Vegan to Dairy Free

Plant-based claims made easy
Vegan Mini Donuts

Vegan to Dairy Free

Plant-based claims made easy
Always wondered what the fine line was between vegan, dairy free and all the other plant-related claims out there? Read our guide and become an expert.

3 main claims on the consumer pack

  • Plant-based: It describes products made from plants only, without animal ingredients (beyond dairy, can be e.g. eggs). So the right recipe/ingredient list is a sufficient requirement to make this claim. 
  • Vegan, or Suitable for Vegan: Similar to plant-based, it describes products made without animal ingredients and without the use of animal-derived products. Again, we are only looking at the ingredient list here. Whether the production environment has dairy in it from other products does not make a difference.* 
  • Dairy Free: Next to no dairy ingredients in the recipe, these products are made in a fully-segregated environment i.e. no dairy is used in the manufacturing area. Please note that a dairy free product might not always be vegan or entirely plant-based, in case other non-dairy animal ingredients are used, e.g. eggs.

*Unless it’s a vegan certification, then some requirements might be in place. See more on certifications below.

Infographics_Website article_PlantCraft
Source: Barry Callebaut proprietary consumer survey, fielded digitally in November 2021 using Qualtrics

Precautionary allergen labelling

Have you ever noticed “May contain milk” on packs?

Sometimes even if there is no milk in the recipe, there is a certain amount of it present in the end product due to the production environment in which other, milk-containing, products are made. For example the production lines are used for other milk-containing products.

However, milk can result in a food allergy or food intolerance.  Therefore its involuntary (i.e. not recipe-related) presence in a product has to be flagged. That is what the “May contain milk” statement is for.

There are 2 scenarios:

  1. Milk contamination is high enough to cause an allergy. In this case PAL (“Precautionary allergen labelling”) is used: “May contain milk”
  2. Milk contamination is below allergy-dangerous levels (sometimes even below detectable levels). In that case no PAL is needed.
Plant-based chocolate praline box

So what are the possible claims to consider when launching a plant-based innovation?

The options you have will be a combination of a consumer positioning claim (Vegan, Plant-based, Dairy free) with an allergen warning, i.e.

  1. Dairy-Free: No dairy in the ingredient list, made in a segregated environment. By definition no “May contain milk” statement will be needed.  
  2. Vegan or Plant-based, without “May contain milk”  statement: No animal ingredients in the recipe, including but not limited to dairy. Dairy traces below allergy causing levels, thanks to either fully segregated or strictly controlled production environment. We refer to it as “Vegan No PAL” (no Precautionary allergen labelling).
  3. Vegan or Plant-based, with “May contain milk” warning, in case dairy contamination from the environment  is high enough to cause an allergy.

To reinforce your plant-based claims you can also have your products certified by one of the 17 international vegan labels, such as V-label or Vegan Society.


Note: Some vegan certifications require a specific contamination limit. For example, the V-label (see above) requires <1g of dairy / kg of end product.

Claims in the Plant Craft Pop Up store

In our store you will find up to 6 different icons next to each treat. They indicate the possible claims on the consumer end product when these recipes are reproduced in an industrial environment:

  • If the producer respects the requirements behind the claim on their production site
  • With the ingredients that Barry Callebaut can supply in the right quality for the claim

For example, all of the treats are made with plant-based ingredients only. Therefore plant-based and vegan claims are possible for all of them (if no animal ingredients are added to the industrial recipe). 

If there is Vegan No PAL claim (Vegan No Precautionary Allergen Labelling), it means all Barry Callebaut ingredients used in the recipe do not carry a “May contain milk” statement. However, to be able to skip the “May contain milk” statement on their end product, the producer would need to make sure all other ingredients as well as their production site comply too. 

Same with Dairy Free, all our ingredients that went into the recipe come from our completely segregated Dairy Free sites. As long as the producer’s site is also segregated and they buy all other ingredients Dairy Free, it will be a relevant claim for on the pack. 

Certification icons (V-Label, Vegan Society) suggest the products would comply with their requirements as long as indicated BC ingredients are used. Please note however that you would need to get your end product certified before using the certifications on pack.

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Barry Callebaut’s PlantCraft range

To make the indulgent creations in our Pop Up store, our chefs worked with Plant Craft, our range of indulgent plant-based chocolates, fillings, nuts, decorations and inclusions. All of them meet the requirements between one or more plant-based claims. Watch the video to find out more about the claims, or follow the link for more insights on the portfolio.

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