Choc Affair launches first vegan registered oat milk chocolate series

British confectionery business Choc Affair has launched what is believed to be the UK’s first range of vegan-registered oat m!lk chocolate bars, writes Neill Barston.

The York-based company’s new offering comes amid heightened demand for products within the segment, and has logged its latest release with The Vegan Society, with its plant based bar flavours include: classic m!lk, salted caramel, lemon and raspberry and orange and rhubarb.

Its emergence comes in the wake of the independent company developing a chocolate tasting experience kit last autumn, including a series featuring spiced drinking chocolate, aimed at spreading some cheer amid the pandemic (featured in main image with founder Linda Barrie).

In addition to its new vegan series, the company has also announced that it is set to forge a related business, Chocolate & Co. This has been developed following the loss of two friends of the business, who had suffered with addiction problems. As the company explained, its latest venture, is set to provide sustained employment and support for offenders and those struggling with addiction issues. The initiative will focus on creating a new series of hot chocolate.

Speaking on the company’s vegan chocolate launch, Linda Barrie, founder of Choc Affair, said: “We are delighted to be introducing the first vegan-registered oat m!lk chocolate bar range in the UK. There has been a really positive shift in consumer behaviour in recent years with people becoming far more ethically minded and diet conscious, and our trade partners are responding to that by introducing more ethical brands to their shelves. I believe that as a business we are perfectly aligned with our values to support this shift, and that by continuing to work closely with our chocolate supplier, we have the assurance that all our chocolate is sustainably sourced, palm oil free and is having a positive impact on people, communities and the planet“

The bars which are now available for wholesale are all made by hand in Choc Affair’s chocolate factory based in historic York.

Linda continued: “Producing all our chocolate on our own site provided us with the opportunity to experiment with different flavours for the Oat M!lk range, ensuring that we’ve created a delicious chocolate experience which our trade customers know and love, as well as feeling confident that it is all produced by a British SME who holds to the same values they do. We hope to add more products to our oat m!lk range in early 2022.”

Ericka Durgahee, Marketing Manager at The Vegan Society added: “The Vegan Trademark team are delighted to see that Choc Affair have added to their already amazing vegan lineup of chocolates with the new oat m!lk bars! Not only do they carry our trusted mark, but they’re a first amongst over 54,000 products to use an oat milk base; congratulations and we can’t wait to try them!”

New venture

As Linda added, the extension of her business in creating Chocolate & Co was inspired by a deeply challenging personal situation that she believed would benefit from addressing in a positive manner.

She explained: ” Chocolate & Co was founded after we lost two friends – Damian and Claire to their battle with addiction – addiction is an awful illness and the subsequent criminal behaviours that often accompany it do nothing to support social inclusion.

“With extensive experience in chocolate production and mental well-being, Mariah and I decided to bring our skills together to develop a range of delicious hot chocolates which will provide a sustained period of employment and support for offenders and those struggling with addiction.

“To launch this new model, we’ve set up a mobile unit serving hot chocolates and milkshakes, and are out and about this week in York learning on the job as they say. Our aim is that our employment initiative will start in November – we’re working with other agencies and networks in York to make sure we use a person centred approach, taking into account individual needs rather than a one size fits all. There’s incredible skills and expertise in York already working in this field, so by working closely with them, we as a team can benefit from their experience, whilst we bring the employment opportunity to them.”

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