olam food ingredients’ (ofi) flavour experts have identified the top chocolate, confectionery and bakery trends ahead of the 2023 Halloween season. The importance of the Halloween season cannot be understated to the confectionery industry – a recent National Confectioners Association survey showed 93% of Americans plan to celebrate Halloween and 98% will hand out chocolate and candy.
The trends identified by ofi experts fall into four categories; autumnal flavour pairings, plant-based and alternative confectionery, the rise of seasonal home baking and seasonal novelty formats.
Under autumnal flavour pairings, ofi have said more and more Halloween-themed chocolates incorporating autumnal flavours such as pumpkin spice, apple cider, caramel apple and cinnamon. As an emerging flavour, chili is becoming a popular flavour trends in European confectionery.
As part of plant-based and alternative confectionery, brands are increasingly looking to cater to different consumer preferences and needs around seasonal holidays. For brands looking to develop plant-based treats, finding the right base is key. According to ofi, oat milk works well with cocoa powders as it helps to minimise any bitter notes in cocoa and create a well-rounded flavour profile.
The rise of seasonal home baking has seen home baking and pre-mix recipe kits rising in popularity, with more themed and seasonal options appearing on shelves.
Finally, companies are seizing the opportunity provided by seasonal holidays to trial exciting and new, experimental concepts with consumers for a limited time period – such as Starbucks’ Spook-a-ccino.
During Halloween, the reconfiguration of nostalgic customer favourites has become more commonplace, with a rise in limited edition ranges. From Bourbon’s mysterious sour candy and Lindor’s Jack O Lantern truffles in Japan to KitKat’s breaking bones skeleton bars in the USA. As well as flavour, cocoa ingredients can create novelty through color to catch the eye of consumers. For example, you can create contrast using ingredients such as using the bright white of ofi’s Moonlight cocoa butter against the orange of dried pumpkin pieces.
“As Halloween grows in popularity around the globe, we’re seeing product development teams moving beyond traditional confectionery and candy to bring consumers more exciting and personalised creations,” said Naveen Pessani, Technical Category Manager for Chocolate & Confectionery, ofi. “From bringing a fun seasonal twist to better-for-you product lines to adding new variations to family favourite treats, Halloween is an opportunity to experiment with new flavours and switch up existing formats to surprise and delight customers.”
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