Is Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup Vegan and Cruelty-Free?

July 19, 2023

Navigating the world of brand products and determining whether they are vegan can be a daunting task. 

One of the key challenges stems from manufacturers often disguising the true nature and source of their ingredients. 

This article is designed to peel back those layers, bringing forth the truth and supporting you, our discerning reader, in maintaining a committed vegan lifestyle.

Is Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup Vegan?

Hershey’s, known worldwide for their mouth-watering chocolate treats, offers a range of products, some of which may cater to a vegan diet. However, their flagship product, Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup, is sadly not vegan. The syrup contains skim milk, a dairy product, which disqualifies it from being a vegan-friendly product.

Is Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup Cruelty-Free?

When it comes to the question of cruelty-free sourcing and manufacturing, Hershey’s as a company does not explicitly proclaim to follow cruelty-free practices across their entire range of products. This is primarily because some of their ingredients, such as milk, are animal-derived, leading to an unavoidable engagement with animal agriculture.

What Is Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup Made Of?

Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup is an extremely popular addition to various desserts and drinks. It is cherished for its rich, chocolaty flavor and the decadence it adds to any sweet treat. As a staple in many households, understanding the composition of this product can shed light on its nutritional value and suitability for different dietary preferences.

Here are the main ingredients of Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup:

  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Corn syrup
  • Water
  • Cocoa
  • Sugar
  • Contains 2% or less of: potassium sorbate, salt, mono- and diglycerides, xanthan gum, polysorbate 60, vanillin, artificial flavor

High fructose corn syrup

High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is a sweetener made from corn starch. Its production involves processing corn to yield corn syrup, followed by treatment to convert some of its glucose into fructose. 

HFCS provides the primary sweet taste in Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup. While it is plant derived and technically vegan, it is often criticized for its health implications due to its high fructose content.

Corn syrup

Corn Syrup, like HFCS, is also derived from corn starch. However, it maintains its original glucose form without any conversion into fructose. It contributes to the sweetness and texture of the product. It is plant based and, therefore, vegan.


Water is used to adjust the consistency of Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup, ensuring it is fluid enough to be poured yet thick enough for a satisfying texture. It is vegan.


Cocoa, derived from the beans of the cacao plant, provides the characteristic chocolate flavor in Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup. The process of producing cocoa involves fermenting, drying, and roasting cacao beans. Cocoa is plant based and, thus, vegan.


Sugar in Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup contributes additional sweetness to the product. Sugar originates from either sugarcane or sugar beets. 

While plant derived, not all sugar is considered vegan due to some refining processes that use bone char, an animal product. However, Hershey’s states that its sugar is sourced from suppliers that do not use bone char, making the sugar, at least, vegan friendly.

Potassium sorbate

Potassium Sorbate is a preservative used to extend the shelf life of Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup. It prevents the growth of mold, yeast, and fungi. It is a salt of sorbic acid, which is synthetically made and considered vegan.


Salt enhances the flavor of the product and may also act as a preservative. It is obtained from sea water or rock deposits and is completely vegan.

Mono- and diglycerides

Mono- and Diglycerides are emulsifiers, helping to blend ingredients together that would otherwise separate, such as oil and water. They can be derived from animal fats, vegetable oils, or synthetically produced. Hershey’s does not specify the source, making it potentially non-vegan.

Xanthan gum

Xanthan Gum is a thickener that enhances the texture of Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup. It is produced by fermenting a sugar source with a bacterium, Xanthomonas campestris. It is vegan.

Polysorbate 60

Polysorbate 60 is another type of emulsifier that helps maintain a consistent texture in the product. It is made from sorbitol, a sugar alcohol, and stearic acid, which can be derived from either animal or plant sources. Without a clear indication from Hershey’s, this ingredient is potentially non-vegan.


Vanillin is an artificial flavoring agent that adds a hint of vanilla taste to Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup. It is synthetically produced and is vegan.

Artificial flavor

The term “Artificial Flavor” is a catch-all for various flavoring agents. These are typically lab-synthesized and designed to mimic or enhance natural flavors. While generally considered vegan, the vague nature of this label leaves room for uncertainty.

Vegan Alternatives to Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup

While Hershey’s syrup may not cater to all vegans, there’s no need to sacrifice the sweet taste of chocolate syrup on your ice cream and other desserts. Here are a few vegan alternatives:

  • Ah!Laska Organic Chocolate Syrup: Dairy-free, gluten-free, and nut-free, this syrup offers a rich, real chocolate taste using organic and vegan-friendly ingredients.
  • Nature’s Charm Chocolate Fudge Sauce: A delectable syrup that’s not only vegan but also gluten-free, using cocoa powder and natural flavors.
  • Santa Cruz Organic Chocolate Flavored Syrup: Made from organic sugar, this syrup is vegan and offers a delicious, sweet treat for all to enjoy.


Hershey’s, a brand synonymous with chocolate, unfortunately, does not offer a vegan version of their popular chocolate syrup. The presence of dairy products, such as skim milk, renders these syrups non-vegan. However, the company does provide some vegan options like their strawberry syrup.

It’s essential to understand that Hershey’s does not guarantee cruelty-free practices across their food product range. For those committed to a vegan lifestyle, there are alternative options available in the market, offering the sweet joy of chocolate syrup without any compromise.