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The global vegan chocolate market size was valued at USD 1,145.61 million in 2022 and is projected to grow from USD 1,252.80 million in 2023 to USD 2,831.93 million by 2030, exhibiting a CAGR of 12.36% during the forecast period.
Vegan chocolate has been growing in popularity and demand in recent years owing to increased awareness of the environmental impact on animal agriculture and the growing influence of consumers to seek out vegan alternatives. Additionally, the growing number of individuals with dietary restrictions such as lactose intolerance or dairy allergies has contributed to the increased demand for these chocolates worldwide.
Disrupted Supply Chains Due to the Pandemic Led to Slowdown in Sales
The COVID-19 pandemic moderately affected the global market. The pandemic disrupted the global supply chains, affecting the sourcing and production of various ingredients used in plant-based chocolates, especially cocoa. The pandemic caused loss to farmers growing cocoa, leading to a significant price decline (USD/tonne). Furthermore, the Barry Callebaut Group, one of the leading premium chocolate and cocoa product manufacturers, reported a slowdown in sales in the first six months of the year, with volumes declining by -14.3% in the third quarter. However, there has been a growing interest in plant-based diets and a shift toward healthier food choices during the pandemic. This trend has contributed to the increased demand for such products and other plant-based alternatives.
Growing Popularity of Hand-crafted Chocolates to Aid Market Growth
The growing popularity of veganism and the desire for high-quality plant-based food options have increased the demand for hand-crafted plant-based chocolates. Consumers increasingly seek artisanal chocolates as gifts, indulgent treats, or special occasions. Moreover, the rising disposable incomes among middle-class consumers further accelerate the sales of artisanal chocolates. Such ranges are often combined with nuts, fruits, alcohol, and others, uplifting the richness of premium chocolates. For instance, in January 2022, premium confectionery brand Chocolate Madagascar introduced a line of bars targeting the vegan market. The new product is a hand-crafted organic certified fine milk and white alternative chocolate range made using cashew nuts, providing a healthy creamy milk alternative.
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Innovation in Product Development to Result in Enhanced Market Growth
Over the years, the availability and variety of vegan chocolates have significantly expanded. Several chocolate manufacturers offer various vegan options or have dedicated vegan product lines. This increased accessibility has made it easier for consumers to seek them in grocery stores, specialty shops, and online retailers, thereby attracting a broader consumer base. Furthermore, advancements in ingredient sourcing, manufacturing techniques, and incorporating essential nutrients have significantly improved the taste and quality of these chocolates. For instance, in January 2022, the Functional Chocolate Company, a U.S.-based company, launched its ethically-sourced chocolate paired with nutraceuticals. The new vegan dark chocolate line is paired with nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, botanicals, and amino acids, which help a variety of everyday health realities such as stress, sleep, and other activities.
Growing Affinity for Plant-based Diet to Augment Market Growth
Most consumers worldwide prefer to switch to a healthier lifestyle and a healthy diet. This is further supported by the manufacturers making chocolates with less sugar and dairy-free milk such as hazelnut, cashew nut, and oats. The growing awareness regarding animal cruelty and the increasing demand for reducing the consumption of dairy-based products among animal rights groups have further increased awareness about vegan diets and products. According to Soylent Nutrition, Inc, an American company producing meal replacement products, studies showed 68.1 % of individuals turn vegan due to animal welfare, 9.7 % of people are motivated due to environmental and sustainability reasons, and 17.4% due to health concerns. Dieticians are promoting consumption of products that support health and sustainability, and plant-based chocolates easily fit into such categories. Consumers are looking for products that fit their diet, thus providing a guilt-free indulgence for consumers who want to enjoy chocolate while adhering to their dietary preferences. It acts as one of the factors driving the global vegan chocolate market growth.
Higher Cost of Production and Limited Availability to Restrain Market Growth
The manufacturers often use high-quality and specialty ingredients such as plant-based almond milk, soy milk, or coconut milk. These ingredients can be more expensive than their dairy counterparts, contributing to the higher cost of production. Moreover, plant-based chocolate may have limited market compared to traditional chocolates. As a result, manufacturers may produce them on a smaller scale, increasing the cost of production per unit. Furthermore, these products cater to specific consumer segments seeking plant-based products. The manufacturers, therefore, target this niche market, which can support higher pricing hindering market growth.
Dark Segment to Lead the Market Owing to its Perceived Health Benefits and Higher Cocoa Content
The market by type has been segmented into dark, milk, and others. The dark segment is expected to hold a significant market share in the global market owing to the presence of rich antioxidants and various other health benefits. It is often considered a healthier alternative compared to milk chocolate. According to the National Library of Medicine, dark chocolate is considered a functional food due to its anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, and anti-microbial properties. The dark segment is expected to grow significantly, driven by changing consumer preferences and the growing trend of premium and artisanal chocolates.
The milk vegan chocolate offers a significant space for the product innovation in the industry. Other chocolate types such as white and Gianduja chocolate are also gaining importance due to the demand from the consumers for different desserts applications.
