Vegan Confectionery Is Making its Way from the Margins to the Mainstream

Veganism is the new trend that is sweeping the world. Animal welfare and food processing concerns are making consumers explore environmentally-friendly food alternatives, prompting a rise in vegan food demand. 

Vegan trends are not only limited to raw ingredients, but they are also spreading to other domains of foods and beverages, such as confectioneries. According to a recently published report by Future Market Insights, the global vegan cheese market is expected to witness a prominent growth rate of 9.3% from 2022-to 2032. Consumers are increasingly choosing plant-based goods due to growing awareness of animal cruelty and the significant environmental impacts of the dairy industry.

Non-vegan confectioneries offer vegetarian and egg-free options to consumers. However, this is not enough for vegans. Therefore, they are turning to vegan confectioneries that make use of vegan chocolate, vegan flour, and vegan sugar for their products. These confectioneries contain no animal-derived ingredients. Not only for vegans but also lactose-intolerant and gluten-allergic consumers, confectioneries of this type are gaining popularity in the global market.

In this blog, we will discuss the use of vegan chocolate and vegan flours and how confectioners are striving for sustainable options. Also, we will discuss the need for dairy alternatives for vegans and non-vegans. 

Vegan Chocolates- Healthier Options for Chocolate Lovers and Lactose-Intolerant Consumers

Vegan chocolate is the new thing that's becoming more popular among vegan confectioneries. Raw cocoa-made chocolate is what consumers desire, without additives like milk or preservatives. 

Chocolate manufacturers are highlighting their non-dairy confectionery offerings as interest in the vegan diet grows. Nevertheless, many of these products have always been vegan. The majority of dark chocolates currently on the market, for instance, are naturally dairy-free and deserve such a designation. The biggest change in formulation is the switch to non-dairy milk for products labeled as 'milk chocolate.' Typically known as 'mylk' or 'non-dairy milk,' these products represent only a small percentage of the market, which is increasingly gaining attention. These kinds of milk vegan chocolates are perfect alternatives for the lactose intolerant group of consumers too. 

Mars, one of the world's largest candy makers, recently introduced vegan options for their Galaxy brand milk chocolates. Although there are several vegan dark chocolate options, the mainstream confectionery brand is the first to offer vegan milk chocolate. Instead of milk, they suggested using soy, coconut, and almond milk. These bars were launched in the UK and were certified by the Vegan Society UK. And it gets better- there will be three flavors to choose from Smooth Orange, Caramel & Sea Salt, and Caramelised Hazelnut.

Despite the popularity of "clean eating," some consumers do not want to give up their good habits and feel guilty about eating chocolate. This had led manufacturers to come up with some tasty vegan chocolates. There are brands that market their products as healthier treats with specific allergies in mind, such as lactose-free, dairy-free, and gluten-free.

Asda UK, for example, launched vegan chocolate orange buttons. Asda's Free From line includes dairy-free chocolate treats that are made without dairy, eggs, or wheat. In addition to the vegan white chocolate buttons, one can also find regular chocolate buttons. These buttons have various allergens listed on the package, as well as a vegan and clean label. 

There is a difference between regular processed chocolate and vegan chocolate. The result of this difference is a wide range of essential nutrients including vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. The fact that vegan chocolate contains neither additives nor products derived from animals makes it an excellent source of dietary essentials. The vegan community appreciates it for this reason.

Various Kinds of Vegan Flour Launched by Manufacturers

Baking involves flour. Even though most of the flour is naturally derived, vegan consumers are looking for safer options-vegan flour. Consumers are becoming more aware of labels and analyzing the ingredients used in final products. To maintain transparency, companies print the production process and the source of raw materials that were used to achieve the final product.

Several vegan flour alternatives have entered the global market- almond flour, coconut flour, etc. Fine, flavorful flour made from almonds that can be used anywhere almond flavor is desired without the crunch. Foods like smoothies, hot cereals, and bread crumbs are flavored with it. 

Blue Diamond Almond Flour, for example, is a vegan flour that is used by vegan confectioners. It is a naturally derived flour made by crushing almonds. The packet mentions that this product is suitable for paleo and keto diets. Also, the allergen information (tree nuts) is clearly stated down. Additionally, the manufacturer placed a transparent and clear vegan mark on the package to catch consumers' attention at first glance. 

