Hershey jumps on plant-based craze with new Reese's Cups recipe

Hershey's plant-based chocolates will be made of oats instead of milk and be vegan-friendy

Vegan-friendly, oat-milk chocolate peanut butter cups are soon coming to a grocery store near you.

The Hershey Co., which makes Hershey bars, Kisses, and other beloved chocolates, is joining the plant-based craze with new versions of its famous Reese's Peanut Butter Cup and chocolate bars to be sold nationally this month. The new chocolate treats will be made with oats instead of milk and will be the first vegan options offered by the chocolatier. 

"We are excited to introduce these delicious, plant-based options," said Teal Liu, brand manager of Better For You, The Hershey Co. "Our purpose is to create more moments of goodness for consumers. Those moments are now more accessible for chocolate lovers looking for plant-based alternatives."

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Reese’s plant-based peanut butter cups

This image provided by The Hershey Company shows the company's new plant-based Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.  (The Hershey Company via AP / AP Newsroom)

Hershey products

Hershey said Tuesday, March 7, 2023, that Reese’s plant-based peanut butter cups will be its first plant-based chocolate sold nationally when they go on sale in March.  (REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch/File Photo / Reuters Photos)

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Hershey has experimented with vegan chocolate before. It sold an oat-based chocolate bar called Oat Made in some test markets starting in 2021. However, the new products will be the first sold throughout the U.S. under the "Plant Based" label.

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Hershey said consumers want choice and are looking for products they consider healthier or with fewer ingredients, including reduced sugar and plant-based options. Hershey also introduced an organic version of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups in February 2021.

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Hershey’s plant-based extra creamy with almonds and sea salt

A second vegan offering, Hershey’s plant-based extra creamy with almonds and sea salt, will follow in April.  (The Hershey Company via AP / AP Newsroom)

Vegan foods are growing in popularity, largely driven by younger consumers looking for more sustainable products or meat and dairy alternatives. The global vegan food market size was estimated at $26.83 billion in 2021 and is projected to earn $65.4 billion in global revenue by 2030, according to the market research firm Precedence Research. 

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Hershey's competitors Nestlé and Cadbury, which is owned by Mondelēz International Inc., sell vegan chocolate options in Europe, but the U.S. has been comparatively slow to bring plant-based chocolates to market. 

The new Reese's Plant Based Peanut Butter Cups are coming to store shelves in March, followed by Hershey's Plant Based Extra Creamy with Almonds and Sea Salt chocolate bar in April.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.