Unwrapping a Mars, Dove, or Snickers Bar is a cornerstone of growing up. But these beloved chocolate bars have fallen behind the times as consumers look for sustainable food options made without animal products. Answering the calls for environmentally mindful foods, Mars, Incorporated just announced its animal-free, lactose-free chocolate bar brand, CO2COA.

Working closely with food technology company Perfect Day, Mars developed the CO2COA's debut chocolate bar using an animal-free whey protein developed to completely replace traditional whey without the need for animal agriculture. Mars claims that the new chocolate bar will rival its popular products, including Dove, Milky War, and many other chocolate products.

"At Mars, we bring our consumer passion to innovation, developing on-trend innovations that support a world where both people and the planet thrive," Global Vice President of Research & Development, Mars Wrigley Chris Rowe said. "The creation of CO2COA is an inventive example of how we partner with technology innovators, like Perfect Day, to bring great new offerings to our consumers. We're excited to collaborate with Perfect Day and continue to explore the potential of alternative proteins to help create a more delicious and sustainable future."

The CO2COA chocolate bar will combine the animal-free dairy protein with cocoa from Rainforest Alliance Certified sources. The sustainable chocolate will also be packaged in paper-based packaging to fulfill the environmentally friendly mission. The company granted this chocolate its title as a homage to its mission of cutting carbon emissions from its products. The chocolate bars will cost $2.39 per bar.

Perfect Day Is Helping Replace Dairy

Perfect Day's signature animal-free whey protein represents a remarkable achievement for the sustainable protein industry. The company's most recent lifecycle assessment found that the company's precision fermentation process requires 99 percent less water and produces 97 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than traditional dairy protein production.

The dairy-identical product will help major companies, like Mars, reach sustainability goals. Under Mars' Sustainable in a Generation Plan, Perfect Day and the CO2COA bar will help the major chocolate company reach its climate goals of net zero emissions by 2050.

"CO2COA is another example of how Mars continues to think and act differently to help create the world we want tomorrow," Chief Sustainability Officer, Mars Wrigley Alastair Child said. "From certified cocoa and a reduction in CO2 emissions to animal-free dairy, CO2COA was thoughtfully designed as we work to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across Mars' full value chain by 2050."

Last April, Perfect Day caught the attention of environmentalist and Oscar-award-winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio, who joined the company as an advisor and investor. Currently, Perfect Day is working with several companies other than Mars including N!CK's ice cream company and Smitten Ice Cream Shop.

"Partnering with a forward-looking leader like Mars to accelerate their innovation and sustainability initiatives is a hallmark example of how we're extending our impact," Perfect Day Co-founder and CEO Ryan Pandya said. "Today, companies big and small need to deliver on the needs of their consumers, who won't compromise on taste or the future of our planet. We're thrilled to help a world-class company like Mars do just that as we champion a path towards a more resilient food system for all."

Sustainable Chocolate Industry Continues to Grow

Mars is the latest chocolate corporation to release a sustainably-focused chocolate bar. Other companies including Hershey's and Lindt have debuted variations of their signature chocolate products made with plant-based ingredients. Lindt & Sprungli launched an oat milk-based chocolate bar this May, featuring Original Oat Milk Chocolate and Salted Caramel flavors.

Vegan chocolate is expected to continue growing in popularity. The vegan chocolate industry is currently worth $328.7 million and is expected to surpass $1 billion by 2028. Now, with the help of Perfect Day's dairy-identical proteins, the sustainable chocolate industry can reach a wider range of consumers than ever before.

For more plant-based happenings, visit The Beet's News articles

6 Best Dairy-Free Protein Shakes

When you skipped lunch to get to boot-camp class and now have to race back to the office without eating, it's good to have a couple of options for refueling on the go. So we taste-tested the best plant-based shakes, each one with about 15 grams or more of plant-based protein and fewer carbs, sugars and artificial flavorings.

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