars with crispy pieces within them will contain gluten due to the wheat or barley malt found within the crispy pieces. This means that these foods are not suitable for people avoiding gluten in their diets.
What’s more is that chocolate is often used to cover cakes and other baked goods, many of which often contain gluten.
However, if we are talking about dark chocolate, there is no gluten within it. The same goes for plain milk and white chocolate, as there is no gluten in milk either.
To tell whether something has gluten in it, you can read the label. Most manufacturers will state whether the product has come into contact with anything containing gluten or not.
What About Beauty Products?
A vegan lifestyle is more than just avoiding foods with animal-derived products. Vegans also avoid every product that has been manufactured with animal products. For example, some beauty body butter have been made with dairy products – these are not vegan friendly.
Cocoa butter is a common ingredient in beauty products such as lotions, conditioners, and makeup. But is it vegan?
Yes, cocoa butter within beauty products is still vegan. Again, you will need to watch out for the other ingredients to make sure that there is nothing within the formula making it unsuitable for vegans, such as dairy products.
Another issue can arise from beauty products and the vegan lifestyle. This is animal testing. Although a product containing cocoa butter has no other ingredients compromising its vegan status, if it has been tested on animals, then it should be unsuitable for vegans.
Some vegans believe in avoiding products tested on animals more than others. This is down to your personal view. However, it is something to be aware of when considering whether a product is truly vegan or not.
Overall, cocoa butter is vegan-friendly. However, you need to be cautious of using products that use cocoa butter, as some manufacturers add in other ingredients to make it unsuitable for vegans.
For example, cocoa butter used for dark chocolate is vegan, but adding milk to it to make white or milk chocolate makes it not vegan friendly.
Again, cocoa butter in beauty products is vegan friendly, but other ingredients might mean that the product is not vegan.