Hershey rolls out plant-based Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups 

The Hershey Company new plant-based Reese's peanut butter cups.

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are getting the plant-based treatment.

The Hershey Co. said Tuesday that Reese’s Plant Based Peanut Butter Cups, which go on sale this month, will be its first plant-based chocolates sold nationally. A second plant-based offering, Hershey’s Plant Based Extra Creamy with Almonds and Sea Salt, will follow in April.

The chocolates are made with oats instead of milk, Hershey said.

The company said the chocolates are plant-based but did not label them as vegan. Plant-based food does not have to be completely free of animal products, but vegan food does.

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Hershey has experimented with plant-based chocolate before. It sold an oat-based chocolate bar called Oat Made in some test markets starting in 2021. But the new products will be the first sold throughout the U.S. under the “Plant Based” label.

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Hershey said consumers want choice and are looking for products they consider healthier or with fewer ingredients, including reduced sugar and plant-based options. Hershey also introduced an organic version of Reese’s Cups in February 2021.

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Younger consumers, in particular, are looking to reduce consumption of animal-based products, says Euromonitor, a market research firm. In a 2021 survey, Euromonitor found that 54 per cent of Generation Z consumers were restricting animal-based products from their diets, compared to 34 per cent of Baby Boomers.

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Nestle has sold its KitKat V, a vegan KitKat bar, in Europe since 2021, while Cadbury sells a vegan chocolate bar in the United Kingdom. But so far, U.S. vegan chocolate options have generally been limited to premium brands, like Lindt, or organic chocolatiers like Hu Kitchen.

Hershey said it developed plant-based versions of Reese’s Cups and Hershey bars — some of its most popular products — because there’s a dearth of mainstream plant-based chocolates in the U.S. market.

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The plant-based versions will cost more. Hershey wouldn’t share details because it said retailers set final prices. But Rite Aid lists a 1.4-ounce package of two plant-based Reese’s Cups at $2.49; that’s about $1 more than consumers would pay for a regular package. Hershey charges a similar premium for organic versions of its Reese Cups, which went on sale in 2021.

And ditching the dairy won’t cut calories. While Hershey didn’t release all of the nutritional facts, the 1.4-ounce package of plant-based Reese’s Cups have 210 calories; that’s the same number of calories as a 1.5-ounce package of traditional Reese’s Cups.

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