Supermarkets/Hypermarkets Segment to Lead the Market due to its Wide Availability and Convenience
The market by distribution channel is segmented into supermarkets/hypermarkets, convenience stores, specialty stores, online stores, and others. The supermarkets/hypermarkets segment is expected to hold a significant share. The segment is dominated due to consumers' strong preference to purchase products from such large supermarkets owing to a wide variety of pricing options and brands. Moreover, consumers find such stores a convenient option as they get to choose a variety of options under one roof. Manufacturers are coming up with new product launches and introducing them in supermarkets to meet the increasing demand. For instance, in April 2023, NOMO, one of the U.K.’s famous plant-based chocolates brand, launched a new vegan chocolate bar in cookie dough flavor across the U.K. supermarkets.
The online stores segment is expected to grow at a high CAGR over the forecast period. The online segment saw significant demand during the coronavirus pandemic as consumers opted for online shopping mode. Furthermore, online channels also provide huge discounts and offers, leading to the fastest market growth in the coming years.
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Based on region, the market has been analyzed across North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, South America, and the Middle East & Africa.
Europe Vegan Chocolate Market Size, 2022 (USD Million)
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Europe dominated the global market and stood at USD 527.90 million in 2022. It is one of the fastest-growing regional markets. The Europe vegan chocolate market share experienced significant expansion in the recent past due to increasing demand for plant-based and dairy-free products. Veganism and vegetarianism have been becoming more popular in the region as consumers seek alternative options for traditional dairy-based chocolate. Germany, the U.K., France, and other European countries were among the leading markets. According to the survey conducted by vegan food producer Veganz in 2022, about 3.1% of the German population are vegans, or about 1.67 million people. Additionally, ethical and environmental concerns and rising animal welfare concerns influenced the Europe vegan chocolate market trends.
North America is expected to witness substantial growth in the coming years as consumers in the region are becoming more health-conscious, especially the millennial population. The manufacturers have responded to the growing demand by offering a wide range of such products. Major players in the region manufacturing plant-based chocolate are developing strategies to meet the growing demand and increase production facilities. For instance, in December 2022, Barry Callebaut, one of the leading manufacturers of high-quality chocolate and cocoa products, invested USD 100 million to boost their dairy-free production in Ontario. The investment would help the company provide specialty chocolates and satisfy growing demand from food manufacturers and gourmet customers.
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The market in Asia Pacific is projected to witness significant growth in the forthcoming years. This is attributable to the increasing number of vegans in the Asia Pacific region, particularly in countries such as India, China, and Australia. Additionally, rising consumer spending power and shift in dietary preferences have created immense demand for the product in the region. The region's chocolate manufacturers and confectionery companies have been actively developing and introducing such products to cater to the growing demand. For instance, in April 2022, Carra Chocolates, an Indian company, launched its first dairy-free white chocolate bar to appeal to a broad consumer base.
South American countries have a long history of chocolate production and consumption. Furthermore, the growing vegan momentum in the region is expected to contribute to rising demand for the product across the region. The Middle East & Africa is also undergoing significant growth owing to increase in the number of expats in the region.
Focus on Investment and Base Expansion Strategies by Major Companies to Attain the Highest Market Position
This market comprises several well-established and small- and medium-scale players. Vegan chocolate manufacturers look for strategies such as investment, base expansion, joint ventures, partnerships, and acquisitions in order to remain competitive in the market. For instance, in January 2022, Plamil Foods Ltd., a U.K.-based vegan confectionery business, invested in its Kent-based facilities, enabling the production process to double the volume. The company invested USD 1 million into advanced processing equipment, including 1,000 ton increase for its refining operations. The investment helped the company meet the demand for the ongoing market trend to ‘all things plant-based.’ It included chocolate, coatings, and compounds used by manufacturers as an ingredient.
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The research report provides qualitative and quantitative insights into the market. It also offers a detailed analysis of the market share, size, and growth rates for all possible segments in the market.
The report also provides an elaborative analysis of the market dynamics and competitive landscape. The report presents various key insights: an overview of related markets, research methodology, recent industry developments such as mergers & acquisitions, the regulatory scenario in critical countries, and key industry trends analysis.
CAGR of 12.36% from 2023 to 2030
Value (USD million)
By Distribution Channel
Fortune Business Insights says that the value of the market was USD 1,145.61 million in 2022.
The market will grow at a CAGR of 12.36% during the forecast period (2023-2030).
Supermarkets/hypermarkets segment is expected to be the leading segment among distribution channels in the global market over the forecast period.
Innovation in product development and a growing affinity for plant-based diets are driving the growth of the market.
Nestle S.A., Chocoladefabriken Lindt & Sprungli AG, Modelez International, Inc., and Barry Callebaut are a few of the key players in the market.
Europe is expected to hold the highest market share.
The dark segment is expected to grow at the fastest pace during the forecast period.
The growing popularity of hand-crafted chocolates is one of the emerging trends in the global market.
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