New York (CNN) vegetarian Reese It is happening.
Hershey, making Reese with Hershey and Kisses bars and Chocolate and other sweets, announced two new dairy-free products on Tuesday: Reese’s Vegan Peanut Butter Cups, and Hershey’s Vegan Chocolate Bars with Almonds and Sea Salt, each made with oats instead of dairy and designed for the taste of milk chocolate. The new Reese’s will be available nationally this month, and the new Hershey’s bar will arrive in April.
The company is the latest to introduce vegan chocolate in the hopes that it will attract more customers. But Hershey was a little late to the game.
Nestle ( )KitKat V introduceda vegan version of the chocolate bar, in 2021. Mondelez ( It acquired Hu, a company that makes vegan chocolate, that year as well. Hershey has also begun testing a version of its product in 2021. )
In prepared remarks discussing the company’s fourth-quarter results, CEO Michelle Buck said Better For You, which includes plant-based items, provides an opportunity for the company and “will have higher levels of support this year.”
“We’re excited to introduce these delicious vegan options,” said Til Liu, Better For You brand manager at Vegan Hershey (in a statement announcing the launch Tuesday, adding that the new products provide more options for “chocolate lovers looking for vegan alternatives.” )
By focusing on vegan alternatives to milk chocolate, specifically, Hershey’s may have a better chance of differentiating its products from others on the market.
“As the vegan chocolate space is getting more and more crowded, claims outside of the vegan range may be necessary,” Kelsey Olsen, consumer insights analyst for food and beverages at market research firm MIntel, told CNN in an email. “While many previously introduced vegan items were dark chocolate varieties, brands should explore the vegan milk chocolate and white chocolate areas.”
Labeling oats as an ingredient can help, too.
Desserts “can take advantage of the unique properties of oat milk to appeal to a broader consumer base, vegan or not,” Olsen said.
Chocolate as a category It has been resilient in the past few yearsas people seek out treatments during the stresses of the early pandemic and see it as a relatively affordable splurge even as prices skyrocket.
But it’s not clear if chocolate made with oats will do the trick. “The majority of consumers do not focus on the additive [better for you] chocolate ingredients,” Olsen noted in a Mintel report last year.
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