Maybe they dropped Futura cause of that weird-looking question mark. Ikea’s Milk Chocolate and Hazelnut flavors have dairy, but Mörk’s ingredients are all vegan.
Ikea restaurants are pretty great places to eat. The views are killer (at least in Red Hook and South Philly, the only Ikeas I’ve eaten at recently) and the food is dirt cheap. While they’re not all that vegan-friendly, I’m quite happy with getting french fries, salad, coffee, and a veggie wrap, all for about $6.
I’d also become quite a fan of Ikea’s dark chocolate, Choklad Mörk, which boasts all-vegan ingredients and a respectable enough 60% cocoa content, and is a pretty good deal at 100g for 99¢. After a year or so of eating Mörk, I took a closer look at the nutrition info and was shocked to discover 4mg cholesterol per serving listed in the nutritional information panel.
I always thought dietary cholesterol only occurred in animal products. Yet all of the listed ingredients are vegan. Is there some animal ingredient in the chocolate that is not listed, or is the nutritional breakdown incorrect? (I am assuming that the “may contain traces of egg and milk protein” refers only to shared manufacturing equipment and would not account for such a significant amount of cholesterol being present.) A bit of internet researching reveals that plants do contain a small amount of cholesterol. But it’s a tiny amount.
The Curious Waveform blog cites a study in the Journal of Chemical Education which claims this is uncommon knowledge even amongst chemists, and points out that “the USDA does not state the existence of cholesterol when it is less than 2 mg/serving, which is the case with plant products.”
As Dina Aronson wrote as VegFamily.com “the ratio of plant cholesterol to plant fat in foods is one to 20,000. If we try to measure the ratio of plant cholesterol to the total weight of plants, it would be one in several million. That’s why we round the cholesterol number to ZERO when reporting the nutritional components of food.” (Though elsewhere in another of her undated columns she states “the only way to get dietary cholesterol is from animal products”.)
OK, so I learned some science. But how the hell could plant ingredients equal 4mg of cholesterol per 33⅓g serving?
I wrote to email@example.com and asked them about it. A few messages back and forth with Ikea Food representative Josefine Hallberg didn’t help clear things up much. Here’s the salient parts of her responses:
The dark chocolate contains a relatively high amount of saturated fat and thereof comes the small amount of cholesterol that is listed in the ingredients list. The total amount of cholesterol per 100g chocolate is 11mg.
We have been in contact with our supplier of the chocolate and they affirm that the saturated fat comes from cocoa butter, so this has to be seen as vegetarian. The supplier also affirm that they do not add something which is not on the ingredient list.
No, the nutritional analysis is correct. The supplier confirms that the saturated fat (from cocoa butter) contains a small amount of cholesterol (11mg/100g chocolate).
Does this make any sense? Are you (or do you know) a chemist or food scientist or nurtitionist who can help explain what’s going on here?