Are Hershey Kisses Vegan?

Hershey’s Kisses is presumably the best brand of chocolate from The Hershey Company. Like many other food products, chocolate can be vegan but usually contain animal products, specifically dairy products.

We get many queries if Hershey’s Kissesvegan-friendly. If the classic Kisses are non-vegan, are there any variations (e.g., dark) that are suitable for 100% plant-based eaters.

Are they vegan? Hershey Kisses are categorized as non-vegan. Original Kisses product has milk chocolate, i.e., milk products like milk, fat, milk solids, etc. The dark chocolate also contains dairy. Hence, neither the milk chocolate product nor the dark ones are suitable for vegans.

We will check why Hershey’s Kisses are non-vegan and also find our if any other variety is suitable for 100% plant-based eaters.

Why Hershey’s Kisses Are Non-Vegan

Original Hershey’s Kisses

They’re made of milk chocolate.

Ingredients include

  • Cane Sugar
  • Milk
  • Chocolate
  • Cocoa Butter
  • Milkfat
  • Lecithin
  • Natural Flavors

You can easily catch a piece of chocolate candy by is lighter appearance. Not all chocolates with darker colors are vegan, but lighter ones are almost always milk-based except specialty products like the Milk-less bar.

The food manufacturers add milk to naturally dark cocoa solids, to give them an overall lighter appearance.

Solid chocolate is mixed with liquid milk, milk powder, or condensed milk. All these are lighter in color as compared to the cocoa solids.

There are many regulations to prevent non-dairy chocolates form marketing them as milk chocolates.

The USA government stipulates a 10% concentration of chocolate liquor, a minimum of 12% by weight of milk solids, and 3.39% by weight of milkfat.

European Union has similar regulations. They require a minimum of 20-25% of cocoa solids to qualify as “milk chocolate.”

Anything less than that resembles white chocolates.

White Chocolate (Hershey’s Hugs)

The white chocolate variety is known as called Hugs, a variation of the original Kiss brand.

Hugs are not genuinely white chocolates, as a stripe pattern of white chocolate and milk chocolate is shown hugging each other.

They also have a core of milk chocolate.

They are non-vegan, as the milk chocolate is dairy-based (as discussed earlier). Moreover, it contains milk fat and milk solids also.

Ingredients for Hugs include

  • Sugar, Corn Syrup Solids
  • Milk, Skim Milk, Lactose (Milk Sugar)
  • Fat Source (Cocoa Butter, Milk Fat)
  • Lecithin and PGPR (Emulsifiers/Surfactants)
  • Natural Flavors, Artificial Flavor (Vanillin)
  • Plant Oils (Vegetable, Palm/Palm Kernel, Sunflower, Safflower, and Shea)
  • Tocopherols (for Freshness)

Again, white chocolate is dairy-based and can never be considered vegan. There are some vegan white chocolate options in the market, but they cannot be termed as right white chocolate, because their ingredients are not in the correct proportion to quality as white.

To be considered as white chocolate, the FDA requires confections to have a minimum weight of 3.5%, 14%, and 20% for milk fat, milk solids, and cocoa butter, respectively. Also, the chocolates can not have weight more than 55% sugar or other sweeteners.

The right ingredients for white chocolate are milk, sugar, cocoa butter, vanillin, and lecithin, flavors.

Dark Chocolate Kisses

This could be considered vegan. Because dark chocolate is not mandated by law to use milk products.

They do contain milk components.

Ingredients include

  • Sugar
  • Chocolate
  • Cocoa Butter
  • Milk Fat
  • Cocoa Processed With Alkali
  • Lecithin
  • Natural Flavors
  • Milk

Why do they make use of milk if they are not required to? Well, milk gives many important properties in candy making. It adds to taste and provides chocolate a smooth feel in the mouth. In unprocessed chocolate, the original saturated content is cocoa butter.

Cocoa butter is quite brittle, but many consumers prefer a smooth texture.

Hershey’s has a name for being smooth and creamy, and for becoming vegan or for helping allergic people, they can’t just drop these significant features.


Do we have any vegan alternatives to Hershey’s Kisses?

No vegan chocolate could ever take the place of a signature taste and texture of Hershey’s Kisses.

Vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips made by Enjoy Life may be considered, but they’re just regular dark chocolates.

Expert sources tell about Hershey’s proprietary process that they get the milk partially lipolysis to make butyric acid, and pasteurized the milk to stabilize.

This process might be giving their product a characteristic taste that we like so much.

That is why some competitors now use butyric acid while making chocolates.

We were unable to find any vegan chocolates that could resemble Kisses in shape, taste, or texture. We will add them here if we ever see any such product

That’s was the fact file for the vegan status of Hershey’s Kisses. Thanks for reading.


  1. Smart Label, Hershey’s Kisses.
  2. Types of Chocolate.
  3. CFR – Code Of Federal Regulations Title 21.
  4. Lex Access To European Union Law.
  5. Smart Label, Hershey’s Hugs.
  6. “Title 21 Chapter I Subchapter B Part 163 of the Code of Federal Regulations”. United States Government Publishing Office. 24 February 2017.

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