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Nestlé introduces KitKat V, a vegan chocolate bar

As consumers keep a closer watch on what they eat—a shift that has accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic—food companies have taken notice, and chocolate is no exception.

Hence, Nestlé is launching KitKat V, a vegan version of the candy. The rollout follows a test in the United Kingdom and some other countries in 2021.

The milk in the original KitKat is replaced in KitKat V with a rice-based alternative, and the new candy is certified vegan and made from sustainably sourced cocoa.

The plant-based chocolate category is currently small but has attracted attention from major candy makers are eager to cash in on growing consumer interest in avoiding animal-derived foods and minimising their environmental footprint.

One factor that could be driving purchases is plant-based is better sustainability profile. Nestlé said during its full lifecycle from farm to consumer, KitKat V has an 18% lower carbon footprint compared to the company’s standard milk chocolate product due to its fully plant-based ingredients.

In most cases, plant-based offerings are still working to reach price parity with their animal-based counterparts. The vegan Kit Kat, which took two years to develop, is likely to cost more than the regular version because it’s more expensive to produce, has pricier ingredients, and requires stringent cleaning measures on production lines.

Nestlé, the world’s largest food company, has gradually expanded its portfolio to include other plant-based alternatives like meat, ice cream, and coffee creamers.

While vegan chocolates are a small fraction of the market compared to their animal-based counterparts, the market is large enough that food makers need to have a presence. The global vegan chocolate market is already estimated at $533 million, according to Transparency Market Research. The data firm forecasted it would more than double to $1.4 billion by the end of 2032.

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