- Hershey is debuting a chocolate bar and Reese’s peanut butter cups that are plant-based.
- The candies use oat milk instead of dairy milk.
- It’s the latest plant-based version of a packaged food as the term becomes over-used.
Reese’s peanut butter cups and Hershey’s chocolate are the latest big food products coming out with plant-based versions.
The Hershey Co., which makes both of the candies, will start selling plant-based peanut butter cups this month, the company said Tuesday. The Hershey’s chocolate bar with almonds and sea salt will follow in April. Both products are made using oats instead of dairy milk, according to Hershey.
The peanut butter cups will be the first vegan chocolates that the company has sold across the US, the company said.
Hershey’s previously launched chocolate bars that contain oats instead of animal milk under its “Oat Made” label in 2021, Food & Wine reported at the time. But those products were never distributed beyond test markets.
Plant-based versions of food have been proliferating for years. Early plant-based options, like alternative milk makers Oatly and Silk and plant-based meat makers Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, have since been joined by plant-based options in other categories.
Food brands that have long been plant-based, such as V8 juice, have also started using the term in the last few years. Many brands told Insider in 2020 that they opt to use the plant-based label instead of calling them “vegan” because they’re trying to win over a wider swath of consumers.
Even non-food products, such as cleaning supplies, have started using the term. Some food experts previously told Insider that the term is being overused and risks becoming meaningless to consumers, just like the marketing phrase “all natural” lost its meaning in previous decades.
Still, sales are growing. Plant-based foods grew 6% in 2021 to $7.4 billion, according to the Plant Based Foods Association, a trade group that represents companies in the space. Milk made up $2.6 billion of that total, while meat represented $1.4 billion.