Hazelnut Gets an Uptick with a Plant Based Alternative to Milk Chocolate

Date : Feb 25, 2020 Author : PMR Editorial Staff Category : Food and Beverage

Chocolate lovers can now hop onto the ‘vegan’ bandwagon with an astute move made by a leading mainstream confectioner.

Chocolate lovers can now hop onto the ‘vegan’ bandwagon with an astute move made by a leading mainstream confectioner. Mars, UK’s second largest confectionery brand is leading the way by creating a unique and flavoursome ‘vegan’ milk chocolate that will soon replace ‘standard’ bars on store shelves. The chocolate’s caveat - It’s deliciously blended with hazelnut paste and rice syrup, a prize winning concoction which took Mars six tedious months to reformulate.

With the rampant explosion of vegan offerings, demand for plant based products continues to climb. The new chocolate variant will come in enticing flavours of caramelized hazelnut and smooth orange bars. With consumers raving about its smooth texture and delicious creaminess, the vegan chocolate will be a ‘sell out’ in the foreseeable future. The new product has scored highly in all blind tastings as it is devoid of bitterness and the waxy aftertaste traditionally associated with dark chocolates.

Retail sales of plant based foods have gone up by almost 11% since last year and the launch of vegan hazelnut chocolate by Mars will give a significant impetus to this trend. Such innovations will undoubtedly bring vegan food products more into the mainstream. Besides creating trend-setting products like the vegan hazelnut chocolate, Mars’ continued success has propelled further with the chocolates being wrapped in compostable packaging. Made from wood fibre, it breaks down readily in home composting within a few months thus giving recyclability a massive upswing. That people can enjoy a bar of chocolate without the use of animals will stoke the demand for vegan offerings. A certificate by the vegan society, giving a green signal to its vegan chocolate sales is another feather in the cap for Mars.

A lot of consumers are dubious about vegan chocolate being at par with regular milk chocolate. However fantastic alternatives such as hazelnut milk, hazelnut paste and rice milk are being incorporated in vegan chocolates that heavily mimic the melty deliciousness of milk chocolate. Even though the Mars vegan bar is exorbitantly priced, it is definitely giving aspiring vegans value for money in terms of taste, texture and packaging.

The confectionery industry has certainly entered a new period of unprecedented demand with several entrants in the vegan food space rolling out novel technologies and ingredients. Innovative food companies and confectioners will solidify their position in the market with strong social media marketing campaigns that give traction to their products. While significant headroom awaits consumer packaged goods companies to flourish in the vegan food industry, the only glitch is the lack of production capability to capture this market opportunity. Confectioners and food manufacturers wanting to win market share in this fast growing segment must ramp up efforts to increase production capabilities.

Food manufacturers are also taking note of shifting consumer interests that are swaying in favour of products touted as ‘vegan’, ‘dairy free’ and ‘ethical’. As new trends emerge and proliferate, the market landscape will see a spike in competitiveness and a surge in production of vegan food.

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