New York-based candy brand GIGANTIC! recently launched vegan GIGANTIC! bars nationwide. Available in Salted Peanut, Hazelnut Cafe, Banana Pecan, and Almond Horchata flavors, the new vegan bars are made with Fairtrade dark chocolate, coconut milk, and plant-based caramel. Made with only seven grams of sugar, the vegan and gluten-free candy bars were developed to evoke childhood nostalgia without the sugar rush.
Founded by Stu Davidoff and launched this year, GIGANTIC! aims to create well-balanced, health-conscious vegan candy without sacrificing flavor. “GIGANTIC! arose out of a long-lost love. Most people move on from candy bars at some point in their lives, and for good reason—they’re loaded with sugar, dairy, and other questionable ingredients,” Davidoff told VegNews. “As a kid, there was a certain rush of excitement just looking at a candy bar wrapper … a feeling I’ve never rekindled with a granola bar, protein bar, or latest ‘healthy bite.’ So I set out to create a candy bar geared to a more mature, sophisticated palate and a more health-conscious consumer that still delivers the old-school, gotta-have-it experience.”
Michelin-star vegan candy bars
Before bringing the “sorta sweet” candy bars to market, Davidoff worked with a team of chefs—who, collectively, had worked at restaurants with 20 Michelin stars—to help develop GIGANTIC! bars while sticking to three key parameters: vegan ingredients, no alternative sweeteners, and ensuring each bar has less than 10 grams of sugar.
Developing the candy bars’ signature caramel, which is made in house, proved to be no easy feat. “GIGANTIC!’s plant-based caramel was the most challenging part of recipe development,” said Davidoff. “The product development team are rockstar chefs who also understand the molecular building blocks of food. They were able to look at traditional dairy caramel and come up with ingenious ways to rebuild it from the ground up with plant-based ingredients.”