Everyone enjoys opening a packet of After Eight Mint Chocolate Thins and sharing them around the table; especially at Christmas time. After Eights are often thought of as a great gift to bring to dinner, though not everyone may be able to enjoy them. Unfortunately After Eights are not vegan. Read on to learn why.
Manufactured by Nestle, After Eight is a confectionery made with a thin dark chocolate wafer, flavored with peppermint fondant, also referred to as a ‘thin mint’.
The description of 100% pure peppermint oil and dark chocolate would easily lead someone to assume that After Eights are vegan; but this is not the case.
Is Nestle cruelty-free? No, Nestle openly admits to routinely testing food products on animals. This includes consenting to further animal testing in order to market and sell Nestle products in China.
The good news is that there are many delicious vegan and cruelty-free chocolates available including peppermint chocolate varieties that are plant-based and organic!
Vegomm score: 10%
- Brand is certified cruelty-free: NO
- Brand offers a selection of vegan products: YES
- Animal testing: YES
- Parent company sells other brands in China: YES
- Parent company tests other brands on animals: YES
Are After Eight Chocolate Mints Vegan?
After Eights are not a vegan chocolate. Because they contain milk, After Eights can be considered as suitable for vegetarians. Let’s take a look at the Nestle After Eight Chocolate Mint Thins recipe.
What are the After Eight ingredients: Sugar, Cocoa Mass, Glucose Syrup, Cocoa Butter, Butterfat (from Milk), Emulsifier (Sunflower lecithin), Natural Peppermint Oil, Citric Acid, Stabiliser (Invertase). For allergens, including cereals containing gluten see ingredients in bold.
The addition of Butterfat or Buttermilk is the reason After Eights are not suitable for vegans.
Are After Eight Chocolate Mints Cruelty-Free?
Definitely not. Nestle are widely known for their acceptance and participation in testing their food products on animals. Nestle continues to tell its consumers that animal testing is 100% nessecary in certain cases for the safety of their new product lines. In contrast, the brand also states on their website that they share the consumers concerns for minimising animal-testing and then offer the brands policy on animal testing. If you would like to read the Nestle Animal Testing Policy PDF it is available to download here.
Animal Testing Policy: According to Nestle, the company claims it does not test all ingredients on animals stating: "Nestle does not use animal testing to develop the conventional foods and drinks that are sold in shops and supermarkets, such as coffee, tea, cereal and chocolate.” However, when we look further, we can see that marketing statements like this are misleading for consumers.
Here is why: “While Nestlé’s final tea products may not be tested on animals, the ingredients of Nestlé’s tea product including Nestea have been repeatedly tested on animals, according to published studies.” - PETA. Furthermore, none of Nestlé’s published tea studies on animals that PETA identified involved tests for safety of the ingredients; meaning that Nestea’s “safety” claims are false. Could the same thing be happening with ingredients for chocolate or confectionery products?
The brand continues by stating: “We have to use animal testing when it is required as part of the regulatory authorization process to commercialize a product, during research and development of novel ingredients, or to show their safety.”
Nestle has been accused in many cases by animal rights groups, activists, the media, PETA, and the general public for it’s ongoing and inhuman testing procedures on animals. One such report was made by Express UK reporting that "The public will be shocked to learn that these well-known and familiar high street brands are involved in sickening experiments on animals. It is unacceptable that animals should be made to suffer by companies in an effort to make 'health benefit' claims about their products."
Importing products to China: Nestle continue to market and sell their products to China, a country known for its ongoing animal testing on imported goods inlcuding food and cosmetic items.
Which Nestle Chocolate Products Are Vegan?
In recent years, Nestle saw a 40% growth in sales in 2020 for it’s vegan product line. Consumers are demanding vegan options and Nestle are continuing to expand their vegan product line. Nestle has a vegetarian food company called Garden Gourmet in the UK which is known for providing a plant-based meat alternative.
While Nestle say they are “meeting the trend” of plant-based food with Europe's second-largest vegetarian company Garden Gourmet; other non-vegan items are also getting a makeover. Nestle household favourites like Carnation Milk, Nesquik, and Coffee Creamers now have a plant-based option thanks to consumer demand.
So how about vegan chocolate options? Nestle currently don’t have vegan chocolate options on the market but with the way the plant-based movement is going, it may not be too long before we see one on the supermarket shelf. However, until the company makes a shift towards ending their animal-testing policy, they remain far from ethical or cruelty-free and this is reason enough for vegans to look for a fairtrade, vegan certified product instead.
UK Vegan & Cruelty-Free Alternatives To After Eight Chocolate Mints
If you are looking for a nice, organic vegan chocolate brand or peppermint chocolate that is similar in taste to After Eight Chocolate Thins; you are in luck! Peppermint chocolate is certainly a popular flavor so there are many brands offering a vegan and organic option including chocolate, chocolate bites, cookies and ice-cream. Let’s take a look at three simple swaps you can make:
Montezuma's Royal Mint Dark Chocolate Peppermint
Montezuma’s Vegan Chocolate bars in Dark Chocolate Royal Mint are an amazing alternative to after dinner mints. Royal Mint is a 74% Cocoa chocolate bar with peppermint flavors and it is both vegan and organic! The packaging is good too because it is 100% recyclable, compostable and biodegradable. Montezuma’s have a wide variety of vegan chocolate bars including lime & sea salt, orange & geranium, cherry truffle, and coffee chocolate. Yum!
- Vegan friendly
- Dairy free
- Sustainable product packaging
Conscious Chocolate Mint Flavoured Peruvian Cacao Bars
Enjoy the delicious hand-crafted vegan peppermint chocolate bars made in the UK from ethical and organic ingredients. Conscious Chocolate are a vegan chocolate brand that are organically certified and suitable for coeliacs. Each bar is made from the finest Peruvian Cacao and sweetened without refined sugar but with sweetened coconut blossom. The packaging is also eco-friendly and fully compostable. The Conscious range has 16 unique flavours including goji, coconut and sour cherry; and they make great presents for vegans!
- Vegan friendly
- Dairy Free
- Soy Free
- Gluten Free
- Refined Sugar Free
Enjoy Chocolate Magical Mint Buttons
Developed by a Michelin Star trained chocolatier, the Enjoy Chocolate range have crafted these delicious chocolate buttons filled with mint caramel yet they are totally vegan! Made from raw cacao and all natural ingredients, the chocolate buttons are sweetened with coconut sugar and 70% cacao dark chocolate. The mission behind Enjoy Chocolate was to create options for anyone who loved traditional chocolate but suffered from food allergies and intolerances to dairy, gluten, soy and nuts.
- Certified Organic
- Raw Cacao Dark Chocolate
- Dairy Free
- Vegan Friendly
Buyers Guide To Vegan Chocolate
Chocolate has always been difficult to give up when going vegan so it is certainly a relief knowing that you can find delicious alternatives. In fact, chocolate is vegan because it comes from a plant! Derived from the pod of the cocoa tree, chocolate is actually good for you. High-quality chocolate should be free from dairy and additives and instead be a rich dark chocolate which is naturally sweetened.
Additives in chocolate you need to avoid:
- Milk Solids
- Milk Powder
- Milk Fat
- Further additional ingredients such as added sugar or synthetic flavorings making it highly processed and unhealthy
Instead look for:
- Cocoa powder
- Cocoa Butter
- Raw Cacao
- Vanilla (bean or non synthetic)
If you are searching for dairy-free chocolate, look for dark chocolate as opposed to the usual milk chocolate or white chocolate. Anything above 70% cocoa is usually free from milk and the bitter dark chocolate is packed with antioxidants!