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Sunday, September 26, 2021

The vegan KitKat: what, when and will you bother?

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It’s one of the biggest product reveals of 2021 and a feather in Nestlé’s popularity crown, but what makes the news of a vegan KitKat so undeniably far-reaching?

Chocolate fans have rejoiced on every forum and social media platform at the news of a longstanding favourite — yet unattainable — sweet treat. Because at last, the familiar two and four fingers of chocolate covered wafers are about to be made vegan-friendly.

That’s right, KitKats will no longer be off the menu for plant-based confectionery connoisseurs.

What will the vegan KitKat be like?

 

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If the words of Louise Barrett, head of the Nestlé Confectionery Product Technology Centre are anything to go by, the vegan KitKat will be fully comparable to the regular dairy variation that so many have loved before turning vegan.

Though undeniably launching as a definitive alternative to the original, the vegan KitKat has been lavished with equal time and attention to taste development, particularly when creating the plant-based chocolate.

Did veganising a cherished chocolate bar pose any unforeseen difficulties? If it did, Nestlé is not letting on, talking instead about being able to rely on its expertise in ingredients use and having the original chocolate KitKat to use as a template for success. And what a blueprint it is, having mastered the balance between crispy wafer and a smooth coating. All that was needed was the impetus and ability to create a delicious vegan alternative to the standard chocolate, and both were forthcoming.

Curious about the leap forward in vegan chocolate recipes? Read how vegan milk chocolate is made.

If you’re wondering, like some established vegans are, why this confection needed to be brought into being, the answer is simple: there is a market for it. As veganism and plant-based eating skyrocket in terms of their popularity, being able to convert any traditional or nostalgic favourite snack into an animal-free version guarantees a certain amount of curiosity and consumption.

Having committed to a test and learn approach, Nestlé has finally cracked the code and produced a vegan KitKat that is ready to present to the masses, leading to perhaps the most asked question.

When will the vegan KitKat be for sale?

 

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The catchily named KitKat V does not, yet, have a definite release date. This has led interested parties to start clamouring for answers as to why we are allowed to know that such a treat is on the cards, but tantalisingly out of reach. Well, there are a few schools of thought:

Could the release be a rather shrewd marketing ploy to overshadow some rather unflattering press surrounding ongoing court cases?

Or perhaps Nestlé is riding the vegan popularity wave and wants to get out in front of potential competitor releases?

Or maybe we are being whipped into a frenzy to ensure a sell-out launch and a legion of new fans, both vegan and not.

Get the potential other side of the release story.

Do we need to try it?

kitkat vThis is a question every vegan is asking themselves. On the one hand, the snack promises to be an exciting foray into childhood treats that may have always seemed out of reach but on the other, many consumers seek to shop ethically and Nestlé is firmly at the top of the ‘avoid’ list.

Do we presume KitKat V to be delicious? Of course. Wafer and chocolate are the best of friends, creating exemplary mouthfeel, textural diversity and an irresistible sweetness to boot. We have no reason to doubt the recipe, the research and the finished product, but there is still that pesky detail of the potential bad aftertaste when taking the manufacturer into account.

Amy Buxton
Amy is a committed ethical vegan, raising a next generation compassionate human with her husband and their beloved dog, Boo. A freelance writer with a background in PR, she decided to use the COVID lockdown period to refocus her client base and has come to The Vegan Review as a senior writer and editor, before moving into her external content director role. "What we should be doing is working at the job of life itself" is Amy's mantra, courtesy of Tom from The Good Life.