Hershey’s Launching Vegan Reese’s


The Hershey Company unveiled two new plant-based chocolate candy products | Image by Hershey Company

Lactose-intolerant chocolate lovers, rejoice! The Hershey Company will release vegan versions of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and chocolate bars this spring.

According to a press release on March 7, these new confections will be made with plant-based milk chocolate, replacing dairy milk with oats.

With its new offerings, the company hopes to appeal to customers with dietary restrictions or those seeking healthier snack options with fewer ingredients.

While the new Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups will be available in March, Hershey’s Plant-Based Extra Creamy with Almonds and Sea Salt will be released in April.

Teal Liu, the brand manager of Better For You at Hershey, explained in the release that Hershey’s “purpose is to create more moments of goodness for consumers.” With the addition of these new chocolate bars, Hershey says these “moments are now more accessible for chocolate lovers looking for plant-based alternatives.”

In its release, Hershey explains that offering plant-based alternatives is just another step in adapting to consumers’ evolving needs and preferences. It has also made portion-controlled treats, no sugar added, zero sugar, and high protein versions of its products.

Yet it is important to note that being plant-based does not necessarily mean a snack is lower in calories. Both the 1.4-ounce package of plant-based Reese’s Cups and a regular 1.5-ounce package of traditional Reese’s Cups contain 210 calories, as NBC 5 reported.

Customers should also expect to shell out more cash for these plant-based options compared to their traditional counterparts. Although Hershey has not released the exact pricing details, a 1.4-ounce package of two plant-based Reese’s Cups is listed on Rite Aid’s website for $2.49. This is about $1 more than the regular package.

Hershey’s latest move might have been made with younger consumers in mind, according to The Washington Post. In a 2021 survey conducted by Euromonitor, a market research firm, 54% of Generation Z consumers reported limiting their consumption of animal-based products.

In Europe and the United Kingdom, mainstream plant-based chocolates from Cadbury and Nestle have been sold since 2021. In the U.S., consumers looking for these alternatives were limited to premium brands until now.

Some might be struck by Hershey’s avoidance of the term “milk chocolate” to describe its new Plant-Based Extra Creamy with Almonds and Sea Salt bar. It is, after all, made with oat milk.

In fact, the Food and Drug Administration recently released draft rules stating that soy, oat, almond, and other beverages that use the term “milk” in their labeling may continue to do so. However, the draft rules recommend including the source — e.g. “almond milk” — in order to avoid confusion with customers, as reported by CBS News.

Plant-based milk products have grown in popularity among U.S. consumers and currently generate around $3 billion a year in revenue, according to Statista.

Nevertheless, the sales of non-dairy milk cannot hold a candle to those of traditional cow’s milk, which raked in $12.3 billion in the 52 weeks ending on January 28, 2022, according to market trend analyst NielsenIQ, per CBS News.

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12 days ago

Pretty sure Hershey is just doing the woke thing here. Did not learn with the m&m fiasco. The impossible meat came out and had a good first year but cratered since. Same for these.

Reply to  Bret
12 days ago

Most of the restaurants that partnered with Impossible to Eat and Beyond Crap burgers have dropped them from the menu. Few people want to eat highly processed food made in a lab.

12 days ago

I became lactose intolerant about 10 years ago but…ewww. Of course it’s still high in calories. It still has sugar. So many things have dairy. Some cereals have skim milk, in something you’re going to put milk on? I have read, and I believe it’s true, that milk is the cause of arthritis. I also read that Britain has been doing studies for several years and they are finding a link between dairy and rheumatoid arthritis.

I also read that when Woody Harrelson was young, he had a bad case of acne. Someone suggested he cut dairy from his diet. He did and his face cleared up. It’s not fats causing acne, it’s dairy. They have in the past said that chocolate possibly caused acne, but not for the reason they think. It’s the milk in the chocolate. It all depends on your digestive tract whether it can or can’t handle dairy. If your parents didn’t have acne and neither did you, I feel it’s because you inherited a strong digestive tract.

I became lactose intolerant just prior to menopause. Initially, I cut dairy completely out of my diet for 2 months. I lost 25 lbs. in 3 weeks, and I was still eating hamburgers and french fries. I also had next to no menopause symptoms. My Mother said her hot flashes were awful. She was a sweetaholic. So I imagine when she was having a hot flash, she would get some ice cream, which may have made the situation worse.

You can also become allergic to milk, which is much more serious. I gotta tell you, it’s very hard avoiding dairy. But it may be the underlying cause of a lot of people’s health issues, but they have no idea. Digestive issues, obesity, joint pain, etc. Just food for thought. But there are desserts you can make at home that would taste a lot better than those overpriced candy bars. Believe it or not, Oreos don’t have dairy. They’re made with cocoa, not milk chocolate. Hence, the unique taste.

I do appreciate the effort of companies though. Kroger’s Simple Truth finally came up with some excellent ice cream. The chocolate is wonderful. They also have vanilla, not quite as good, but their Butter Pecan is also very good. Tried some like Ben & Jerry’s…yuck. And never saw just plain chocolate. They would put peanut butter or something in it. Kroger’s Simple Truth “unsweetened” almond milk is also excellent. You hardly taste the almond. It’s very close in taste to whole milk, and has less calories than skim milk. Tastes much better than skim. If you make creamed gravy or mashed potatoes with it, you don’t taste almonds at all. And Smart Balance is an excellent substitute for butter.

Last edited 12 days ago by Pap