Shifting consumer attitudes to life continue to impact the way they indulge, putting organisations in a position where they have to supply products that meet people’s and the planet’s needs. With over 70,000 launches across the chocolate piece and block confectionery subcategories in the last six years (Innova Insights, 2022), chocolate represents an innovative opportunity. It serves several segments helping brands respond to consumer demand.
Read on to explore key chocolate trends we have witnessed during this year and are likely to continue influencing the chocolate market moving forward:
- The rise of alternative ingredients in chocolate confectionery.
- Sugar alternatives for chocolate confectionery products.
- Ethically sourced cocoa.
- Nostalgic flavours.
The rise of alternative ingredients in chocolate confectionery
The dynamic rise of alternative ingredients in confectionery owes its success to the growth of health and environment-conscious consumers. According to a recent study by Research and Markets, premium offerings with healthy ingredients are set to continue to grow in popularity.
For this reason, many consumers are now interested in healthy alternatives (such as organic, low to no sugar, and plant-based). As well as personally having a growing awareness of the impact of packaged food production on the environment. As such, the most popular claims made by brands this year across new confectionery launches were gluten free, vegetarian and no additives/preservatives, (Innova Market Insights, 2022).
For chocolate specifically, emerging healthy alternatives include dairy substitutes like our oat milk couvertures and low and no-sugar alternatives such as coconut sugar, allulose or stevia, and erythritol. These consumer demands are being met by manufacturers, like ourselves, so that chocolate companies and partners can easily craft unique products that attract their target customers who want a lower-impact snack.
*Innova Market insights, 2022.
Cane sugar remains on the top in chocolate confectionery from 2020 – 2022, while honey, stevia and rice syrup maintain third and, fourth and fifth position, considering the global chocolate confectionery launch reported by Innova Market Insights.
Sugar alternatives for chocolate confectionery products
Throughout 2022, the global sugar-free confectionery market has been valued at over USD 2 billion, with sugar-free chocolate confections holding a 62.9% market value share. Due to a surge of health consciousness and global health challenges such as diabetes, we have seen brands face an increasing need to cater to the sweet tooth of their consumers with sugar free chocolate options. As such, the market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.4% from 2022 to 2030, according to Persistence Market Research.
For too long, sugar substitutes and plant-based options have only been available as dark chocolate couvertures, but now there are options for milk and even white chocolate. This type of ‘better for you’ snacking has never been so popular.
In response to this demand, we launched our Balance portfolio, which includes Erythritol-Stevia sugar-reduced Milk 40% and sugar-free Dark 70%. Combining both the demand for natural alternative ingredients and sugar substitutes.
Ethically sourced cocoa
Consumer demand for ethically produced and sustainable chocolate is driving product development. Putting demands on manufacturers to prove their transparency. We already know chocolate is good for us – and yummy! But what about the conditions of the farmers who grow it?
In general, ethically sourced cocoa means that the chocolate has been grown, farmed, and produced under ethical standards through a fair trade. So, both farmers and laborers receive fair and sustainable wages as well as safe and environmentally friendly working conditions.
Despite inflation driving price hikes, a report by Capterra found that 84% of consumers have purchased a sustainable product in the past six months, up from 67% in 2021. Furthermore, 88% of consumers say that they check the sustainability of a product before at least some purchases. While sustainable shopping has grown in popularity among consumers of all ages, Gen Z has played a significant role driving this trend as they increase their purchasing power and are generally more conscious about the importance of responsible and ethical purchasing.
We have always been passionate about single-origin chocolate, as its production is crucial for transforming cocoa-growing communities, whilst allowing us to assure the quality and stability of the final product taste. As a company, we are committed to creating an ethical, sustainable and positive value chain: during 2021 more than 2300 families in rural communities in Colombia were positively impacted with projects in education, entrepreneurship, human rights and environmental protection.
Working close to the cocoa communities allows us to innovate
economically, socially and environmentally across the value chain.
Ultimately, this is all thanks to the collaboration of our clients towards the “The Chocolate Dream”. Using our Anchor Model, we continue to increase Fine Flavour cocoa availability and have a direct impact on some of Colombia’s regions. Not only does this enable challenger brands (current or new) to experiment with alternative ingredients and flavour profiles, but all products meet the standards of the world’s premium chocolate market – perfect for today’s conscious consumer.
Nostalgic flavours in confectionery arised
In a world where health and well-being have become a priority for many consumers, it’s up to the confectionery industry to meet these modern consumer palates. Aside from physical health, there is a strong desire from consumers for intense, indulgent flavours to generate moments of pleasure and disconnection to aid their mental health.
The NCA states that 72% of the American consumers believe that physical health and emotional well-being are interconnected and the importance of emotional well-being creates a special place for treats in the diet.
Ticking all the boxes, in response to this behaviour caramel became one of the favourite flavors which brings a feeling of nostalgia as reminiscent of playful childhood days, perfect for consumers who look to unwind during me-time. This flavour has been around for years and is going to stay, experts agree.
With caramel’s familiar and nostalgic taste resonating with consumers of all ages, we expect more brands will continue to innovate around new sensations and experiences to boost consumer moods using this flavour and other classics.
Ahead of the game, we are now offering a new all-time favourite, Caramelo 33% as part of our ‘Sensacion’ indulgent line. Using caramelised milk to create a creamy-caramel texture, the chocolate couverture’s application possibilities are extremely versatile for classic and seasonal products, while maintaining our company’s sustainable values.