Special Edition: The rise of vegan/plant-based chocolate

Cargill incorporates plant-based ‘power’ ingredients in new extra vegan chocolate

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

An illustration of Cargill's new Chocolate ExtraVeganZa range. Pic: Cargill
An illustration of Cargill's new Chocolate ExtraVeganZa range. Pic: Cargill

Related tags vegan Veganuary

As consumer demand for vegan and plant-based options continues to accelerate, cocoa supplier Cargill is introducing its Chocolate ExtraVeganZa, a new range of vegan chocolate and couverture chocolates.

Made with carefully selected plant-based ‘power’ ingredients, the chocolates deliver a truly indulgent sensorial experience, bolstered by a rich, nuanced flavour and smooth, creamy texture.

Vegan claims are popping up everywhere, as consumer preferences shift toward products they perceive as better for themselves and the planet. In response, many of our confectionery, bakery and dairy customers are exploring vegan formulations​,” said Ilco Kwast, commercial director, Cargill. “As their long-standing partner, we wanted to make sure they’re equipped with great chocolate that satisfies consumers’ sweet expectations, while also living up to their desires for more plant-based choices​.”

To create the new line, Cargill’s 'chocolate engineers' identified key plant-based ‘power’ ingredients – sunflower kernel powder, rice syrup and organic rice syrup.

Sunflower kernel powder provides a creamy, smooth texture, with a balanced flavour profile of cereal and nutty notes, rice syrup produces chocolates with a pleasant sweetness, enhanced with notes of honey and cocoa, while adding a noticeable ‘snap’ to the chocolate’s final texture.

We are the first major supplier to incorporate sunflower kernel powder into a vegan chocolate, a patent-pending innovation​,” said Vanessa Barey, Cargill’s chocolate product development manager. “These ingredients provide a distinctive taste and texture profile, enabling us to create vegan chocolate recipes that reimagine plant-based indulgence​.”

Cargill said it tested its Chocolate ExtraVeganZa line with both consumer and trained sensory panels. Notably, the company found the vegan chocolate range consistently outperformed popular market references on key likability ratings. Equally important, the vegan chocolate range can be used in all applications, including bakery, confectionery and dairy, as a substitute for regular chocolate.  Further differentiating the line, Chocolate ExtraVeganZa uses nut- and gluten-free ingredients.

To ensure compliance with its defined vegan standards, Cargill said it applied new scrutiny to its ingredient selection and chocolate production processes, including dedicating chocolate production lines in Belgium and Germany to Chocolate ExtraVeganZa and dark chocolates.

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