‘The future is plant-based’ read the sign above the Katjes' booth at this year’s ProSweets/ISM conference in Cologne, perfectly illustrating the main trend at the sweets and snacks fair and also capturing the wider zeitgeist of a worldwide consumer movement in confectionery.
Irina Beule, insights & innovation manager at Innova Market Insights, told ConfectioneryNews it is describing the trend as the ‘plant-based revolution’.
“Plant-based is already here, but now it is really taking off, consumers are preferring plant-based, but vegan is growing as fast, especially with younger consumers who want a more healthy lifestyle, but also with a lot of other generations, who want to do something good for the planet,” she said.
Katjes, a German sugar confectionery firm, made its debut in 2019 in the chocolate category with the launch of Katjes Chocjes, a vegan chocolate bar in two flavours (Original and Hazelnut) made from oat milk instead of cow’s milk.
At ISM 2020, it launched four new vegan flavours and attracted thousands of visitors to its booth – a clear indication that vegan chocolate is on the rise.
Alex Cramer, brand manager at Katjes, said the new category had been a great development for the company and that “plant-based is the future and that chocolate also tastes good without cow’s milk … there’s lots of dairy alternatives and we have chosen oatmilk because it is the most sustainable alternative”.
Commenting on the launch of its vegan chocolate, Katjes CEO Tobias Bachmuller said: “With the expansion of our product line through the launch of Chocjes, we are strengthening our commitment to ‘create great things’. Obviously Katjes is an expert at vegetarian fruit jelly sweets. But with Chocjes, we are also catering to a growing consumer audience that is seeking out alternatives to cow’s milk”.
Vegan Dairy Milk bar
The latest major brand to jump on the vegan bandwagon is Cadbury, announcing it is launching a new plant-based version of its Dairy Milk chocolate bar.
Although owner Mondelēz International has not yet confirmed a launch date, ConfectioneryNews understands it has spent two years developing the bar.
“We are very aware of the rise in consumer interest towards vegan products. We have a brilliant R&D team who are focused entirely on new products and innovation to enable us to offer more great-tasting choices to consumers. We only launch products when we have achieved the best taste and texture that consumers expect from Cadbury, and there are lots of exciting developments in the pipeline,” a spokesperson said.
The ISM trade fair was held at beginning of February, a month after ‘Veganuary’, a global organisation encouraging people to adopt a vegan lifestyle in January and beyond. Organisers said this year’s response has been “astounding” and “over 400,000 people signed-up, compared to 250,000 in 2019, far exceeding the group’s 2020 target of 350,000.”
In his Oscar-winning acceptance speech, A-list actor Joaquin Phoenix championed veganism and also highlighted the movement at The Golden Globes. February was also the month that Ben & Jerry’s launched a trio of new vegan ice creams, while along came RØAR from ‘passionate challenger brand’ Froneri, who also introduced a brand new plant-based ice cream suitable for vegans.
Tiia Morsky, an ingredients research team leader at market analysts Campden BRI, told ConfectioneryNews: “The rise in veganism and flexitarian diets requires products to be free from animal-based ingredients. The food industry is responding by seeking to develop or reformulate products with plant-based protein ingredients, but this is no easy task. Manufacturers can become confused about which plant-based proteins are available to them, which are most suitable for their product and how they will function during new product development.”
Cocoa and chocolate supplier Barry Callebaut also chose ISM2020 to launch its new 'Plant Craft' range that spans chocolate, cocoa, nut products, fillings and decorations to cater for dairy-free and vegan trends.
- Approximately 30 exhibitors at this year’s ISM featured under the vegan category. ConfectioneryNews spoke to handful to get their take on why the rise of plan-based is becoming so popular. Check out our video above.