Coming soon: Reese’s Cups, plant-based chocolate bars

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups have gone vegan.

Hershey Co. said Tuesday that Reese’s Plant Based Peanut Butter Cups, which go on sale this month, will be its first vegan chocolates sold nationally. A second plant-based offering, Hershey’s Plant Based Extra Creamy with Almonds and Sea Salt, will arrive in April.

The chocolate candies are made with oats instead of milk, Hershey said.

The Hershey company has already experimented with vegan chocolate. Starting in 2021, it sold an oat-based chocolate bar called Oat Made in some test markets. But the new products will be the first to be sold in the U.S. under the plant-based brand.

Hershey said consumers want choices and are looking for foods they perceive to be healthier or with fewer ingredients, including reduced-sugar and plant-based foods. Hershey also introduced an organic version of Reese’s Cups in February 2021.

Young consumers, in particular, are looking to reduce their consumption of animal products, says Euromonitor, a market research firm. In a 2021 survey, Euromonitor found that 54% of Gen Z consumers limit animal products in their diet, compared to 34% of Baby Boomer consumers.

Nestle will sell its KitKat V, a vegan KitKat bar, in Europe from 2021, while Cadbury will sell a vegan chocolate bar in the United Kingdom. But until now, vegan chocolate options in the US have typically been limited to premium brands like Lindt or organic chocolatiers like Hu Kitchen.

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