UK – Barry Callebaut has introduced a new 100% dairy-free ‘M_lk Chocolate’ as part of its ‘Plant Craft’ Indulgence range seeking to meet the growing consumer demand for plant-based confectioneries.

The new dairy-free ‘M_lk Chocolate’ is made with an ingredient of natural origin, which the chocolatier said is exclusively available to the company.

Barry Callebaut says that its research and development team spent two years to develop this innovation leading to a dairy free chocolate with a creamy, milky and typical milk chocolate flavor and texture.

Amidst the growing number of flexitarian, Barry said that it developed the new chocolate to satisfy the growing demand for plant-based indulgence, particularly among millennials and centennials.

Recent researches have shown that sustainability-conscious consumers, especially millennials and centennials, are increasingly adopting a flexitarian or freegan lifestyle – navigating seamlessly between plant-based products.

In the UK alone, a 2019 YouGov study found that while only 1% of consumers classify as vegan, 14% of the population have adopted a plant-based diet one or more days a week.

“The next generation of consumers is looking for experiences that are tasty, good for them and good for the planet,” commented Pablo Perversi, Chief Innovation, Sustainability and Quality Officer and Head of Gourmet at Barry Callebaut.

“With that in mind, we aim to accompany the industry in this plant-based revolution. Through this innovation, we’re proud to offer chocolate creations with all of the creaminess consumers love, 100% dairy-free,” Perversi added.

The new chocolate is part of a wider portfolio of ‘Plant Craft’ products ranging from chocolate, cocoa, nuts and fillings to decorations.

Barry Callebaut has also unveiled plans of opening a dedicated and fully segregated dairy-free chocolate factory in Europe to bring these plant-based products to market.

The new factory, located in Norderstedt, Germany will be the manufacturer’s first facility capable of supplying dairy-free chocolate to the European market, with annual production capacity expected to reach tens of thousands of tons.

Barry Callebaut plans to open the dairy-free facility in the first half of 2021. According to the company the new range of dairy-free chocolate, cocoa and nut products will equip industry confectioners “with everything needed to create indulgent dairy-free creations.”