Is Hershey Cocoa Powder Vegan and Cruelty-Free?

August 25, 2023

Identifying whether or not a brand or company is vegan can often feel like solving a complex puzzle. 

This complexity arises primarily from manufacturers who obfuscate the nature and sources of their ingredients, making it difficult for consumers to make informed choices. 

Nevertheless, this article seeks to unveil the truth about Hershey’s Cocoa Powder, aiding you in your commendable journey towards a vegan lifestyle.

Is Hershey’s Cocoa Powder Vegan?

Hershey’s pure cocoa powder products are indeed vegan! Both the Natural Unsweetened Cocoa Powder and the Special Dark 100% Cacao Powder do not contain any animal products.

They are made purely from cocoa beans, and they do not contain any non-vegan ingredients. These cocoa powders are also free of the 14 most common allergens and are surprisingly low in sugar​.

Is Hershey Cocoa Powder Cruelty-Free?

Hershey has pledged to avoid animal tests, which suggests that it is committed to cruelty-free practices. However, it’s crucial to note that this commitment came after pressure from animal rights organizations.

It’s also important to note that Hershey sources its cocoa powder responsibly, according to its website. It belongs to Fair Trade USA and the Rainforest Alliance. This is good to know because not all cocoa powder brands in the cocoa industry are committed to responsible practices. The workers, often indigenous peoples, on cocoa farms are often exploited and treated unfairly. 

Therefore, as a conscious consumer you should always buy fair trade cocoa products when possible.

What Is Hershey Cocoa Powder Made Of?

Hershey’s Cocoa Powder is a favorite baking ingredient among many due to its rich flavor and high quality. This versatile cocoa powder is a key ingredient in a variety of recipes ranging from cakes, cookies, and brownies to hot cocoa and frostings. 

But what exactly does this beloved ingredient consist of? Let’s dive in to explore the components that make up Hershey’s Cocoa Powder.

The ingredients in Hershey’s Cocoa Powder include the following:

  • Cocoa

Easy, right?


Cocoa is a natural product derived from cacao beans, the seeds of the cacao tree. The cocoa beans are harvested, fermented, dried, roasted, and then ground into a powder. This results in a rich, flavorful ingredient that is crucial in giving Hershey’s Cocoa Powder its distinctive taste.

The cacao tree, and the cocoa bean by extension, is native to Central and South America, but it is now grown in several tropical locations around the world, including parts of Africa and Southeast Asia.

In Hershey’s Unsweetened Cocoa Powder, cocoa serves two primary roles. First, it provides the robust, deep chocolate flavor that we all associate with cocoa-based products. Second, cocoa gives the powder its rich dark chocolate color.

Because cocoa is derived from a plant, it is considered vegan. It doesn’t contain any animal-derived ingredients and is thus suitable for those following a vegan diet. It is also naturally gluten-free.

However, it’s important for vegans to check the labeling of specific cocoa products, as processing and additional ingredients can sometimes introduce non-vegan elements. As of my last training cut-off in September 2021, Hershey’s Cocoa Powder is considered vegan. Please verify from up-to-date resources.

Vegan Alternatives to Hershey Cocoa Powder

While Hershey’s Cocoa Powder is vegan, you may be interested in exploring other brands that align with your vegan lifestyle and commitment to the planet. 

There are many brands that offer vegan cocoa powders, but please ensure to check the labels carefully as some cocoa powders may contain dairy or other non-vegan ingredients.

For example, processed mixes for making hot chocolate may look like cocoa powder, but they’re not, and they often include additives such as dairy and other animal products to produce milk chocolate. 


Hershey’s Cocoa Powder food products are indeed vegan and seem to adhere to cruelty-free practices. This makes them a suitable choice for anyone pursuing a vegan lifestyle or those who simply want to indulge in delicious hot cocoa or baking without any animal products. 

However, it’s always essential to remain informed and vigilant about the sourcing and manufacturing practices of any product, as companies’ policies and practices can change. Remember that most hot cocoa mix is not vegan. 

Stay tuned for more deep dives into the vegan status of your favorite brands and products.