Nestle has added the first chocolate made from plant-based milk to its products for sale, in a move aimed at expanding the world’s largest food manufacturer to rely on plant-based alternatives in its products.
The Swiss food giant plans to introduce its vegan KitKat bars this year under the name KitKat V, said Alexander von Maillot, head of the confectionery division at Nestlé.
The new product will be offered for sale online and in select stores in a range of markets, including the UK, as a test site for customer feedback prior to a possible wider launch of the product.
It is worth noting that the development of the chocolate bar, which uses a formula based on rice milk instead of cow’s milk, took about two years.
The main challenge in making an alternative to regular chocolate was ensuring that it mixed well with the cocoa and sugar to eventually get a creamy texture.
Maillot explained that other alternatives to milk made from soybeans or almonds can produce flavors far from the familiar taste of the famous “Kit Kat” bar.
The girl food market is growing strongly
Although some small brands make chocolate from vegan milk, most of the popular brands have yet to join the trend.
Lindt & Spruengli AG, best known for its gold foil-wrapped Easter bunnies, began selling oat milk chocolate bars under the “Hello” banner.
At the same time, Mars introduced a vegan version of the famous Galaxy bars in the UK, and Cadbury, a unit of Mondelez International, announced its plans to make chocolate from plant-based milk.
In a phone interview, Maillot said: “Demand for plant-based foods is growing everywhere. Developing a vegan Kit Kat was a logical choice, as it is largely a global brand, and is the biggest for the company.” The confectionery sector is one of the last sectors that have joined the vegan trend in the “Nestlé” company.
And over the past year, Nestlé Purina introduced a new pet food line, consisting of insects and vegetable protein from beans and millet that was mixed with animal protein.
The company also introduced a vegan alternative to sausage last year, and made a vegan alternative to ground beef, as well as dairy-free coffee drinks and ice cream.