Is Yoohoo Vegan?

Yoo-hoo can not be termed as chocolate milk. Essentially, it is a chocolate water kind of thing. Is this beverage product appropriate for plant-based consumers? We will explain about that in our article since many consumers want to know whether this product is suitable for vegans or for vegetarians.

Is it vegan or vegetarian? Although Yoo-hoo is a non-vegan product, it is also suitable for Lactoor Lacto-Ovo vegetarians. It is not exactly as chocolate milk, but it has some milk ingredients like whey protein that makes it inappropriate for 100% plant-based eaters.

We will now try to understand why Yoo-hoo is not for vegans and which is the best alternative for vegans who want a Yoo-hoo product meant for them.

Why Yoo-Hoo is Non-Vegan

Yoo-Hoo Contains Milk Proteins

Here is a basic hierarchy of chocolate milk drink product:

  • Full-fat vitamin D chocolate milk. This stuff is absolutely rich. It was our favorite milk-based drink before starting a vegan diet, and we are still waiting for a suitable vegan replacement. We are yet to find one. It is just like a milkshake product.
  • 2% chocolate milk. This type of product is richer and creamier due to ingredients like vegetable gums etc. but is not full-fat chocolate milk.
  • 1% chocolate milk. It’s a little less creamy but still tastes better.
  • Fat-free chocolate milk. This chocolate milk is mainly water. It has become creamier than earlier thanks to the modern food-processing technology.

Ok. Yoo-hoo is a combination of water and dairy derivatives and is positioned between fat-free chocolate milk and a mixture of chocolate syrup and water.

As on date, Yoo-hoo is mostly made of water, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), &whey. It also contains small amounts of casein (as calcium caseinate).

More specifically, its ingredients include

  • Water
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
  • Whey (from Milk)
  • Cocoa Processed with Alkali
  • Non-Fat Dry Milk
  • Natural and Artificial Ingredients
  • Sodium Caseinate (from Milk)
  • Corn Syrup Solids
  • Calcium Phosphate
  • Dipotassium Phosphate
  • Palm Oil
  • Guar Gum
  • Xanthan Gum
  • Monoglycerides and Diglycerides
  • Salt
  • Spice
  • Soy Lecithin
  • Sucralose
  • Vitamin Fortification

You can see here that in this mix we have non-fat dry milk which is largely milk proteins. The fat is removed from the milk and water mixture leaving little protein and lactose.

The manufacturers in the food industry separate the ingredients of milk to use in improving the properties in processed foods.

In order to improve the nutritional value of processed food products, they usually add milk proteins.

Casein and account for approx. 80% and 20% of the proteins in milk, respectively.

Casein helps in stabilizing and emulsifying ingredients, whereas whey protein helps in gelling properties.

Milk is used extensively in the food processing industry in order to improve protein contents, mixing ability, moisture levels, foaming, flavor, and texture, etc.

Yoo-Hoo Contains Non-Vegan Vitamin D3

Yoo-hoo cannot be considered a staple of the human diet. In order to make it a suitable replacement for milk, fortified vitamins are further added in the drink to improve nutritional value.

Following micronutrients are indicated on the ingredients panel:

  • Niacinamide (Vitamin B3)
  • Vitamin A Palmitate
  • Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
  • Cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3)

Vitamin D3 is always non-vegan due to the presence of lanolin whereas vitamin D2 is derived from UV-exposed mushrooms.

Lanolin also knows as wool wax or wool grease is a wax-like substance secreted by the sebaceous glands of wool animals.

The wax is a rich source of 7-dehydro-cholesterol, which is used for producing vitamin D3 via irradiation with UV light. Hence, PETA classifies it as a non-vegan ingredient.

Vitamin D3 may also be obtained from lichen which is an ordinary plant that grows on walls, rocks or trees.

But, this type of D3 is not used to fortify beverages i.e. you’ll only discover it in specialty products like vegan dietary supplements.

What About Other Yoo-Hoo Varieties?

You might have noticed that Yoo-hoo has put up several variations of the original product over the last few years. E.g. Chocolate PB, chocolate caramel, etc. even a chocolate banana flavor.

None of these variants can be categorized as a vegan.

For example, Yoo-hoo Strawberry contains

  • Water, HFCS, and Whey
  • Non-Fat Dry Milk
  • Natural and Artificial Flavors
  • Corn Syrup Solids
  • Sodium Caseinate
  • Calcium Phosphate and Dipotassium Phosphate
  • Palm Oil
  • Guar and Xanthan Gums
  • Emulsifiers (Soy Lecithin, Mono- and Diglycerides)
  • Sucralose
  • Vitamin Fortification
  • Artificial Colors (Red 40, Red 3, and Blue 1)

There are many other types of flavors available, but they’re some combination of ingredients like water, HFCS, preservatives, emulsifiers, flavorings, and non-fat dry milk, dairy proteins.

Vegan Yoo-Hoo Replacements

If Yoo-hoo is one of your favorites, you’ll be happy to know that vegan chocolate milk is an excellent replacement, as it tastes like chocolate-flavored water.

Vegan chocolate milk is produced from plant milk which is mainly made of water with small amounts of water-soluble components that leach from the plants (for example almonds or soybeans) into the aqueous medium.

Low-fat milk, Yoo-hoo, and these products contain vegetable gums so as to increase the viscosity of the final product.

You may like to test some products to find the one which is as per your liking.

For example, in the case of chocolate cashew milk, you won’t be able to distinguish it from Yoo-hoo in a blind taste test.

You may want to try out a few. There are almond, soy varieties.

Silk’s 90 calorie chocolate cashew milk contains

  • Cashewmilk (Filtered Water, Cashews)
  • Cane Sugar
  • Cocoa (Dutch Process)
  • Sea Salt
  • Locust Bean Gum
  • Almond Butter
  • Sunflower Lecithin
  • Natural Flavor
  • Gellan Gum
  • Ascorbic Acid

That was the factual vegan status of Yoo-hoo. Thanks for reading.


  1. Yoo-hoo.
  2. YOO-HOO CHOCOLATE DRINK. Nutrition per 15.5 fl oz.
  3. Chandan R. Dairy-Based Ingredients. Eagen Press, 1997.
  4. Lanolin.
  5. Animal-derived Ingredients Resource: Living.
  6. YOO-HOO.COM. YOO-HOO STRAWBERRY DRINK. Nutrition per 6.5 fl oz.
  7. Silk Cashew Chocolate Non-Dairy Cashewmilk, Half Gallon.


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