New data shows that, in terms of growth, the plant-based chocolate sector is expected to outpace the conventional chocolate industry in the coming years.
The growth of the plant-based chocolate industry is multifaceted. Remarkably, new research shows that plant-based chocolate confectionery launches comprise the fastest-growing trend in the chocolate industry, up 71% (Global, CAGR October 2017–September 2018 vs October 2021–September 2022).
According to Innova Market Research, the top three fastest-growing, chocolate-confectionery ingredient launches are all plant-based, with oats up 78%, coconut fat up 74%, and erythritol up 64% (Global CAGR October 2017–September 2018 vs October 2021–September 2022).
Plant-based chocolate is on the rise
In 2022, the plant-based chocolate market was valued at an estimated US$1 billion, but by 2032, its worth is projected to quadruple to US$4 billion, experiencing a whopping 15.5% CAGR. Currently, plant-based chocolate comprises a 40% market share of the total vegan confectionery market, demonstrating its great potential to capitalise on the marketplace.
Research from Mintel has highlighted the excellent opportunities for vegan chocolate throughout Europe, corresponding well with the success of the conventional chocolate industry throughout the continent. Mintel’s survey found that 55% of chocolate consumers in Spain, 53% of chocolate consumers in France and Poland, 48% of chocolate consumers in Italy, and 44% of chocolate consumers in Germany are interested in plant-based chocolate.
By region, Asia Pacific is expected to be the fastest-growing regional market for plant-based chocolate, due to the region’s rising cases of lactose intolerance and the increasing popularity of plant-forward diets. Still, North America dominates the current marketplace.
It’s not just exclusively plant-based chocolate brands that are helping to expand the industry. Mainstream brands have caught on to the increased demand for plant-based chocolate, with some of the world’s biggest chocolate manufacturers (including Mondalēz, Nestlé, and Lindt & Sprüngli) now offering their own dairy-free options.
Mondalēz-owned Cadbury is one example, with the brand’s chocolate product assortment now including two Plant Bar options, with more releases tipped for later this year. Likewise, Mars Incorporated now offers alternatives to all its best-selling dairy-chocolate brands, including Galaxy, Bounty, Milky Way, and Topic.
Notable retailers, such as Aldi, Tesco, and ASDA, to name a few, have also added plant-based options to their own-brand chocolate lines. With all this in mind, there has never been a better moment than now for retailers and brands to offer plant-based chocolate.