The global vegan chocolate market is expected to reach $1.41 billion by 2028, registering a CAGR of 14.8%, according to Grand View Research. In this article, FoodBev samples the delights of the plant-based chocolate category.
Over the last couple of years, dairy-free chocolate has cemented its position in the confectionery market, due to its increasing ability to replicate the sweet and creamy taste of traditional milk chocolate. In recognition of this evolution, the World Plant-Based Awards has introduced a brand-new category for 2022 – Best plant-based chocolate!
The plant-based and flexitarian movements have continued on their upward trajectory, driven by consumer demand for healthier, more sustainable and animal-friendly products. But that does not mean adopters of a plant-based diet must sacrifice indulgence – and this is perhaps most evident in the dairy-free chocolate aisle.
That said, there is room for improvement. A 2021 global survey commissioned by Swiss chocolate producer Barry Callebaut found that less than half of respondents (45%) were happy with the current plant-based milk chocolate options on the market.
But where there is a challenge, there is an opportunity. And manufacturers have been innovating in this sector, improving and enhancing the taste and texture of their recipes in order to meet the demands of today’s discerning consumer.
The product runway is crowded with innovations as manufacturers reach for a slab of the growing alt-chocolate market.
In February, Barry Callebaut itself launched a dairy-free chocolate range. Designed specifically for chefs and artisans, the company says that Callebaut NXT is helping to fill a once empty space in the market.
Lindt recently unveiled its first vegan chocolate bar range, showing that this category simply cannot be ignored by established brands. This is also evidenced by the introduction of Cadbury’s first plant-based innovation, Cadbury Plant Bar.
The novelty and seasonal confectionery sectors have also made room for vegan chocolate. Companies such as H!P Chocolate and Prodigy Snacks introduced dairy-free chocolate eggs in time for Easter.
The plant-based boom has not just set the dairy alternative chocolate market alight with innovative products, it has also helped shine a spotlight on the environmental impact of chocolate in general.
The chocolate industry has been lambasted by organisations worldwide for its involvement in deforestation and unethical working practices on plantations. This is for the most part not the case when it comes to plant-based chocolate, where sustainability is often at the core of product development.
The Cadbury Plant Bar range, for example, was launched with 100% plant-based and recycled packaging, made from ISCC-certified bio-sourced plastics from renewable sources.
The plant-based chocolate sector is experiencing the same excitement, research, development and innovation that was seen in the milk alternative space in the mid-2010s. This trend shows no signs of slowing as the plant-based and flexitarian movements grow, and we expect to see the creation of many fantastic indulgent products in the future.
FoodBev Media will certainly be watching intently and celebrating this innovation through the World Plant-Based Awards and our brand-new category: Best plant-based chocolate.
If your brand or business has recently launched or is in the process of launching the best plant-based chocolate product, let’s start a conversation. This year’s World Plant-Based Awards has a number of categories celebrating innovation in plant-based confectionery, including: Best plant-based chocolate, Best plant-based dessert/confectionery and Best plant-based snack.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2023
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