Annually on 31 January, World Vegan Chocolate Day will celebrate plant-based chocolate in all its guises and highlight its positioning as a guilt-free treat that comes with environment-friendly credentials and can be enjoyed by consumers following a variety of lifestyles.
Several producers have already signed up to promote the day, including sponsors Plamil Foods, Winning Ways and Jeavons, while Seed and Bean will be releasing three new lines of Rice Milk Chocolate.
More than just chocolate
There is a chocolate celebratory day in July, but Adrian ‘Vegan Willy Wonka’ Ling, MD of Plamil Foods, which produces a range of dairy free and gluten-free products in its dedicated nut-free facility, said vegan chocoholics deserved to be recognised, too. The specialised category is no longer niche and has grown into a significant player around the globe. It is functional and flexible, and can be used in everything from bakes to bars, snacks and ice cream.
“We wish to celebrate all the positive things about chocolate in all its forms, but quite obviously, we are promoting that chocolate is fantastic without the dairy,” said Ling, noting the celebration neatly rounds off Veganuary on a sweet note.
The idea is obviously still in its infancy, but Ling sees wide open opportunities to not only endorse dairy-free chocolate, but also act as a platform to promote compassion for animals, concern for the environment, along with the communities that produce the cocoa.
“We want celebrate and enjoy cocoa but not at the cost of farmers,” said Ling.
“It seems a no brainer that we should recognise the value of farmers wellbeing, so we are promoting the idea that vegan chocolate should be made from cocoa grown within one of the number of certifications which promote, encourage and certify rights and benefits to the farmers such as the Rainforest Alliance or Organic certification, but there are others.
“As more companies getting on board with their own activities, we see this day is going to be a great annual event.”
Family-owned Plamil Foods was established in the 1960s by those who pioneered the vegan movement. The Kent-based company was the first certified UK producer of organic vegan chocolate, and is also Rainforest Alliance (UTZ) and Soil Association-accredited.