Chocolate lovers, take note. Hershey’s has added two new products: Reese’s peanut butter cups and a Hershey salted almond chocolate bar — both made without dairy.
The new products, Reese’s Plant Based and Hershey’s Plant Based, are both made with oat milk instead of conventional dairy.
“We are excited to introduce these delicious, plant-based options,” Teal Liu, brand manager of Better For You at Hershey, said in a statement. “Our purpose is to create more moments of goodness for consumers. Those moments are now more accessible for chocolate lovers looking for plant-based alternatives.”
Hershey says it has long offered a variety of choices for its consumers, but in order to meet the changing “needs” of some snackers, it says it used its expertise and capabilities to deliver “more, great-tasting alternative options including portion-controlled treats, no sugar added, zero sugar, high protein and now plant-based.”
Swapping out dairy for oat milk makes the products safer for people with dairy sensitivities. According to the National Institute of Health, 68% of people suffer from lactose intolerance. In Black and Asian populations, this number can be closer to 100%.
Replacing dairy also makes the products more sustainable, as the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates animal agriculture produces more than 14% of planet-warming gases including carbon dioxide and methane.
The new vegan chocolates are the latest effort by a confectionery company to make its products better for the planet. Mars Wrigley recently announced it was implementing recyclable paper packaging for some of its popular candy bars including Snickers and Milky Way.
Another company, WNWN, leaves the cacao out of its “chocolate” confections entirely, using more sustainable crops including barley and carob to deliver the taste and texture of conventional chocolate.
“As the vegan chocolate space gets more crowded, claims beyond plant-based may be necessary,” Kelsey Olsen, consumer insights analyst for food & drink at market research firm MIntel, told CNN via email. “While many plant-based items previously launched have been dark chocolate varieties, brands should explore the areas of plant-based milk chocolate and white chocolate.”
Hershey’s new vegan chocolates are coming to stores this spring.
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