ofi identifies trends ahead of Valentine’s Day

As Valentine’s Day approaches – a holiday that is expected to bring in approximately US$14.2 billion according to the National Retail Federation – how the holiday is celebrated is evolving, according to olam food ingredients (ofi).

According to ofi, Gen Z and millennials are redefining traditions, choosing to spend the holiday with friends and family as well as significant others. Identifying major trends in the chocolate, confectionery and bakery space, ofi has presented opportunities for confectionery producers to tap into.

“As consumers change the way they celebrate Valentine’s Day – and who they celebrate with – there is an opportunity for manufacturers to develop new products,” explained Madeline Bills, Cocoa Innovation Manager, ofi. “From introducing more exotic flavours in confectionery to creating more experiential formats and expanding into new categories, we’re seeing companies inventing new ways for consumers to celebrate the season of love with those who matter most to them.”

Under floral flavours, ofi have said they’re witnessing more floral-inspired flavours spreading into confectionery. The company’s AI-powered research tool shows these flavours are growing in markets worldwide, from lotus in Europe to rose in Asia.

Examples of this in Singapore include Foss Chocolate’s Lychee Rose Bar, and in the UK with Fortnum and Mason’s Dark Chocolate Rose & Violet Creams, and in the US combining fruity and floral flavours with Vosges Haut-Chocolat’s  Blood Orange Hibiscus Caramels, celebrating the beauty of flowers with the joy of chocolate to create a luxury Valentine’s gift.

Many consumers now say they prefer activities over physical gifts. In response, ofi expects an increase in the popularity of gifts like Hotel Chocolat’s Velvetised Chocolate Tasting Experience Gift Set or Flying Tiger’s Valentine’s chocolate fondue set. These products turn a traditional confectionery gift into an experience that can be enjoyed together.

As part of bold and bright flavours in the spotlight, red and pink are synonymous with the season of love and continually prove popular in Valentine’s Day food and beverage products. According to Innova, strawberry has been one of the number one flavours in Valentine’s NPD, featuring in 14% of all Valentine’s products in 2023.

ofi have said they expect to see brands introducing more unusual flavours to reflect Valentine’s colours as consumers seek out more adventurous tastes. Examples observed Leonidas’ Cherry Liquor Cream Gift Box in the UK, Fu Wan Chocolate Rose Lychee White Chocolate Bar in Taiwan  or  Rakka’s Dragonfruit Chai chocolate in the US still create the familiar pink and red colors we all know and love, but with an exciting flavour twist.

Finally, chocolate and confectionery have long been staple gifts on Valentine’s Day, but this year luxury pastries could become more popular as an alternative way to treat loved ones.

The croissant has earned a place in the hearts of consumers and is being refreshed with new formats and flavours that bring a premium feel from the ring shaped ‘cronut’ to the croissant cube and flavours ranging from chocolate to pistachio and hazelnut.

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Media contact

Caitlin Gittins
Editor, International Confectionery
Tel: +44 (0) 1622 823 920
Email: editor@in-confectionery.com

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