Hershey’s, the American multinational chocolate manufacturer, has launched its first ever vegan chocolate bars. The new line, called Hershey’s Oat Made, is made –as its name suggests– using oat milk, and comes in two flavours: Classic Dark and Extra Creamy Almond & Sea Salt.
The bars, which are clearly labelled as vegan, have originally been launched as part of a limited-edition test release which will continue until June 2022. So far they are available at several retailers, including Target. The bars are also available at Soul Miner’s Garden, a vegan food truck in Charlotte, North Carolina, that was able to get an early batch after a happy accident.
“We actually unexpectedly stumbled across these on the shelf at a big-box store here in Charlotte,” said Soul Miner’s Garden Owner Sasha Quinn. “They had no tag on the shelf but rang up normally at the register so we bought them.”
The new vegan chocolate bars are part of Hershey’s Better for You options, which the company is working to expand, including plant-based alternatives. They are non-GMO and made with Rainforest Alliance certified cocoa.
Expected to reach a value of USD 1.41 billion by 2028, it’s safe to affirm that the market for vegan chocolate is expanding quickly at a global level. Said growth is largely being driven by the amplified environmental awareness and concerns about animal welfare. In the UK only, demand for vegan sweets has risen so much that one confectioner had to add 300 products to its range.
“We started our work on the Hershey’s Oat Made products by evaluating the current plant-based offerings on the candy market,” Dan Mohnshine, Team Lead of Strategic Growth Platforms (SGP) at Hershey’s, told Totally Vegan Buzz. “After finding that the ingredient formulas of existing products could be improved upon, our masterful R&D team at Hershey developed formulas using oats that we believe deliver better on consumers’ expectations than what is in the marketplace today.”
Even though the release date of the bars has not yet been confirmed by Hershey’s, rumour has it that the Oat Made line might be available at additional stores in the US as early as this week.