Cargill has found indulgent, premium, healthy, as well as sustainable and clean as key trends in cocoa and chocolate.
Based its study with customers across application categories and projects, Cargill has found that cocoa powder is increasingly being used to play with shades and add depth of color.
With consumers’ desire for an ever-more indulgent experience, vegetable and chocolate combinations are becoming popular across a range of categories, for example kale flavor fillings in chocolate bars and chocolate featuring alongside beetroot in cakes.
Texture is also evolving towards more indulgence, with larger chocolate chunk inclusions as well as new combinations of textures such as crispy chocolate layers on top of creamy desserts.
On the demand for premium products, provenance and origin are key among cocoa and chocolate products.
Manufacturers increasingly highlight on the pack the country where the end-product was manufactured, satisfying consumers’ desire to buy local products.
Inspiration from the artisanal industry is also observed.
Processes behind the product are becoming more prominent on packaging – with details included such as ‘stone ground’ or ‘slow churned’ and even the conching time of chocolate.
On the quest for the healthy, besides the long standing trend for sugar reduction and gluten free, lactose free claims are increasingly being observed in cocoa and chocolate products, with milk alternatives such as coconut milk increasing in popularity.
Looking at ingredients as beneficial, the trend for protein is still booming and becoming mainstream, breaking free from the sports nutrition niche and focusing on satiety rather than sports recovery.
Where food comes from, how it is produced, and its true ethical and environmental cost, matter to consumers.
Certified chocolate products are becoming more popular and spreading their reach out from chocolate tablets into dairy, bakery, biscuits and ice cream.
Answering consumers’ needs for more transparency, clean and clear labelling is also more important than ever.
In the quest to remove e-numbers, real fruits and plant extracts are being increasingly used to naturally color products.
“Today’s discerning consumer is looking beyond value for money,” says Niklas Andersson, marketing director Cocoa & Chocolate Europe.
“They are better informed than ever before and, as our research demonstrates, they consider the contents of their food and its impacts on the future more than ever before.”
“In short, they want food that tastes good, is good, helps them to be good and does good.”