Nearly two-thirds of global consumers purchased chocolate confectionery in the last year. These consumers are voicing their demands on purchase and consumption drivers, flavor preferences, and values. Here is what you need to know about the trends and developments in the chocolate confectionery market.
Bright Future for Chocolate NPD
Annual confectionary launches have been increasing since 2018, experiencing +3% CAGR between 2018 and 2022. There was a brief decline in new product launches during the peak of COVID-19 in 2020 and 2021, but NPD recovered, continuing its positive growth rate in 2022.
Chocolate Consumption Drivers
According to consumers, the number one chocolate consumption driver is taste, which is the top response in most countries. Top purchase drivers for consumers of chocolate are to make themselves happy (55%), to indulge (40%), to treat or reward themselves (36%), or to relax and wind down (33%).
Consumer Consumption Preferences
Nearly two-thirds of the global population purchased chocolate confectionary in the past year, and diving into consumption trends, our research shows that over half of consumers claim to eat it at least once a week, with 53% claiming to eat chocolate in block or tablet form, and 54% claiming to eat chocolate-based confectionery such as bars or truffles.
Consumer Flavor Favorites
Innovation in flavors and inclusions continues in chocolate confectionery. Chocolate confectionery has many different flavors, differing by country and targeted to specific preferences. Nuts remain the most popular flavor inclusion for chocolate confectionery, and the top four nut inclusions of 2018 – hazelnut, almond, caramel, and peanut, remain the top today.
Chocolate Flavor Experimentation
Adventurous consumers are on the lookout for new chocolate flavors and experiences to challenge their preferences. Innova’s research shows that 100 flavors have grown in launch count between 2018 and 2022. The top five trends in these emerging flavors are brownie, date, yogurt, honeycomb, and salt.
Environmental Claims Surge
One trend in chocolate is the growth of environmental claims in chocolate confectionery launches. Of all confectionery launches, 24% had an environmental claim compared to 9% in 2018. Environment, packaging, and human-related claims are the three most-occurring claims trending in new product launches.
Consumer Values Expressed
Innova’s Megatrends revealed that the number one global consumer concern remains health of the planet. Consumers claim to consider environmental and human welfare when purchasing chocolate. While it isn’t a top purchase driver, it can be a tie-breaker.
Environmental and Human Welfare
One of two trends resulting from consumer values is increased environmental concerns. This concern is felt by farmers, who are pressured to make their farming practices more sustainable. This pressure has resulted in sustainable and fairtrade farming becoming more common. The second trend is that consumers want to see human welfare improvement through company transparency in ingredient sourcing.
Developments in Plant-Based Chocolate
Plant-based options are increasing in chocolate confectionery. Trends in plant-based, such as vegan, vegetarian, and plant-based claims are becoming more common. Vegan or dairy alternative ingredients are blended with chocolate or cocoa to give confectionary products, especially milk chocolate, improved taste and texture. These alternative ingredients include oat milk, almond milk, and hazelnut paste.
Expect an increased focus on making the entire bean-to-bar process more sustainable. Improved sustainability in chocolate manufacturing will be from protecting and regenerating the environment to ensuring equitable treatment for farmers and farm workers. Additionally, this will lead to more sustainable manufacturing processes and environmentally friendlier packaging. More growth in vegan, vegetarian, and plant-based claims, no added sugar, and the use of natural sweeteners in chocolate confectionery will be more commonplace.
This article is based on our report, “Decadent Delights: Exploring Global Chocolate Confectionery Trends.”
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