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Chocolate On The Road: The Rise of Milk Alternatives

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“I look at my sister’s kids… and I think that the chocolate that we’re making today is the kind of nostalgia that I want to give them, because I think it’s a better system for the future.”

-Joshua Rosen, Founder of Charm School Chocolate

Coconut milk chocolate has become a pretty standard part of any craft chocolate maker’s lineup of offerings. Yet the list of plant-based milks seems to grow every day. From nuts & legumes to fruits & grains, there’s an option for every dietary requirement, none of which ever touch a cow. This wave of milk alternatives has finally hit the chocolate industry in a big way, with some large-scale chocolate manufacturers even releasing vegan chocolate lines.

So what does this movement mean for the chocolate industry, and the planet as a whole? To find some answers to this question, I spoke with the founder of a vegan chocolate brand, and a decades-old chocolate company with a large range of vegan chocolates. Today’s episode asks how we can expand the definition of chocolate in a sustainable and delicious way.

To read an article related to this episode, click here.

Topics We Cover

  • background on powdered milk & the dairy industry
  • reasons for shifting away from milk products
  • defining veganism & “vegan” products
  • the power of nostalgia in maintaining various foods
  • greenwashing in chocolate
  • legal definitions of chocolate & how they affect vegan alternatives
  • waves of societal change which have contributed to demand for non-dairy chocolates
  • the logistics of experimenting with milk alternatives for chocolate
  • the effects of climate change upon our food systems and consumption choices
  • how large chocolate manufacturers will play a role in our shift away from dairy

Show Timeline

0:00-2:40~ Episode introduction to milk and the dairy industry, and the idea of plant-based alternatives.

2:40-15:40~ Joshua Rosen on the building of & reception of his company back in the early 2010’s, and expanding people’s understanding of milk chocolates in a sustainable manner. Plus, defining “greenwashing” as it relates to the growth of non-dairy milk chocolates.

15:40-32:05~ Julia Zotter on the development & expansion of Zotter’s vegan chocolate line, the role of societal pressure in expanding plant-based milks in mass-market chocolates, and a primer on the chemistry of milk chocolate production.

32:05-36:56~ Final words on the future of non-dairy milk chocolate production from Joshua Rosen, and the creation of sustainable systems for the future. Also, the end of the episode.

Packaging of fully vegan milk chocolate from Charm School Chocolate in the USA.

More About Our Guests

Joshua Rosen: Founder of Charm School Chocolate, a longstanding vegan chocolate company based in Baltimore, MD, USA. Check out Charm School’s Website, Instagram, and Facebook.

Julia Zotter: Second-generation chocolate maker & creative director at her family’s chocolate company, Zotter Chocolate. Check out Zotter’s Facebook, Instagram, and Website.

Further Reading

Connect With Chocolate On The Road

On Instagram@chocolateontheroad

On Facebook: @chocolateontheroad

Show music is Roadtrip by Phil Reavis, and our transition music is We’re Gonna Be Around by People Like Us & Multiple songs by Lobo Loco. Also includes clips of “Too_Grimy” by Yung Kartz ( of and “Homeroad” by Kai Engel ( of

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