Signaled at the beginning of this year, the new vegan KitKat V (Vegan) will be on shelves from mid-June initially in parts of Europe, South America and Australia. The new entrant comes in response to common requests on social media and the growing consumer interest in plant-based foods.
As I discussed in the ‘sustainably-minded customer,’ we are in the midst of a new era of sustainability in which customers globally are ‘voting with their wallets’. Surveys across the globe have shown that people are interested in exploring more plant-based foods across different categories. For example, a February survey conducted by alt-meat company Gold&Green Foods showed an increasing desire for clean-label foods and transparency on packaging, with 59% and 51% of respondents respectively mentioning these factors. Over 40% said they wanted options that are better for the environment.
“The reality is consumers are actively reducing their meat intake to better their health (64%), do their bit for the planet (48%), and support animal welfare,” Simon Solway, Country Manager of OOH and Retail at Gold&Green Foods, said.
According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, research shows that a plant-based diet is not only good for health but is also good for the climate and environment. In fact, a global shift to a plant-based diet could reduce mortality and greenhouse gases caused by food production by 10% and 70%, respectively, by 2050.
Nestle has already launched plant-based alternatives to dairy made from rice, oat, soy, coconut, pea and almonds across categories. Examples include non-dairy ice cream, coffee creamers, rice- and oat-based drinks, pea-based beverages, plant-based cappuccinos and lattes, a vegan condensed milk alternative, as well as a range of non-dairy cheese to complement plant-based burgers. The new KitKat V is a natural step for Nestlé towards achieving its goal of halving emissions by 2030 and reaching net-zero by 2050. The company has also stated that KitKat aims to transition to 100% renewables at all factories by the end of 2025.
Plant-based alternative products are emerging in the sustainability initiatives at many companies. U.S. plant-based food retail sales surged 27% in 2020, to $7 billion, according to the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA) and The Good Food Institute (GFI), which was nearly twice as much as overall U.S. retail food sales. What’s more, dollar sales growth for plant-based foods proved to be consistent across the country, with the market posting gains of over 25% in all U.S. census regions.