The chocolate industry will always evolve but factors like the pandemic have caused consumer demands to shift drastically, raising questions as to what new innovations are occurring
Chocolate is one of the most globally loved confectionery items. As consumer demands are beginning to change, as more individuals desire healthier products, and a much cleaner label, innovations around chocolate and its production are beginning to emerge. Many market research firms have noted recently there will be a growing popularity around white chocolate and chocolate that contains certain ingredients such as cannabis. Further to this, political factors such as the pandemic have impacted on the different types of chocolate innovations with research showing that, “Chocolate sales have grown by 12% to $27 billion in 2020,” as noted by Packaged Facts research. The growth in chocolate demand has meant that manufactures have had to get even more creative with the types of chocolate flavours and designs that are being produced.
Popular chocolate innovations and trends
Research companies such as Mintel and Pinsight have recorded many types of trends occurring in chocolate innovation. Most of these revolve around experimenting was flavours through more niche ingredients. One of these trends is seemingly in the rise of fruits, natural flavours and ingredients. Citrus flavours especially such as lemon, have particularly become very popular globally during the pandemic. Companies are therefore trying to push the boundaries with what they can add to lemon flavoured chocolates to intrigue experimental consumers. Mintel has even states that, “Gepa, The Fair-Trade Company has launched a white organic yogurt chocolate bar with lemon zest and pepper.” Furthermore, an inclusion of dessert flavours such as crème brulée and tiramisu suggest that chocolate is almost beginning to incorporate a mealtime aesthetic as these small bars are beginning to convey an array of flavours and create an illusion of eating whole meals – with a mixture of sweet and savoury tastes. Seemingly the lines are starting to become more blurred with the incorporation of sweet and savoury products in chocolate.
Another global trend that has been growing in the food industry has been the incorporation of cannabis into confectionery items. The market has mainly seen the cannabis extracts like CBD being placed into gummy sweets for medicinal uses. As there has been an increasing awareness around the health benefits of cannabis in aiding in neurological disorders and mental health issues, more and more people are willing to ingest cannabis into their food to get a different experience. This suggests there is a theme emerging of how food can create a new type of sensorial experience and alter the state of mind. Countries within Europe, the USA and Canada have increasingly seen the rise in marijuana chocolates. With small scale confectionery cannabis companies such as Défoncé gaining greater popularity, other major companies are noticing this trend. Défoncé also provides customers with the choice of including cannabis into their bars or not. This implies that greater consumer ingredient management is becoming increasingly popular too, as it links to the idea of consumers desiring a traceable label in order to further add to their healthier lifestyle.
Read the full article in our January edition.