Is Bournville Vegan?

Is Bournville Vegan

When it comes to vegan food, it can often be quite difficult to find suitable snacks to satisfy a sweet tooth. While fruit and other healthy options are great, sometimes only vegan chocolate will do.

While there are some fantastic vegan-friendly options of chocolate available, you may be wondering whether or not some of the more popular brands offer vegan options. 

Cadbury is one of the most popular chocolate brands here in the UK and unfortunately, they do not offer a wide range of vegan options yet. However, they do sell Bournville, which is dark chocolate. 

Often dark chocolate can be vegan friendly, which is great. But, is Bournville vegan?

The answer to this question is not quite as simple as it may seem, as Bournville both is and is not suitable for vegans. In this article, we will delve into this question in more detail.

History of Bournville Chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, Cadbury certainly knows how to make it. They are the best chocolate creators in the world. Their signature Bournville chocolate has been available to purchase for over 100 years.

As Cadbury describes it on their website, it has an “intensely rich aroma and deliciously dark flavour”.  

While dark chocolate does not appeal to everyone’s tastes, we think that it is a brilliant choice. Dark chocolate does not usually include milk or other animal by-products in its ingredients which is great if you are vegan. 


To answer the question of whether or not Bournville chocolate is vegan or not, let’s take a look at the full list of ingredients. These are the ingredients stated on the Cadbury website:

  • Sugar
  • Cocoa butter
  • Cocoa mass
  • Vegetable fats (palm, shea)
  • Emulsifier (“soya lecithin”)

It states that the chocolate may contain nuts and wheat. In addition to this it also clearly states that this chocolate is not suitable for someone with a milk allergy, which is interesting. 

Given that the ingredients list is vegan friendly (bar one exception which we will discuss further in this article), it does make you question why Cadbury states that it is not suitable for those with a milk allergy.

When we delved into this further, the reasoning behind Bournville not being suitable for those with a milk allergy is due to cross-contamination. Companies have to ensure that they state any potential allergy contaminations on the packaging of their food.

This is a similar reason to why it states that it may contain nuts. However, saying something may contain an ingredient is different from saying that it is not suitable for allergy sufferers.

Cadbury has stated that this is due to the fact that they cannot measure exactly how much cross-contamination, if any, occurs.

This is why it is difficult to know whether or not Bournville is vegan friendly. Technically the ingredients are safe to consume, but the risk of potential cross-contamination is prevalent. This is why Bournville chocolate is not listed specifically as vegan friendly. 

Palm Oil

As we mentioned above, there is another ingredient in Bournville that does spark concern within the vegan community. Although the chocolate is plant-based, many vegans choose not to eat palm oil. 

One of the ingredients listed in Bournville is Vegetable fats, which includes palm. This is short for palm oil. While in theory palm oil is perfectly fine to consume in that it does not contain any animal or animal by-products, it is difficult to source sustainably.

This is an environmental issue that affects animals in a wider way. When palm oil is gathered, it is often not entirely ethically sourced. If you are unsure what palm oil is, it is sourced from the fruit that grows on oil palm trees. The oil is extracted by crushing the fruit kernel. 

While palm oil trees were initially native to Africa, they can now be found in Malaysia, and Indonesia too. There are over 40 countries in total now that produce palm oil.

Palm oil can be found in thousands of different foods, and as it is such a popular oil, it is constantly in high demand. When there is a demand, often the sources are used and found in non-ethical ways. 

As palm oil trees make up many forests around the world, naturally they are home to hundreds of different species that make these trees their home and habitat.

The more in demand palm oil is, the more these trees are being cut down which leads to deforestation and starts to affect the animal’s habitat. 

With so many endangered species such as the Orangutan living in these forests, it is clear to see why so many vegans are against eating anything containing palm oil. In addition to this, there are also issues surrounding child labour and workers being treated unfairly. 

It is worth noting that there are ways in which palm oil can be sustainably sourced, however. The Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) works hard to ensure this. If you see their logo on certain food products, you know that the palm oil has been taken from a sustainable source. 

So while the use of palm oil is not inherently non-vegan, the methods in which it is extracted unless RSPO certified can have a knock-on effect on the world’s wildlife. While not all vegans eat palm oil-free, many do, so it is worth noting that Bournville does contain this.


We hope that you have found this article useful. As you can see, Bournville is technically okay for vegans to eat. However, the answer of yes is not always as simple.

While the ingredients contain no animal or animal by-products, the risk of Bournville being potentially contaminated with milk cannot be fully ruled out.

In addition to this, Bournville does contain palm oil, which many vegans will choose not to consume. It is worth noting that it does not state on the Cadbury website whether or not the palm oil that is used is RSPO certified, which is worth keeping in mind.