Retailing Tips & Advice

The Difference between Vegan and Dairy Free

This is a question that often comes up when a product carries the Vegan logo, but states may contain milk, eggs etc on the back of pack. So, we thought it may be helpful if we were to explain the differences, to give you and your staff team the knowledge you need for your customers.

Choc affair dark chocolate bars 90g

In a nutshell, ALL our dark chocolate is suitable for those on a vegan diet along with our plant-based oat milk range, and we are often asked the question about whether our chocolate is suitable for those who are vegan or on a dairy-free diet, so we’ll endeavour to explain the difference for you.

All of our dark and oat m!lk chocolate carries The Vegan Society logo – which indicates that we have submitted an application to The Vegan Society and satisfactorily answered all the society’s questions regarding our ingredients and our production processes and have been given permission to use the logo on the product packaging.

It’s important though to understand that products suitable for vegans aren’t necessarily suitable for people who suffer from dairy allergies – there is a difference and key distinctions between the criteria for “vegan” products and “allergen-free” products.

Anyone suffering from a dairy allergy should not rely on vegan claims as a suitable way to manage their safety and well-being because there could be an unintentional cross-contact with allergens in the manufacturing or preparation process. All of our delicious chocolate is made within our production unit, in York, where as well as producing dark chocolate we produce our milk, caramel and white chocolate. Whilst we are incredibly careful to ensure we avoid cross-contamination, wherever possible, we remain aware that there is always a risk which is why we label our dark chocolate with allergy advice stating may also contain milk.

“The 2018 European Vegetarian Union (EVU) guidance, supported by FoodDrinkEurope, states that ‘the (potential) presence of inadvertent traces of non-vegan or non-vegetarian substances should not be an obstacle to labelling a product as vegan or vegetarian…as long as reasonable measures are taken to prevent contamination. The Vegan Society’s Vegan Trademark can also be applied to foods carrying a ‘may contain’ statement providing that there is robust evidence to show the risk of cross-contamination has been effectively managed.”

For products labelled “free-from” or “allergen-free”, these stronger claims are stated because the manufacturers of these products have further reduced the risk of cross-contamination by using entirely separate facilities for that product’s development and manufacture, which are regularly tested for traces of the allergen.

So, there you have it, hopefully a clearer understanding of Vegan, verses dairy free to be better informed – please do get in touch with us if you have any questions, we’re here to help!