Chocolate Market: Global Trends Overview

See how the Top Trends of 2024 are impacting the chocolate market

May 17, 2024 – Every year, created through our extensive 360 research, Innova releases the Top Ten Trends for the coming twelve months. Here we take a look at how four of our Top Tend Trends of 2024 are impacting the global chocolate market: “Ingredients: Taking the Spotlight,” “Nurturing Nature,” “Indulging in Health,” “Minimizing the Noise.”

Ingredients in Chocolate Taking the Spotlight

“Ingredients: Taking the Spotlight” refers to the trend of products highlighting their star ingredients, feeding into positive consumer attitudes towards key ingredients.

Consumers have demonstrated an interest in the ingredients of the products they buy, with one in three consumers saying that they always look at ingredients of interest on the product pack. Consumers also consider vitamins, protein, and fiber as the most important ingredients to look for in their products. Some chocolate products can already be seen with functional ingredients like protein, such as Oobli Dark Chocolate “sweetened with oobli proteins.”

Chocolate trend research indicates that some brands are using these star ingredients to help consumers navigate choices through storytelling. For instance, Supplant’s Coffee Milk Chocolate features “Supplant’s Sugars from Fiber” a new ingredient “made by upcycling agricultural side-streams.” Other products claim to be made with real or natural ingredients, which is a popular claim driving consumer interest when looking for chocolate products.

Protecting the Environment with Chocolate

“Nurturing Nature” references how consumers are expecting businesses to go beyond just generic sustainability claims, and requiring actions that make a positive difference to nature protection. Consumers are invested in the health of the planet – nature protection, sustainable packaging, and improving waste management are the top actions consumers want companies to take for the environment. Alongside, there has been a 45% increase in chocolate confectionery products with a forest protection related claim in the past five years.

Nature protection can mean many things and impacts chocolate trends in different ways. Animal protection, protecting forests, reducing carbon footprint, sustainable farming, biodiversity, protecting oceans, recycling and upcycling, reducing water pollution, and reducing waste all fall under the umbrella of the term. Different products feature claims focused on specific types of nature protection. For instance, regenerative farming claims are popular, seen on a rising number of chocolate products. Brands are committing to environmental protection through investing in sustainable farming technologies – in March 2023 Nestlé partnered with Cargill and Beyond Beans to launch sustainable cocoa products, leveraging regenerative agriculture.

Chocolate Market

Chocolate Trends: Indulging in Health

The top trend of “Indulging in Health” relates to how health brands are moving towards more indulgent formats, while sweets and treats are coming with more health benefits. More than half of consumers demonstrate a willingness to compromise on indulgence for healthier food. Limiting unhealthy ingredients and using more natural ingredients are seen as effective ways to limit the negative health properties of indulgent products.

Turning to chocolate trends, the fastest growing active health claims in chocolate products are prebiotic, added calcium, and probiotic. High source of protein and low sugar claims are also increasingly seen. Brands are finding new ways to fortify their chocolate products, using ingredients such as prebiotic tapioca and pea protein. Some claim to help with preventing health problems before they occur, tapping into another of our Top Trends, Prioritizing Prevention.

Minimizing the Noise

The final trend that most relates to the chocolate market is “Minimizing the Noise.” As information overload becomes more common with consumers, open and straightforward communication is becoming more appealing. The top pieces of information consumers want to see simplified on packaging are brand overview, shelf-life, product storytelling, and sustainability info.

Most consumers check product storytelling when buying chocolate products, but half want to see detailed information, while the other half want to see it simplified. Consumer preferences evidently differ between the type of information they desire, and brands can look towards achieving a happy medium.

Design choices can also be simplified, and Gen Z is highly receptive to more minimalistic designs on the chocolate products they purchase. They also have different desires between detailed and simplified information – they want detailed nutrition, health, and shelf-life information, but simplified brand overview, product storytelling, and consumption recommendations. Most consumers are also wary of greenwashing, with many consumers finding it difficult to recognize if a company is greenwashing.

Alternative Offerings in the Chocolate Market

While it isn’t a part of Innova’s Top Trends of 2024, the chocolate market has seen a notable growth in milk chocolate alternative and cocoa-free offerings, indicating a chocolate trend. Familiar formats and diverse textures are acting as a pathway to more versatile offerings.

Consumers are interested in plant-based alternatives to their favorite foods for many reasons, but the top three are health, variety, and environmental benefits. Alongside, there has been a 12% growth in chocolate products with a plant-based or vegan claim in the past five years. Milk (plant-based) is the fastest growing product base in plant-based chocolate, and almond and oat are the most popular ingredients in these products.

Utilizing texture claims is helping consumers make the switch to plant-based chocolate. Creamy, crunchy, and crispy claims are all fast-growing in plant-based chocolate, creating familiarity for consumers.

What’s Next in Chocolate Market Trends?

Watch for the rising demand for sustainable confectionary impacting the chocolate market, creating opportunities for alternatives to cocoa-based products. Established brands with chocolate portfolios are already expanding beyond plant-based alternatives to cocoa-free alternatives through collaborations. For instance, Cargill has partnered with Voyage Foods to scale up alternatives to cocoa-based products to meet consumers’ indulgence needs.


This article is based on our report, “Top Trends 2024 – Chocolate Confectionery – Global.” If you are interested in reading this report, feel free to request a demo.
You can do this by either booking a demo or using our Contact Form.

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