This month's All Candy Expo in Chicago saw an impressive range of dark chocolate launches, suggesting that innovation is still possible in this well-established segment.
Dark chocolate clearly remains a consumer favourite. At the annual All Candy Expo, which ran from 6 to 8 June, a number of new products were on display.
Botticelli's Choco-Meg line, for example, is a new innovation designed to give consumers a daily fix of dark chocolate fortified with omega-3 fatty acids.
The company has launched this Belgian chocolate range in three varieties - Memory Formula (chocolate with orange flavour), Calcium Formula (milk chocolate with cookie bites) and Cardio Formula (dark chocolate with raspberry pieces).
Ghirardelli Intense Dark Gourmet Chocolate Bars on the other hand expands Ghirardelli's range of dark chocolate products. The new line comes in four new flavours, and is clearly targeted at the high-end of the market.
Twilight Delight (72 per cent cacao) is a pure, deep and rich dark chocolate. Citrus Sunset (60 per cent cacao) is dark chocolate fused with flavourful bits of orange and rich caramel crunch, while Toffee Interlude (48 per cent cacao) is a slightly sweeter dark chocolate blended with crunchy toffee and caramelised almonds.
Finally, Espresso Escape (60 per cent cacao) combines dark chocolate with a blend of deep-roasted espresso beans.
Madeline Dark Chocolate on the other hand has been developed to satisfy the growing consumer demand for the health benefits of cocoa. The company has therefore introduced a new line of all natural, premium dark chocolate.
The product boasts a high 72 per cent cocoa content. In addition to solid dark chocolate bars and mini hearts foiled in deep brown and cooper, the line includes a mix of blueberries, cranberries, almonds and cashews in what the company claims is nutritious dark chocolate.
In addition, Chocolate Bowl displayed its Dark Chocolate Almonds product, which it claimed was a delicious and nutritious treat.
On the indulgent side, Jim Beam Chocolate Bourbon has been developed. This product combines fine dark fine chocolate in a non-alcoholic premium fudge.
Also, Cote D'or Chocolate has blended high quality cocoa beans from around the world to deliver another indulgent experience.
These dark chocolate products tap into impressive growth within the confectionery sector. In 2005, 2,767 new confectionery products were launched in the US, according to the National Confectioners Association.
Nearly a quarter (23 percent) of confectionery sales can be attributed to new products that have debuted in industry in the past twelve months.