The global vegan chocolate confectionery market size was valued at USD 0.615 billion in 2022. It is estimated to reach USD 2.08 billion by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 14.5% during the forecast period (2023–2031).
Vegan chocolate confectionery refers to a category of chocolate-based treats and desserts specifically formulated to be free from animal-derived ingredients. These products are suitable for individuals who follow a vegan lifestyle, excluding animal products such as dairy, eggs, and honey. Vegan chocolate confectionery uses plant-based ingredients as alternatives to traditional dairy-based chocolate ingredients. Instead of milk or milk powder, vegan chocolate confectionery often uses ingredients like plant-based milk (almond milk, soy milk, or coconut milk), cocoa butter, cocoa powder, and sweeteners like cane sugar or agave syrup.
Popular examples of vegan chocolate confectionery include chocolate bars, truffles, bonbons, pralines, chocolate-covered nuts or fruits, and chocolate spreads. These products aim to replicate traditional chocolate treats' taste, texture, and indulgence while remaining free from any animal-derived ingredients. Vegan chocolate confectionery allows individuals who follow a vegan diet or have dietary restrictions to enjoy a wide range of chocolate treats without compromising their ethical or dietary choices. They provide a delicious and cruelty-free option for chocolate lovers seeking plant-based alternatives.
In recent years, people worldwide have seen a rise in food allergens and lactose intolerance due to dairy-based ingredients, including milk, cream, cheese, and yogurt. Anaphylaxis, gastrointestinal allergies, acute urticaria or angioedema, atopic dermatitis, milk protein-induced enteropathy, protein-induced gastroenteritis, and proctocolitis are just a few of the allergies resulting from dairy intolerance.
In some cases, lactose intolerance could result in severe medical conditions such as asthma, rhinitis, food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome, gastroesophageal reflux disease, constipation, severe colic irritability, and Heiner’s syndrome. In extreme cases, a milk allergy can also prove to be fatal. Due to such severe outcomes, the demand for vegan products such as vegan chocolate confectionery is witnessing a rise in consumer demand. Such factors drive market growth over the forecast period.
The growing awareness regarding animal rights and a consequent protectionist approach has been compelling many of the population to pursue improved animal conditions. The Humane Society of the U.S. says that 9 million cows in the U.S. dairy industry are subjected to repeated reimpregnation, short calving intervals, overproduction of milk, restrictive housing systems, poor nutrition, and numerous physical disorders. These factors impair the welfare of animals in industrial dairy operations. These market trends are anticipated to drive the demand for vegan chocolate confectionery over the forecast period.
According to the Chicago-based non-profit organization Free from Harm, over 90% of United States Dairy cows are kept in mostly indoor facilities, with more than sixty percent tethered by the neck inside barren stalls, unable to do the most basic functions essential to their well-being. In addition, according to the research published by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, pathetic conditions and forceful production operations increase the chances of developing heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and many other chronic diseases in people who drink it. This research is estimated to drive the global vegan chocolate confectionery market demand over the forecast period.
In the current scenario, veganism is considered a sustainable option for several ongoing global problems, such as climate change, increasing global warming due to non-vegetarian diets, and even for feeding the rising population across the globe. However, following a vegan diet comes with its own set of challenges. The growing population is a major threat to farmland. In the future, the amount of farming land used worldwide will not be enough to feed everyone. These drawbacks of the vegan diet are restricting the future scope of vegan chocolate confectioneries.
Some U.S. universities, including Cornell University, have developed a biophysical simulation model that helps estimate human diets' land requirements per capita and the probable population fed by that much agricultural land. Therefore, studies suggest that vegetarianism, ovo-lacto-vegetarianism, lacto-vegetarianism, or diets with a small amount of meat can feed more people and is more environmentally sustainable.
The global vegan chocolate confectionery market presents a significant opportunity driven by the growing vegan population worldwide. As the awareness about the ethical, environmental, and health benefits of a vegan lifestyle continues to spread, an increasing number of individuals are adopting plant-based diets and seeking vegan alternatives across various food categories, including chocolate confectionery. In addition, the rising vegan population is observed in developed countries as well as emerging markets. Countries such as the U.S., the U.K., Australia, Germany, and Canada have witnessed a substantial increase in vegans in recent years. This trend is caused by animal welfare concerns, environmental consciousness, health considerations, and the availability of vegan-friendly options.
In addition to established markets, emerging markets in regions like Asia Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East are also experiencing a surge in veganism. As these regions undergo rapid urbanization, changing consumer preferences, and increased awareness, the demand for vegan chocolate confectionery is expected to grow. The growing vegan population presents a vast consumer base seeking indulgent and satisfying vegan chocolate confectionery products. Manufacturers and suppliers in the market can cater to this demand by delivering a wide range of vegan chocolates, including bars, truffles, pralines, and other confectionery items, free from animal-derived ingredients.
The global vegan chocolate confectionery market is bifurcated into products, types, and distribution channels.
Based on products, the global market is bifurcated into boxed, molded bars, chips and bites, and truffles and cups.
The boxed segment dominates the global market and is predicted to exhibit a CAGR of 12.9% over the forecast period. Boxed chocolates are highly popular for gifting purposes due to their attractive packaging and assortment of chocolates. They have many different flavors, textures, and chocolate types, including dark, milk, and white chocolate. The assortment allows consumers to enjoy a range of taste experiences in a single package, making them an ideal choice for special occasions such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays, and other celebrations. Manufacturers of boxed vegan chocolates focus on creating a balance between sweetness and bitterness, ensuring a pleasurable and satisfying taste. They utilize high-quality ingredients and craftsmanship to deliver a premium chocolate experience for consumers.
