By Madeleine Chapman of The Spinoff
For years, vegans have watched on as friends and enemies enjoyed the full range of Whittaker's chocolate. The local darling of cocoa and milk has released new flavours with a blessed regularity in recent years. Hokey pokey crunch, peanut butter and jelly, blondie. It's all good and it's all for people who can consume dairy.
Until now. A Google search, first entered by an evident oat milk fan on Twitter, for "whittakers oat chocolate" returns an ad for a Whittaker's oat milk chocolate, available "in store" at New World. Clicking on the ad leads to a broken link on New World's website.
The Spinoff, upon seeing this, jumped to investigate. First, a forensic analysis (zooming in) of the ad. There's not much to see beyond six pieces of chocolate on the packaging. But on the left, in clear white lettering with two green leaves as a logo, are the words vegans have been waiting for: plant based.
Everything else looks to be a close match to Whittaker's famous creamy milk chocolate, suggesting that this new variety (if it even is a real thing) would be the oat sibling of perhaps the most popular product in the Whittaker's range.
A call to Whittaker's returned the message that the appropriate person to confirm or deny an oat milk chocolate's existence was offsite today and not answering their phone. They promised to call back but instead sent the following via email:
"At Whittaker's, we're always creating exciting new products but we don't have anything new to announce right now. Watch this space though as we have lots planned for later in the year!"
A worker at New World Victoria Park was not familiar with any Whittaker's oat milk chocolate but left the phone to find someone who would know. The call then went to an answering machine. Was this a nationwide coordinated oat cover-up? Perhaps. Is someone at New World going to get a talking to for launching the product page and ad before a new variety's official release? More likely.
Whittaker's often previews new products in press releases to media but The Spinoff has not received anything of the sort. As such, and based off the inscrutable evidence (a Google search and a screenshot), The Spinoff can confidently conclude that Whittaker's may or may not release an oat milk chocolate block in the near or distant future.
Congratulations one and all.