The NZ Vegan Chocolate Awards

Celebrating the many different vegan chocolates available in New Zealand

Vegan Chocolate Awards

Welcome to NZ’s Vegan Chocolate Awards - 2023

The Vegan Society of Aotearoa New Zealand is proud to present our very first Vegan Chocolate Awards! With so many new and outstanding vegan chocolate offerings available, vegans certainly don’t have to miss out on their chocolate hit! We thought it was about time we discovered some of NZ’s best and have found some dedicated judges to help us choose!

For many years vegans could only chose dark chocolate to eat. Whilst dark chocolate is the most healthy form of chocolate, being low in sugar and containing lower fat than milk varieties, people just love the addition of milk and sugar to increase the taste factor. We are so blessed to now have not just plant milk chocolates, but also caramels, inclusions (with bits of fruit, nuts etc), flavoured chocolates, filled centres and bon bons. How fortunate are we to live in such times!

The first vegan chocolate competition were held in April 2022 and judging took place at The Butcher’s Son in Auckland.

If you want a heads up on some of the delicious vegan chocolate available, check out our dedicated chocolate page!

Who knew there were so many different vegan chocolates to choose from? Well now you do! Our awards are open to overseas companies, but we foresee our own local brands being a huge hit with the judges, especially in the Bean to Bar category.


  • Dark Chocolate bars
  • Milk Chocolate bars (plant milk only)
  • Chocolate Bars; flavoured/ inclusions
  • Filled chocolate Bon Bons and Truffles
  • Caramels
  • Bean to Bar; dark milk/ subs/ flavoured
  • Drinking Chocolate
  • Supreme

The Vegan trademark accepts chocolate that is processed on a factory line shared with dairy chocolate, in compliance with Good Manufacturing Practices.  All chocolate entered in our awards must be commercially available.

Meet the judges

Helping you know the best vegan chocolate in Aotearoa.
Flores Niu chocolate awards judge
Luke Owen Smith
aaron Pucci
Jasbir Kaur
Volker-Marecek sausage judge

Floris Niu is a fourth generation Samoan Cacao farmer, processor and Chocolate-maker. She’s the founder of Ms Sunshine Organic Farms which operates Cacao Agritourism experiences on Upolu island. She is co-creator of the “Koko Beans” brand of vegan chocolate snacks and the recent “Pacific Cacao and Chocolate 2022” show.

Floris is also an international cacao consultant working on various projects to support cacao communities in Samoa and the Solomon Islands. Floris loves to create new and exciting ways to consume pure cacao in savoury and sweet recipes, and shares her knowledge with women growers in the Pacific. Her passion is working to increase consumer awareness and education specifically on Pacific Island Cacao beans, promoting ethical and traditional (organic) farming practices.

New Zealand’s leading craft chocolate expert, a regular judge at the NZ Chocolate Awards, and founder of The Chocolate Bar, NZ’s premiere craft chocolate retailer. Luke has been promoting high quality and ethical chocolate for years, and has written about it for Cuisine, Dish Magazine and Kia Ora. Luke was the co-founder of New Zealand’s first craft chocolate festival, Chocstock, and he has organised many events and talks over the past seven years, to support the blossoming bean-to-bar chocolate movement.

Aaron Pucci has clocked up 25 years in the food and beverage manufacturing industry. His trusted palate has earned him numerous seats on judging panels for awards in New Zealand and Australia over 15 years. As a dedicated chocolate consumer Aaron is always on the lookout for new brands and products ~ especially those that are breaking new ground. Aaron’s ‘food for thought’ is a desire for more manufacturers to take up the challenge of sustainable food operations and reducing their carbon footprint

Multi-award-winning executive chef & trainer, TV personality, creative head and chef of the new series “Ignite the Chef in You” and President of the NZ Chef Association Auckland, Chef Jazz is an external verifier for City and Guilds, UK. She has been judging in New Zealand’s Regional and National culinary salon competitions for the past nine years and is deputy chief judge for the Hospitality Championships. She has worked in top hotels and restaurants in five countries – USA, UK, India, New Zealand and Spain.

Chris Kinnell is an Auckland based entrepreneur, restaurateur and foodie. Chris founded the award winning and internationally acclaimed 100% plant based restaurant The Butcher’s Son in Herne Bay.

Volker has worked around the globe in Germany, Ireland, United Kingdom, Australia, Estonia and now New Zealand. He has been Cordis Auckland’s Executive Chef since 2009 and has helped the hotel navigate many changes, as well as planning for an increase in demand with an additional 244 rooms in our Pinnacle Tower and banqueting rooms accommodating up to 1,300 guests. In this role Volker manages a brigade of over 60 chefs and retention and colleague satisfaction is higher than the industry average in this team.


Developing the award winning concept of Eight Restaurant, Cordis Auckland’s High Tea is recognised as one of the best in New Zealand and Volker designs, creates and delivers the menu for this, with a new offering each quarter.

Read about us in the Media



With a surging interest in plant-based foods, the time for Vegan Chocolate Awards has come to fruition. Plant milk chocolates are becoming ever more popular and the range and quality is increasing every year. Not just bars either, the rise in bon bons, truffles, inclusions and flavoured chocolate suitable for vegans, those allergic to dairy and everyone else is being celebrated in these awards…read more >>


Fleming Farming

The Vegan Society Aotearoa held the first ever Vegan Chocolate Awards on 29th April at The Butcher’s Son in Auckland. With over 100 different chocolate entries the illustrious judges had a tasty, yet difficult task ahead of them. Chocolate makers from all over the world entered the Awards with the hope of becoming a winner in one of 7 categories and Foundry, with their “Kilombero Valley Tanzania”, winner of the Bean to Bar category, was the overall Supreme winner in this inaugural year…read more >>

FMCG Business

Who makes the best vegan chocolates? …

Food Ticker

Chocolate makers from all over the world entered the Vegan Society Aotearoa’s first Vegan Chocolate Awards with the hope of becoming a winner in one of seven categories…read more >>

Good Magazine

With over 100 different chocolate entries the illustrious judges had a tasty, yet difficult task ahead of them…read more >>


The 2022 Awards are the first from the Vegan Society of Aotearoa New Zealand and recognise the incredible growth and variety available to vegan chocolate fans. In deciding winners, judges tasted as many as 36 different bars in each category…read more >>


The secret to making vegan chocolate is only using two ingredients…read more >>