Boulder, Colorado-based nut butter brand, Justin’s, has debuted vegan dark chocolate almond butter cups and dark chocolate cashew butter cups at the Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago. The event took place from May 22-24. Justin’s cashew butter cups will be the first-of-its-kind on the market, Food Business News reported.
According to a report released earlier this year by market research firm Transparency Market Reports, the global vegan chocolate market is set for dramatic growth in the coming years, driven primarily by Millennial consumers.
The growing vegan chocolate trend is likely driven by a number of factors such as the consumer shift away from dairy and the rising interest in better-for-you-snacks. Compared to milk chocolate, dairy-free dark chocolate has a higher concentration of antioxidants. Further, new data from Mintel indicates that while demand for chocolate is expected to rise globally, there is strong potential for the vegan chocolate market to grow in Europe.
Some brands have already begun to capitalize on the growing niche market. Along with Justin’s, paleo vegan fair trade dark chocolate brand, Eating Evolved, offers its own updated take on the classic peanut butter cup. The brand’s dark chocolate coconut butter cups come in a variety of flavors such as strawberry and banana. Eating Evolved also offer vegan chocolate bars infused with cashew milk.
Paleo vegan dark chocolate from New York City-based brand Hu Kitchen may also soon be available in grocery stores across the nation. The possible expansion is due to a strategic partnership, and Series A funding, with unique food and beverage incubator, Sonoma Brands.
Justin’s almond butter cups and cashew butter cups weren’t the only vegan snack to make their debut at the Sweets & Snacks Expo this past week. Baking Business reports that Mediterranean-style roasted chickpea brand, Lebby Snacks, will debut vegan dark chocolate-coated roasted chickpeas, and several brands are set to launch freeze-dried dragonfruit chips. Vegan brand, Hey Boo, also premiered dairy-free ginger rum-flavored coconut caramels.
According to Progressive Grocer, dark chocolate snacks and plant protein-based snacks stood out as trends among products at the expo.