San Francisco chocolate brand TCHO just announced that it will transition to be an entirely vegan company by 2023. The fair-trade chocolatier decided to change all its retail chocolate products to plant-based recipes, removing dairy from all its production facilities. The company revealed that in order to prioritize sustainability that it is necessary to replace dairy-based products with vegan-friendly alternatives.

“Reducing our reliance on dairy is one of the quickest ways TCHO can lighten our impact on the environment. While this will not be an easy transition for us, we know it’s the right one,” Vice President of Marketing at TCHO Josh Mohr said in a statement. “From the beginning, TCHO has been committed to working with our farming partners in the field, improving farming techniques, bettering soil conditions, and doing what we can to help minimize deforestation—all of which speaks to a plant-based model.”

TCHO currently offers several vegan chocolate products, but the company is beginning to roll out new flavors to replace its dairy-based selections. The transition period will take place over the course of 2022. The vegan chocolate company will introduce six new vegan flavors including:

  • Aww Nuts!: Dark chocolate filled with almond butter
  • Holy Fudge: Ghanian dark chocolate flavored to taste like crispy brownie edges
  • Choco Latte: Coffee truffle bar filled with oat milk chocolate and organic coffee beans
  • Toffee Time: Cashew butter base, coconut sugar, oat milk, and cacao sprinkled with sea salt and vegan toffee pieces
  • Born Fruity: Single-origin Peruvian chocolate bar with fruity flavors
  • Dark Duo: Dark chocolate bar mixing a Holy Fudge outer shell and the Born Fruity filling

The California-based chocolate company already produces multiple vegan chocolate products that will stay available during the company’s new rollout. The current chocolate products include Hawt Chocolate drinking chocolate, Sweet & Sassy bittersweet baking chocolate, Super Powder cacao powder, Crush This roasted cocoa nibs, and Dark & Bitter unsweetened baking chocolate.

TCHO launched in 2007 with the mission to maximize the sustainability of the chocolate industry. The company aims to enhance the ethical and sustainability standards across the worldwide chocolate industry, changing production practices and ingredient sourcing company-wide. The chocolate company runs its TCHO Source program to invest in better infrastructure and training while promoting higher, fairer wages at the chocolate source.

The vegan chocolate confection industry is experiencing worldwide growth as the demand for plant-based foods, including deserts, rises for consumers. A report from Grand View Research Found that the vegan chocolate confection market is projected to grow at a rate of 14.8 percent from 2021 to 2028, reaching $1.4 billion. TCHO’s decision to remove dairy follows the growing trends away from traditional milk chocolates.

Before the company’s retail selection fully transitions to vegan recipes, TCHO announced that its foodservice line distributed to bakeries and restaurants nationwide will be completely vegan by early 2022. The company plans to introduce compostable and sustainable packaging to accompany the vegan transitions.

The vegan products took three years of research and development with the President of the Fine Chocolate Industry Association at the head of the operation. Brad Kintzer – the Chief Chocolate Maker for TCHO – experimented with new recipes and formulas to redesign the TCHO chocolate selection without sacrificing the flavors and reputability of the company. Kintzer ensures consumers that the chocolate created with alternative dairy products will match up to the signature TCHO products.

“This was an exciting opportunity to make chocolate that further reflects our values,” Kintzer said in a statement. “The spirit of TCHO is rooted in the idea of accepting challenges and trying to bring them to life. Taking out dairy and focusing entirely on plants opened up a whole new world for us. We’re proud of the unique flavor profiles we’ve created. Our alt-milk is an entirely new cacao experience.”

With vegan chocolate on the rise, consumers have increasingly shifted their attention to plant-based dessert options. Another Grand View Research report found that the entire vegan confectionery market was valued at a staggering $995 million in 2020. Candy companies like Mondelez and Nestle have started pushing plant-based alternatives to classic chocolate and dessert options.

Most recently, New York’s iconic Tate’s Bake Shop revealed two new plant-based cookies including a vegan chocolate chip variation. Other confectionary giants like Hershey’s push the chocolate industry farther into the plant-based territory, and now more companies nationwide like TCHO have adopted more sweeping sustainability changes to continue pushing the market standards.

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