Mars Just Announced Its First Animal-Free Chocolate Brand

There are more vegan chocolate options in the world than ever before, and now one of the world's largest confectionery companies is unleashing its own animal-free chocolate brand into the ring. Mars Inc., the manufacturers of Snickers, Skittles, and M&Ms, has just announced their new chocolate brand CO2COA, according to a press release. The animal-free chocolate is Rainforest Alliance Certified, uses paper-based packaging, and features a new animal-free milk protein substitute developed by the company Perfect Day. Mars says that this new product is in line with shifting consumer demands, and its mission to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), producing cocoa beans (the primary ingredient in chocolate) contributes to deforestation in West Africa, which means that it can be devastating to animal habitats in countries like the Ivory Coast or Ghana where most of the world's chocolate is grown (via Statista). According to the WWF, 70% of the illegal deforestation in the Ivory Coast is due to cocoa bean farming. The Rainforest Alliance certification shows that CO2COA is being sourced responsibly, and not contributing to this crisis. Mars has also helped to address this problem in the past by mapping the cocoa genome, leading to cocoa trees that produce three to four times more cocoa beans than other varieties (via WWF). 

CO2COA uses an innovative new dairy substitute

Mars Inc. says that CO2COA is their "first ever earth-friendly and animal-free chocolate innovation in the U.S." The name is a play on CO2 — the harmful greenhouse gas — that is emitted in the process of sourcing ingredients and making chocolate.

"We're excited to collaborate with Perfect Day and continuing to explore the potential of alternative proteins to help create a more delicious and sustainable future," said Mars Wrigley global vice president of research & development Chris Rowe.

Perfect Day Inc. is a vegan protein developer that has created the "world's first nature-identical" dairy protein. According to the press release, Perfect Day uses 99% less water, and produces 97% fewer greenhouse gas emissions to create this dairy protein over other traditional methods. According to the company's website, vegan whey protein is made by a type of microflora that has been bred to use natural enzymes which produce whey protein — the same kind found in dairy milk. Sadly, this whey protein is so close to the original that persons with milk allergies won't be able to enjoy CO2COA (via Perfect Day).

CO2COA is one of many innovations being introduced as a part of Mars' Sustainable in a Generation Plan (via Mars Inc.) to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. The Mars CO2COA chocolate bar is now up for grabs at while supplies last.