Indianapolis, Indiana, April 13th, 2023 – Proving that dreams really do come true, vegan Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups recently went on sale . Made using oat milk, instead of dairy, this is Hershey’s first nationally-sold, plant-based, chocolate product, and they plan to follow its release with a second vegan offering: a Plant Based Extra Creamy with Almonds and Sea Salt Hershey’s chocolate bar—which will hit stores in April of 2023.
The release of vegan Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups could be the start of something big for the vegan chocolate market in the U.S.!
Hershey Co. isn’t the only mainstream chocolatier offering plant-based options. Lindt currently offers an oat milk chocolate bar, Nestle has been selling a vegan KitKat bar—called KitKat V—in Europe since 2021, and Cadbury offers a vegan chocolate “Plant Bar” in the UK.
Last year, the supplier of the chocolates that are left on the pillows of five-star hotels, like the Waldorf Astoria and The Plaza, made headlines by achieving BeVeg Vegan Certification and offering vegan turn-down chocolates to luxury hospitality brands.
Why are mainstream chocolate companies finally embracing the plant-based lifestyle?
The vegan chocolate market was valued at $467 million in 2020 and is expected to grow 14.8% by 2028 according to Grand View Research. They cite “increasing acceptance of veganism among consumers, especially among millennials and the working population,” as well as, “the growing awareness regarding animal cruelty and the rise in environmental protection campaigns.”
Hershey’s new offerings illustrate how consumer demand can change the culture.
From Burger King to Chipotle, more and more mainstream food companies are offering plant-based options in order to address growing consumer demand. A 2022 study of global public food opinion showed that 40% of Gen Zrs, 43% of Millennials, 37% of Gen Xrs, and 28% of Baby Boomers describe themselves as very interested in trying a plant-based diet. Vegan options offered by familiar, mainstream brands like Hershey could provide a non-intimidating (and delicious) way for people, who are interested in going vegan, to make the leap.
Until you can get your hands on some vegan Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, try making some vegan peanut butter chocolate treats of your own with vegan chef Gabrielle Reyes. Who knows, maybe you’ll create something incredible and start the next big, vegan, chocolate brand!
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Carrie Woods is a writer based in Indiana who comes from a family of journalists.