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Carmit launches private label vegan chocolate with rice flour

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Douglas Yu

By Douglas Yu+

Last updated on 22-Feb-2017 at 11:40 GMT2017-02-22T11:40:01Z

Carmit's new vegan chocolate is made with rice flour, cocoa butter and liquor to mimic milky flavor.  Photo: Carmit
Carmit's new vegan chocolate is made with rice flour, cocoa butter and liquor to mimic milky flavor. Photo: Carmit

Private label maker Carmit Candy has developed a dairy-free vegan chocolate, which it will debut at Expo West in Anaheim, California, next month.

The company said the dairy-free chocolate line comes in two varieties, including white chocolate and standard light brown milk-style chocolate, available in the formats of chocolate snacks, coins and buttons. All products are kosher certified.

Most vegan chocolate is dark

Carmit's VP of international marketing and sales, Adrian Sagman, said the company started developing the dairy-free milk chocolate about two years ago after seeing that most vegan chocolate in the allergy-free market was dark.

The new product also “follows two major trends of demand for more vegan items with the increase in vegan diets, and the dairy free lactose intolerance which has become more recognized and diagnosed," he said.

Sagman said the biggest challenge was to find the right ingredients to replace the milk flavor without using milk, and it turned out the product has a “much milkier” taste than other vegan chocolate in the market.

“...Here we use rice flour that is combined with our blend of cocoa butter and liquor to make the creamy texture,” he said.

Not confusing to dairy chocolate consumers

Carmit plans to bring the product to a large European grocery chain under its private label after the product debuts in Anaheim, according to Sagman, and it will adapt its packaging based on each country’s regulations.

Sagman added the current packaging is Carmit’s own brand image, and has not been available anywhere else. “It is to help us sell private label,” he said.

In UK market for example, the company has redesigned the name on the packaging to “Choc Bar – An Alternative to Milk Chocolate,” instead of the current “Milk Choc Bar” in order not to confuse consumers intentionally seeking dairy-based items.

Development in the US

In December, 2016, US lawmakers and congressmen urged the FDA in a letter to relabel plant-based products, saying that the use of the term “milk” by manufactures is “misleading to consumers, harmful to the dairy industry, and a violation of milk’s standards of identity.”

The letter also cited from a recent Nielsen survey that in the past five years, sales of certain plant-based [products] grew 250% to more than $894.6m. Meanwhile, sales of milk fell 7% in 2015.

The request has drawn support from the dairy industry, including the National Milk Producers, ConfectioneryNews’ sister publication, DairyReporter, previously reported.

Carmit said it would alter the label based on the most-up-to-date laws.

 Carmit has already started working on a new vegan chocolate recipes with an existing retail partner in the US, and is looking for more partnerships this coming year.

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