Additionally, the visually appealing packaging adds to the overall appeal, making boxed vegan chocolates an attractive and thoughtful gift option. The rising desire for vegan alternatives in the candy business and the increasing adoption of plant-based diets have contributed to the market growth of boxed vegan chocolates. As more consumers embrace veganism and seek ethical and sustainable food options, the demand for boxed vegan chocolates is expected to rise. Manufacturers will likely introduce new flavors, innovative packaging designs, and premium offerings to cater to consumers' evolving preferences.
Based on type, the global market is bifurcated into milk, dark, and white.
The milk segment owns the highest vegan chocolate confectionery market share and is projected to exhibit a CAGR of 14.1% over the forecast period. Milk chocolate is widely enjoyed by consumers worldwide due to its sweet and creamy taste. It typically contains a minimum of 20% cocoa and 12% milk solids, providing a smooth and indulgent flavor profile. While traditional milk chocolate contains dairy, the growing demand for vegan alternatives has led to the development of vegan milk chocolate confectionery. These products are made using plant-based ingredients and are free from animal-derived components.
In addition, vegan milk chocolate confectionery holds a significant market share and presents a lucrative opportunity for growth. The appeal of its sweet and creamy taste, coupled with the rising demand for vegan alternatives, is expected to drive the market's expansion as consumers continue to seek plant-based options that provide the same indulgent experience as traditional milk chocolate, the market for vegan milk chocolate confectionery is set up to grow even more in the years to come.
Based on distribution channels, the global market is bifurcated offline and online.
The offline segment dominates the global market and is predicted to exhibit a CAGR of 14.2% over the forecast period. The dominance of offline distribution is expected to continue throughout the forecast period due to several factors. Firstly, consumers are strongly inclined to shop for grocery products, including chocolate confectionery, from physical stores such as supermarkets and convenience stores. This preference arises from the desire to physically examine the product quality, read ingredient lists, and assess the packaging before purchasing.
Secondly, offline retail channels offer a wide range of options, including both premium and private-label brands. Supermarkets and convenience stores stock a diverse selection of vegan chocolate confectionery, catering to consumers' varying preferences and budgets. This availability of different brands and product varieties under one roof attracts customers and encourages them to make purchases through offline channels.
Based on region, the global vegan chocolate confectionery market is bifurcated into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Central and South America, and the Middle East and Africa.
North America is the most significant global vegan chocolate confectionery market shareholder and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 13.8% over the forecast period. One of the major forces for this increase is the increasing vegan population in North America. According to Forbes magazine, the vegan population in the U.S. alone saw a remarkable 600% increase from 2014 to 2017. Demand for vegan goods, including vegan chocolate confectionery, is anticipated to increase as more people adopt vegan lifestyles and dietary choices. Consumers' rising awareness and preference for plant-based alternatives further support the region's market growth. In addition, the moral and environmental issues surrounding conventional dairy-based chocolate products have led many consumers to seek cruelty-free and sustainable options. Therefore, vegan chocolate confectionery provides a guilt-free indulgence for chocolate lovers who prioritize animal welfare and environmental sustainability.
Additionally, the North American vegan chocolate confectionery market is driven by the increasing awareness and adoption of vegan lifestyles and the rising demand for plant-based alternatives. Manufacturers and suppliers in the vegan food industry can cater to this growing market by offering a diverse range of delicious and cruelty-free chocolate confectionery options. With the potential for continued market expansion, the North American region presents a promising landscape for the vegan chocolate confectionery market growth.
Europe is predicted to exhibit a CAGR of 6.07% over the forecast period. The European market for vegan chocolate confectionery is poised for further growth as the awareness and adoption of vegan lifestyles continue to expand. Manufacturers and suppliers have the opportunity to meet the increasing demand by offering a wide range of high-quality and delicious vegan chocolate confectionery options. With the combination of health consciousness, environmental concerns, and ethical considerations driving the market, Europe presents a promising landscape for the vegan chocolate confectionery market growth. In addition, the demand for vegan food products is strong among millennials and Generation Z. These younger generations are more conscious of their health and the impact of their choices on the environment. They actively seek sustainable and ethical food options, including vegan chocolate confectionery. This demographic shift in consumer preferences creates significant market opportunities for manufacturers and suppliers in the European vegan food industry.
The Asia-Pacific market for vegan chocolate confectionery holds significant potential for growth. The region's large population, evolving dietary preferences, and increasing awareness of health and environmental issues drive the demand for vegan products, including chocolate confectionery. Manufacturers and suppliers can tap into this market by offering innovative, high-quality, and delicious vegan chocolate confectionery options that cater to Asia-Pacific consumers' varied likes and inclinations.
The Central and South American market for vegan chocolate confectionery shows promising growth prospects. The region's increasing concerns over animal welfare, rising health restrictions, and growing awareness of plant-based diets contribute to the demand for vegan chocolate confectionery products. Manufacturers and suppliers can seize the opportunities presented by this evolving market by offering innovative and high-quality vegan chocolate confectionery options that cater to the preferences and values of Central and South American consumers.
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