The market analyst’s consumer trends Consumer and Innovation Trends in Chocolate report claims chocolate innovation has so far been slow to address the consumer demand for more ‘personal’ products. However, it states: “Moving towards formulation innovation is likely to be geared towards catering to the varying taste and product preferences of consumers by age and gender.”
The report, which covers the global mega trends in chocolate, identifies a range of opportunities for processors working in product development and market growth in the category. It splits these opportunities up into four main areas: ingredients and flavours; benefits and positioning; packaging and merchandising and marketing.
Under ingredients and flavours, Datamonitor suggests manufacturers have considerable potential to draw on other categories as inspiration for innovative flavour combinations, packaging designs and production techniques that “surprise and excite consumers”.
Origins of cocoa beans
Aside from the trend towards more personalised offerings, other opportunities in ingredients include highlighting the specific origins of cocoa beans to enhance brand transparency and foster consumer trust.
Under benefits and positioning, the report urges firms to target healthy indulgence status by adapting product formats to make smaller amounts of chocolate appealing. Using science-based claims to address scepticism surrounding functional chocolate is another area processors could explore, Datamonitor suggests. And it states companies could “bring ‘better for you’ product cues to the fore with clean, simple and familiar ingredient labels”.
Consumers’ growing awareness of packaging waste associated with seasonal chocolate offerings such as Easter eggs is an opportunity for manufacturers to produce sustainable seasonal chocolate packaging formats, the report states. Packaging could also be used more to evoke product heritage and tell a story, it claims. And it adds that retail-ready and shelf-ready packaging formats could be used more to enhance product visibility.
In terms of merchandising and marketing, Datamonitor suggests fruit and vegetables are ‘star’ ingredients to focus on for their healthy and natural qualities. And the company states that manufacturers could make more use of digital marketing to drive sales as well as explore the use of technology to increase consumers’ level of interaction with packaging.