Nestlé hopes to tap into the growing market for vegan chocolate by making vegan versions of its most popular bars.
The first vegan KitKat has been announced by Nestlé, marking a new chapter in the history of the venerable bar, which was first launched back in 1935 by Rowntree’s of York, in the UK. The company was acquired by Nestlé in 1988.
The global vegan confectionery market was valued at USD $816 million in 2019 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.8% from 2020 to 2027. For bean counters at big business, a CAGR of above 5% is considered healthy, and 12% is certainly in the ‘good’ range.
This level of market growth explains why chocolate companies are now trying to leverage known brands to capitalise on that growth potential, although exactly what is ‘vegan enough’ is still debated.
Some chocolate companies have been criticised for branding their bars vegan when their ingredients still claim that the bar may contain dairy – usually due to not having separate production lines from non-dairy versions of the product.
Alexander von Maillot, Head of Confectionery at Nestlé, said:
One of the most common requests we see on social media is for a vegan KitKat, so we’re delighted to be able to make that wish come true.
I can’t wait for people to be able to try this amazingly tasty new KitKat. This is a product for everyone who wants a little more plant-based in their life!
The new vegan KitKat is called ‘KitKat V’ and it was developed by chocolate experts in Nestlé’s confectionery research and development center in York, UK – the original home of KitKat.
Louise Barrett, Head of the Nestlé Confectionery Product Technology Center in York said:
Taste was a key factor when developing the plant-based chocolate for our new vegan KitKat. We used our expertise in ingredients, together with a test and learn approach, to create a delicious vegan alternative to our original chocolate KitKat.
Nestlé is expanding their range of plant-based food and beverage products as they have already launched alternatives to dairy made from rice, oat, soy, coconut, pea and almonds across categories.
These include; non-dairy ice cream, coffee creamers, rice- and oat-based drinks, pea-based beverages, plant-based cappuccinos and lattes, a vegan condensed milk alternative, as well as a range of non-dairy cheese to complement existing plant-based burgers.
Surveys have shown that people are interested in exploring more plant-based foods.
KitKat V is certified vegan, and made from 100% sustainable cocoa sourced through the Nestlé Cocoa Plan in conjunction with the Rainforest Alliance.
KitKat V will be launched later in the year in several countries across the globe. It will only be available through the KitKat Chocolatory and selected retailers, to test the opportunity for a wider roll-out.