Cargill’s move to vegan chocolate reveals sustained shift towards category growth

The news breaking this week of Cargill making an expanded move into chocolate confectionery for the confectionery sector as we move through ‘Veganuary’ was a significant move indeed.

As a major supplier to industry, its decision to place considerable research and could pave the way for plenty of wider releases within the segment given the company’s relationships with some of biggest manufacturing names around the world.

This clearly wasn’t a decision taken lightly, and comes as the wider vegan market shows no sign of slowing as we kick-start 2022 with a wide ranging assortment of product releases ahead of ISM around the corner in Cologne, Germany, later this month.

As Cargill noted, “Vegan claims are popping up everywhere, as consumer preferences shift toward products they perceive as better for themselves and the planet.” which has been reflected by the fact latest figures have shown an increase in take-up for the Challenge 22 ‘veganuary challenge’ with nearly 700,000 people having reportedly signed up to the latest edition of engaging with a vegan diet for a month.

In terms of what has driven the market, most analysts have pointed to a general interest in all things related to the wellbeing sector over the past two years of the pandemic, which has had a major impact on the health of populations around the world. The movement for veganism was growing years before this of course, but the circumstances of recent events have acted as a clear accelerator of that trend.

Furthermore, as you’ll see from our upcoming edition of Confectionery Production, there will be a host of plant-based trends on display at this year’s ISM/ProSweets, which will likely conjure more than a few surprises in terms of delivering some genuine innovation to the market.

With plenty of market challenges and uncertainties ahead in 2022, it’s hard to predict what the next major area of focus for many manufacturers is likely to be, but the underlying move towards greater levels of ‘better for you’ category releases, and those specifically for dairy free and vegan launches are continuing to gather pace.

Neill Barston, editor, Confectionery Production

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