Vegan Milk & White Chocolate Is Not A Fad: Mylk Chocolate Is Here To Stay
As the dairy alternatives market is anticipated to be valued at over USD $35 Billion by 2026, the demand for dairy-free foods and drinks is growing exponentially, with no signs of stopping any time soon. From soy cappuccino in Italy to almond matcha in Japan, many consumers are switching to a dairy-free lifestyle, demanding alternatives in every food sector, including the chocolate department.
When the first vegan milk and white chocolates started to appear on the market in 2016, many experts considered it a phase. “Another trend that will soon go away”, rumors had it. But they were soon proven wrong. Chocolate made with dairy alternatives has only gotten more popular over the years, and in 2020 we can be sure: vegan milk and white chocolate is here to stay.
This new category of chocolate has also got a new name that immediately identifies it and differentiates it from the regular milk offers: “Mylk Chocolate” is the new term used to recognize the plant-based versions of milk/white chocolate.
Before mylk chocolate existed, dairy-free consumers could only indulge in the intensity of dark chocolate, a rather frustrating choice when you crave creaminess and sweetness. Some industrial chocolate brands could not even satisfy that simple requirement, as they managed to include milk even in their offers with high-cacao percentages.
When both small and large chocolate companies witnessed the rise of plant-based foods and listened carefully to their customers, vegan alternatives started flooding the chocolate market. Now dairy-free consumers can find an abundance of mylk chocolate products, from fine creations to supermarket treats, that have nothing to envy to their milky counterparts. Even iconic milk chocolate bars might soon see the birth of their new dairy-free twin.
You might be wondering: if there is no milk, what is vegan milk and white chocolate exactly made of?
First, let’s talk about the “milky” part. Chocolate companies have different milk alternatives that they can choose from based on preferred flavors and consistencies.
They can go for the popular coconut milk, which gives a nutty nuance to every creation and is a familiar and appreciated flavour by many consumers. Cashew milk is another option, for a more delicate and balanced taste that is a little salty, a little sweet, and only a little bit nutty. For a low-calorie alternative, the use of rice milk is preferred, with its subtle flavour and a lower fatty component compared to the other dairy-free options.
To be super trendy, the best choice is oat milk. Made from the seeds of the oat plant, this dairy-free alternative is taking over in different sweet industries from drinks to ice-creams. Lacking the strong nutty flavour of coconut, while bringing the same mouth-watering creaminess, oat mylk chocolate is stealing many consumers’ hearts, and chocolate companies are totally riding the trend.
Regardless of the choice, chocolate companies usually include the dairy-free milk in powder form, since water is absolutely forbidden in chocolate and even one drop could ruin the entire batch.
Other ingredients that are mandatory and/or quite common in vegan milk and white chocolate are:
- Cacao (for vegan milk chocolate). Without the possibility to hide behind the strong flavour of regular milk, chocolate companies are paying extra attention to the kind of cacao they use. To avoid an unpleasant result, the cacao should be of high quality and lack any bitterness or acidity.
- Cocoa butter. Regular milk brings to the chocolate a fatty component that helps to make the mouthfeel of the chocolate creamy and smooth. Dairy-free milk alternatives often lack this fatty component, so it is common practice for chocolate companies to add more cocoa butter to their mylk creations to ensure a satisfying texture.
- In this case, sugar can be taken as an occasion to add extra flavours and give more personality to mylk chocolate. From coconut sugar to cane sugar, but also agave nectar and honey, brands can get creative to make their mylk chocolate unique, often combining healthy dairy-free options with equally healthy sugar alternatives.
- Vanilla (for vegan white chocolate). To confer a delicious taste on its own and give more character to an otherwise bland white chocolate, almost all chocolate makers are including some vanilla extract drops or raw vanilla beans in their vegan white chocolate creations.
Some companies are making their mylk chocolates even more delicious by adding crunchy ingredients. Rice puffs, crispy quinoa, cocoa nibs and nut pieces are just some of the infinite options to create an entertaining texture. Including more flavours with fruits, flowers, herbs and spices can only make the mix even more fun.
One of the few downsides of mylk chocolate is that it can be more expensive to manufacture than regular milk chocolate. Not only dairy-free milks cost more than regular cow or goat milk, but also the process and the protocols to make dairy-free chocolates (especially to avoid contamination) are more tedious and complicated. Therefore, mylk chocolate tends to have a higher price point than regular milk and white chocolate. However, since dairy-free consumers have been waiting so long for their chocolate cravings to be satisfied, they seem to be willing to pay the price.
Chocolate companies are now listening to the dairy-free demand more than ever. From supermarket brands to craft chocolate companies, you might have noticed a new mylk chocolate option in the assortment of your favourite brands. Would you give it a try?
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