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From Niche to Mainstream: The Evolutionary Rise of Vegan Chocolate

Written by: Superfood Market

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Time to read 5 min

The rich history of chocolate spans centuries, weaving a tale of indulgence and innovation. In recent years, a new chapter has emerged—one that embraces ethical values and sustainability. Enter vegan chocolate, a delicious treat that not only caters to dietary preferences but also champions animal welfare and environmental consciousness. Join us as we delve into the captivating history of vegan chocolate, tracing its origins, the pioneers that paved the way, its rise in popularity, and the remarkable growth it has experienced over time.

The Genesis of Vegan Chocolate

The concept of vegan chocolate, devoid of animal-derived ingredients like dairy milk, was born out of a desire to create confections that catered to individuals with dietary restrictions and ethical concerns. While the exact moment of its inception is difficult to pinpoint, the first inklings of vegan chocolate can be traced back to the 1950's as part of the growing vegan movement. Back then we could only dream of brands like Vego appearing on the scene.

The Pioneering Brands

One of the trailblazing brands in the world of vegan chocolate is "Plamil Foods," which was founded in 1965 in the United Kingdom. Plamil Foods (now known as So Free) introduced a dairy-free alternative to traditional milk chocolate, setting the stage for a revolution in the confectionery industry. Their dedication to creating products that aligned with ethical and dietary considerations marked a significant milestone in the history of chocolate. They helped pave the way for more modern brands such as Go Max Go which were created in the USA but now available at Superfood Market.

Rise in Popularity and Sales

In the early years, vegan chocolate occupied a niche market, primarily catering to individuals with specific dietary needs. However, as awareness about animal welfare, health-consciousness, and environmental sustainability grew, veganism gained traction, propelling vegan chocolate into the spotlight. By the late 90's, a variety of brands began to offer vegan chocolate options, contributing to its rising popularity.

The Noughties Transformation

The 21st century witnessed a remarkable transformation in the perception and availability of dairy free chocolate. As consumer preferences shifted towards mindful consumption, renowned chocolate brands recognized the need to embrace the vegan movement. Industry giants like "Lindt," "Cadbury's" and "Nestle" expanded their offerings to include vegan chocolate options, contributing to the mainstreaming of vegan treats. This was on top of the already huge number of brands already helping to explode the category, such as Ombar, Vego, Vivani, Buttermilk and many more.

Vegan Chocolate Today: A Symbol of Progress

Vegan chocolate has come a long way since its modest beginnings. Today, it symbolizes the triumph of ethical considerations and innovative culinary techniques. Its popularity can be attributed to a blend of conscious consumer choices, advancements in flavor profiles, and a commitment to animal welfare and environmental preservation.


Ombar Vegan Chocolate Buttons

The Growth Trajectory

The growth of vegan chocolate has been nothing short of impressive. What began as a niche market has flourished into a thriving industry, with an ever-expanding variety of products that cater to diverse tastes. At Superfood Market we offer an extensive selection of over 300 vegan chocolate products, ranging from vegan chocolate spreads to bars, buttons, milks and more.

Veganising the Classics

In response to the growing demand for ethical and plant-based alternatives, several innovative brands have embarked on a journey to veganize classic favorites that have long held a special place in our hearts and taste buds. From the irresistible honeycomb of a Crunchie bar to the tropical allure of a Bounty, and the nutty satisfaction of a Snickers to the caramel-filled nostalgia of a Mars bar, these brands are reimagining these iconic treats without compromising on flavor or texture. Even the beloved crunch of Maltesers and the timeless pairing of biscuit and caramel in a Twix are being recreated in delightful vegan versions, as well as of course, a vegan milky way! By meticulously crafting these veganized classics, these brands are preserving the joy of familiar flavors while embracing the principles of compassion and sustainability, proving that innovation and nostalgia can harmoniously coexist in the world of confectionery.

Vegan Crunchie

Vegan Chocolate - The Ethical Angle

One of the most significant reasons for the surge in vegan chocolate's popularity is the shift away from animal-based ingredients. Traditional chocolate often contains dairy, which comes with a host of ethical and health concerns, from the treatment of dairy cows to the adverse effects of dairy consumption. Vegan chocolate, on the other hand, eschews these issues by using plant-based milk alternatives like almond, soy, or oat. This shift not only caters to vegans but also appeals to lactose-intolerant individuals and those seeking a more ethical choice.

Advancements in flavor profiles have played a pivotal role in making vegan chocolate more appealing to a broader audience. In the past, vegan chocolate was often criticized for its taste and texture, with some considering it inferior to traditional chocolate. However, in recent years, chocolatiers and manufacturers have perfected their recipes, resulting in vegan chocolate that rivals its dairy-based counterparts. The use of high-quality cocoa, innovative sweeteners like coconut sugar and agave nectar, and flavor infusions such as sea salt, nuts, and fruits have elevated vegan chocolate to a level where it's not just an alternative but a preference for many.

A significant factor driving the rise of vegan chocolate is its alignment with the principles of animal welfare and environmental preservation. Many consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the ethical concerns surrounding the dairy and cocoa industries. Cattle farming for dairy often involves practices that raise ethical concerns, such as the treatment of animals, greenhouse gas emissions, and deforestation for pasture land. Additionally, cocoa production is associated with child labor, deforestation, and monoculture farming. Vegan chocolate, by avoiding dairy and supporting ethical cocoa sourcing, appeals to consumers who seek to minimize their contribution to these issues.

The commitment to animal welfare and environmental preservation extends beyond ingredient selection. Ethical sourcing of ingredients, fair trade practices, and sustainable packaging are increasingly important considerations for consumers. Many vegan chocolate brands prioritize these aspects, making their products even more appealing to those who wish to make responsible choices.

Final Word From Superfood Market

The history of vegan chocolate is a testament to the power of conscious choices and evolving consumer preferences. From its humble origins to its current status as a delectable and ethical indulgence, vegan chocolate stands as a reflection of our collective commitment to a better world. As we continue to embrace flavors that resonate with our values, the journey of vegan chocolate serves as an inspiration, reminding us that positive change can be as delicious as it is impactful.

For the largest selection of vegan chocolate online, you can always rely on Superfood Market - check back each month so see what new plant-based chocolates we have on offer!

Vegan and Dairy Free Chocolate Online