Coconut flour, another vegan flour, is a high-fiber flour made from ground coconut meat. As a gluten-free flour, it is quite popular among non-vegan patients with diabetes and hypertension. It can be used in any baked good. These flours are commonly used for cakes, bread, and low-carb foods. It is 100% vegan safe and healthy.

Arrowhead Mills Organic Coconut Flour, for example, uses only Fair Trade Certified coconuts and supports quality products that improve lives and help the environment. According to the company, the most accurate information can always be found on the actual label of the product. The company updates its labels periodically based on nutritional analyses of fresh crops and sometimes formula changes. Certified USDA Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified, Gluten-Free, and Fair Trade Certified are some of the prominent certifications on this product's packaging. Vegan consumers are attracted to this transparency and this increases the demand for vegan confectioneries. 

In addition to packaging, the manufacturers are constantly developing their reach toward vegan ingredients. They are focusing on preventing termites from contaminating flour during storage. They are also developing products containing prebiotic ingredients, like fiber, in response to consumer preferences for digestive health.

Sustainable Approaches and Initiatives to Attract Vegan Consumers

In the confectionery sector, sustainability is raising the bar, particularly in terms of ethical and environmental issues. Manufacturers and brands are under increasing scrutiny to detail precisely what is in their products, where the ingredients are sourced, and who and what was involved in the journey. 

Mars Wrigley, for example, released an interactive map that shows where its cocoa is sourced from to strengthen supply chain management. By 2025, the confectionery giant plans to achieve a deforestation-free supply chain for cocoa. 

Vegan confectioners are leading the way in brand activism. This is one way that the confectionery industry contributes to social change. Tony Chocoloney is an on-trend sustainable chocolate brand that does just that. Vegan consumers are attracted to its campaigns to eradicate illegal cacao labor and educate consumers about this issue through branding. 

The importance of communicating sustainability in the supply chain is also growing for manufacturers. It is because the consumer is becoming more aware of the impact of food on the environment and ethical principles. 

Farmers are working to grow almonds in a healthier, safer, and more sustainable manner, protecting the community and the environment. Almond Orchard 2025 Goals, for example, include reducing water usage for almond growing, increasing the use of environmentally-friendly pest management tools, and achieving zero waste in almond orchards. Many vegan manufacturers are supporting these initiatives.

A report highlighting cocoa sustainability was released by the humanitarian organization CARE and Cargill. The report details the progress that has been made to prevent child labor, diversify income, and ensure families' food security and nutrition. These strategies attracted vegan consumers and helped grow the vegan confectionery market. 

It is the manufacturer's fundamental aim to appeal to today's conscious consumers, as well as gain a competitive edge over traditional and established confectionery products by offering "alternative" and "healthy" ingredients.

There is an increasing demand for dairy alternatives in the vegan confectionery industry since more than 75 percent of the population is lactose intolerant.

Among dairy alternatives, oat milk has seen the most rapid growth. Planet Oat introduced its first dairy-free, oat milk frozen dessert line in 2021. Chloe's, the maker of Frozen novelty treats, has launched Chloe's Oatmilk Pops, a new non-dairy version of classic ice cream flavors in 2022. 

Plant-based dairy alternatives like InnovoPro have been using chickpea protein as a primary ingredient since it replaces lecithin, starch, carrageenan, guar gum, and LBG with chickpea protein. A vegan pudding product from InnovoPro also uses chickpea protein instead of modified starch, maltodextrin, carrageenan, and pectin.

In the confectionery and bakery sectors, a trend toward healthier ingredients is driving recipe reformulations to incorporate healthier ingredients. Clean labels and vegan products are increasingly in demand. As demand for clean label products continues to grow, acacia and other natural gums are expected to grow in use in 2022 and beyond. There are many vegan-friendly, functional products available from DuPont for confectionery production. Grindsted Acetem is a palm, soya, or coconut oil-based product that adds softness to gum, and also increases bubble size.

In addition to cruelty-free products, vegan customers are now moving towards organic and clean products. Clean labels bring intelligent labels, which are expected to play a prominent role in vegan confectionery in the future.