Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are getting the vegan treatment.
The Hershey Co. said Tuesday that Reese’s Plant-Based Peanut Butter Cups, which go on sale this month, will be its first vegan chocolates sold nationally. A second plant-based offering, Hershey’s Plant Based Extra Creamy with Almonds and Sea Salt, will follow in April.
The chocolates are made with oats instead of milk, Hershey said.
Hershey has experimented with vegan chocolate before. It has sold an oat-based chocolate bar called Oat Made in some test markets starting in 2021. But the new products will be the first sold in the United States under the “Plant Based” label.
Hershey said consumers want choice and are looking for products they view as healthier or with fewer ingredients, including lower-sugar and plant-based options. Hershey also introduced an organic version of Reese’s Cups in February 2021.
Young consumers, in particular, are looking to reduce their consumption of animal products, says Euromonitor, a market research firm. In a 2021 survey, Euromonitor found that 54% of Gen Z consumers restrict animal products in their diet, compared to 34% of baby boomers.
Nestlé has been selling its KitKat V, a vegan KitKat bar, in Europe since 2021, while Cadbury sells a vegan chocolate bar in the UK. But so far, vegan chocolate options in the United States have generally been limited to high-end brands, like Lindt, or organic chocolatiers like Hu Kitchen.
Hershey said it has developed plant-based versions of Reese’s Cups and Hershey bars – some of its most popular products – because there is a shortage of plant-based chocolates in the US market.
Herbal versions will cost more. Hershey wouldn’t share details because he said retailers set final prices. But Rite Aid lists a 1.4 ounce pack of Reese’s Herbal Two Cups for $2.49; that’s about $1 more than consumers would pay for a regular plan. Hershey charges a similar premium for organic versions of its Reese mugs, which went on sale in 2021.
And giving up dairy products will not cut calories. Although Hershey hasn’t released all of the nutrition facts, the 1.4 ounce packet of plant-based Reese’s Cups contains 210 calories; that’s the same number of calories as a 1.5-ounce package of traditional Reese’s Cups.