For evidence of the popularity of vegan chocolate, just look at its fundraising efforts: many brands have secured significant investment.

One of the most significant successes has been LoveRaw, which in 2020 received a seven-figure sum from Beyond Meat-backer Blue Horizon Ventures.

At the time of the news, Blue Horizon said it was “confident that LoveRaw has the opportunity to become market leaders in their sector”.

It came just a year after the free-from confectionery brand – whose lineup includes Nutty Choc Balls and a new Cre&m Wafer bar – turned down a £50k offer on Dragons’ Den for a bigger stake in the business.

It’s not the only such firm to say no to a Dragon. In 2018, James Cadbury rejected a £75k offer on the show for a 15% share of his Love Cocoa business, which includes the HiP oat-based chocolate brand.

“It wasn’t worth the equity I was going to give up,” he told Management Today around the time.

Looking ahead, a vegan chocolate brand may well be next on the list for Mission Ventures, which invests in and helps to build challengers – and has just launched an accelerator scheme for better-for-you brands.

The company already has vegan jelly Naturelly and vegan crisp brand Spare Snacks on its books.

It has also invested in Rootles (above), which specialises in chocolate-coated biscuits with a healthy twist: they contain more than 35% vegetables. Earlier this year, Rootles modified its dark chocolate variant to make it vegan.

“It’s definitely helped us to capture extra custom,” explains brand founder Helen Yates.

“Both vegans and non-vegans seem very happy with the modification we made, and that’s great because the secret is to appeal to all,” she adds.

If sales of vegan confectionery continue to grow at their current rate, it may not be long before it’s rivalling meat alternatives as a hot investment area.