13 Chocolate Brands That Use the Highest Quality Ingredients
Nothing says sweet and comforting quite like a piece of chocolate, but many people are afraid to eat it because some brands are loaded with added sugar and undesirable, low-quality ingredients.
Take a look at the ingredient list of the best-selling chocolate candy in America, for example, and you'll see a lot of stuff you'd probably rather not ingest. According to CNBC data, M&Ms is the most popular chocolate in America. And according to information sourced from the M&Ms site, these tasty little bites feature less-than-desirable ingredients like cornstarch, corn syrup, Blue 2 Lake, Yellow 5, Red 40 Lake, and more. Long story short, there's a reason these highly popular chocolates are also highly affordable: they are made with cheap ingredients.
Thankfully, there are plenty of brands out there that are honest about the ingredients they use and aim to produce chocolate that people can feel confident eating.
Chocolate made with high quality ingredients is going to include thing like sustainably-sourced cacao and lower amounts of sugar, while avoiding filler ingredients and weird additives. Read on for our dietitian-approved list of chocolates with the highest quality ingredients, and for more health tips check out 8 Chocolate Brands That Use the Lowest Quality Ingredients.
UNREAL is a great brand with a variety of options like peanut butter cups, chocolate gems, and chocolate bars, and it's one of our top dietitian-approved choices for chocolates with high-quality ingredients. "UNREAL chocolate is made with fair trade chocolate that is organic, sustainable, and non-GMO project verified," says Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, author of The First Time Mom's Pregnancy Cookbook and Fueling Male Fertility.
You can also have peace of mind knowing that "their products contain up to 51% less sugar than the leading brand while free from artificial ingredients or sugar alternatives," says Manaker.
Alter Eco is another well-known organic brand that can help people feel confident in what they're eating when they're craving chocolate.
"This is an organic chocolate brand dedicated to regenerating ecosystems and empowering farmers, and their ingredients are sourced from farmer-owned co-ops practicing sustainable agriculture to offer a variety of melt-in-your-mouth, organic chocolates," says Manaker. "Their products are also non-GMO and totally delicious."
According to their website, Theo is a company that strives to "contribute toward a more compassionate and enduring world," and they do this by maintaining "full transparency, stable pricing, and third-party verification." Not only is this company honest in its processes, but it's honest in its ingredients as well.
"Theo Chocolate is made from sustainable and organic chocolate, contains no filler ingredients, and it is made from non-GMO ingredients, as well as being soy-free, kosher, vegan-friendly, and gluten-free," says Manaker.
"This company focuses on real, high-quality ingredients in every aspect, from real fair-trade cocoa to pure cane sugar to American-grown fruit," says registered dietitian Kaleigh McMordie, MCN, RDN. "They also leave out any additives and fillers from their chocolate, and each chocolate bar tastes delicious!"
Endangered Species has plenty of chocolate flavors and combos to choose from, but McMordie suggests the "Espresso Beans + Dark Chocolate bar, which is made with fair-trade coffee beans roasted in the USA."
If you're looking for chocolate with very few ingredients, Hu is a deliciously good choice.
"Hu chocolate bars probably have the shortest, simplest ingredients list out of all chocolate bars out there. Their chocolate is made from organic, fair trade cocoa and unrefined coconut sugar, and they focus on real, simple ingredients, leaving out some typical less-than-desirable ingredients you might typically find in chocolate, such as emulsifiers, palm oil, or sugar alcohols. The milk chocolate bars are even made with grass-fed milk," says McMordie.
According to Rachel Fine, RDN, registered dietitian and founder of To The Pointe Nutrition, Neuhaus Belgian chocolate uses high-quality ingredients you can trust.
"Neuhaus is known for their true Belgium chocolate roots with whole milk powder, milk cream, and butter offering an extra satisfying mouthfeel that better promotes feelings of fullness and satisfaction, making consumers more likely to listen to and honor fullness cues," says Fine.
Green and Black's
Green & Black's is another helpful option for those looking for healthier chocolate options because "this chocolate offers a simple option with just 4 ingredients: chocolate liquor, cane sugar, cocoa butter, and vanilla," says Fine.
Not only are there simple ingredients, but "another benefit is the higher fiber content, which promotes steady blood sugar rises and more sustained energy levels after consumption," says Fine.
Enjoy Life Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
If you're looking for some chocolate chips to bake with that you can trust, Enjoy Life is the perfect option.
Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips are great because they contain 3 ingredients: sugar, unsweetened cocoa, and cocoa butter, and they're vegan," says Dana Ellis Hunnes PhD, MPH, RD a registered dietitian and author of Recipe for Survival. "They also have 7 grams of sugar per 1-tablespoon serving, which isn't terrible for chocolate. That's a little under 2 teaspoons of sugar."
Nib Mor offers a lot of great chocolate flavors, every one of which is made with at least 72% cacao. (Some are 80%, for the record.) The rest of the ingredients are all safe and familiar, and all Nib Mor products are Rainforest Alliance Certified. They offer options like Mint, Tart Cherry, Sea Salt, Blueberry, and more.
Chocolove's rich, complex chocolate bars are heavier on sugar compared to the many other options, so don't confuse quality with healthiness here, but in terms of quality, many of the unique chocolates this brand offers are hard to match. That includes things like a vibrantly pink chocolate bar they offer called Ruby Chocolate, an effectively new type of chocolate altogether. Chocolove also offers flavors like Coffee Crunch and Salted Caramel in Dark Chocolate and Cherries and Almonds in Dark Chocolate.
Many of Lily's chocolate bars have no sugar added, like the company's Sea Salt Dark Chocolate Bar. It does feature Stevia as a sweetener, and many people do strive to avoid that sugar substitute, but the bulk of the ingredients are high quality, so if you want a tasty chocolate bar and you're trying to cut out sugar, this brand is a good choice.
Regular Lindt chocolates, those tasty individually-wrapped spheres of sweetness, e.g., can contain quite a few ingredients that are not of the finest quality, such as vegetable fat, milk powder, and emulsifiers, in the case of their classic Lindor Truffles. The Lindt Excellence line, however, features chocolates made with fewer and better ingredients, such as the Lindt Excellence Supreme Dark bar, which consists of just chocolate, cocoa powder, cocoa butter, sugar, and vanilla.
Made in the stone-ground Mexican style, these unique chocolates check all the boxes a customer concerned with quality and production could ask for. They are certified organic, they are non-GMO, they are Direct Trade confirmed, and they are kosher, gluten-free, and vegan. Also, the unique chocolate discs come in amazing flavors like Chipotle Chili, Cinnamon, and Salted Almond.
A previous version of this article was published on August 18, 2022.