Chocolate is chocolate, you may say; it’s delicious and there are some new flavours appearing from time to time, but how can it be really changing? Well, it can. The chocolate industry is estimated to reach $37 billion until 2023, and it’s certainly not because it stays the same. Not only the manufacturers discover new techniques and new ideas, but also the customers become more and more aware of products and brands, as well as of health benefits that good chocolate can bring. Everything is changing and so is the chocolate industry. So where is it heading right now?
The organic trend is growing and it looks like it’s going to stay
In 2017 organic became the most searched and demanded a new type of product, and it doesn’t seem like the trend is fading which can be attributed to several bigger lifestyle trends. Chocolate is no longer a guilty pleasure and eating it is not associated with ingesting tons of sugar anymore. When you decide on organic dark chocolate, you aim for something delicious, but also unsweetened and 100% natural, therefore healthier. Especially younger consumers and parents are warier when it comes to products they buy, because of high processing, pesticides, hormones, GMOs and antibiotics, and other artificial ingredients. What’s more, very often, organic means sustainability and fair labour claims, which makes the decision ethical and environmentally-friendly.
Free-from is getting stronger than ever
Veganism is one of the trends that will probably stay for longer – or forever. The growing number of people give up dairy because of the state of the dairy industry, and so chocolatiers and chocolate manufacturers have to follow – there are more and more types of vegan chocolate on the market. Apart from that, it’s become valuable and highly appreciated to label some of your products as gluten-free and nuts-free to enable people with allergies and those on diets to have their little pleasures without any fears or worries. All you have to do is walk through any store to see the size of this phenomenon – free-from products aren’t only basic anymore. A vegan or a person with celiac disease can choose from a wide range of products varying in types, flavours, texture, and more.
More and more people value quality over quantity
First of all, people are limiting their regular consumption of chocolate and since they only allow themselves to eat it from time to time, they always want it to be an extraordinary experience. Plus, consumers are becoming more aware of ingredients, the process of production, and everything behind their delicious piece of chocolate. It’s no surprise that they are willing to pay more for a better-tasting product that also seems more natural and simply healthier. Chocolate has become an affordable luxury making it one of the least price-sensitive products on the market. People also want to support their local manufacturers, very often deciding on artisanally crafted articles.
People love experimenting with chocolate
It’s great to have a bar of classic, dark chocolate from time to time, but most of the consumers look for a whole new experience. It’s normal for the manufacturers to regularly provide the market with new, crazier and more exciting flavours. No one is frowning anymore at the sight of a colourful chocolate bar, bubbles, beetroot cake, a kale chocolate mousse, crispy chilli chocolate, or other variations.
Dark milk chocolate is rising
We are used to the choice – you either eat a healthier, dark, bitter chocolate or a sugary, fatty milk one – but the industry has responded to that as well. A regular bar of milk chocolate contains only around 30% of cocoa solids, while the ones being manufactured now can contain as much as 40%-50%. Thanks to that, it tastes deeper, more like chocolate and less like sugar but you get to avoid the bitterness.
The producers focus on packaging more
There are two reasons for that: they want to be unique and recognizable, as well as sustainable and eco-friendly. Companies spend more time designing their packages because they want them to catch the eye and stay in the consumers’ memory. Plus, a lot of stores, supermarkets and manufacturers declared a war on plastic, so they sacrifice their time to find a solution that will be less harmful to the environment but still able to keep the products safe and good.
Whether you’re a manufacturer or simply a chocolate lover, it’s a good idea to keep your eyes on the chocolate industry and be aware of how it’s changing. There are many different trends influencing the market, but they can all be summarized by one word: awareness. People are more aware of what they eat and where it comes from, and they want to be in control. Everything counts – the origin of the products, ingredients, production process, and more. You don’t want to be left behind.