The healthy chocolate confectionery category, including fortified functional, organic, reduced fat and sugar, is set to grow by almost double the rate in retail value and volume consumption as regular chocolate confectionery by 2021, according to the market research firm.
Euromonitor’s data shows that between 2016 and 2021 global retail sales volumes of health and wellness chocolate will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of +2.6%, compared to a +1.3% CAGR for regular chocolate confectionery over the same period.
Total retail value growth of health and wellness chocolate confectionery globally if forecast to rise 3.5% during the same period, versus 2.3% for regular chocolate confectionery.
Health and wellness chocolate growth resonates with packaged food
The data rhymes with the rise of the overall health and wellness packaged food category. At the beginning of 2017, health and wellness packaged food has outgrown its regular counterpart, and the trend is expected to continue until 2021.
“Growth in organic and free-from food sales has boomed in 2016 as consumers are reading labels more carefully than ever, seeking natural ingredients and looking for foods that represents a ‘guilt-free’ purchase,” head of health and wellness at Euromonitor, Ewa Hudson, said.
“Organic is also in sync with the natural and clean label trend, and so unlikely to fall out of favour with consumers in the foreseeable future,” she added.
Euromonitor predicted free-from and organic foods and beverages will continue to contribute to the global health and wellness industry, which is on its way to hitting a record high of $833bn by 2021.
Fortifying dark chocolate with nutrients
Multiple studies have suggested health benefits from polyphenol-rich dark chocolate, include cognition improvement and heart health.
Some chocolate firms have begun fortifying products.
Earlier this year, chocolate startup Blue Planet begun mass producing probiotic chocolate squares in order to keep up with the gut health trend, and Theo Chocolate introduced quinoa cocoa flavanol clusters for heart health-conscious consumers in 2016.
Chocolate and real fruit
However, the vice president of Welch’s Global Ingredients Group, Wayne Lutomski, believed there is room for a healthy indulgence which fruit-added chocolate may best provide.
Before joining the Welch’s team, Lutomski worked as vice president of international and director customer development at Peep’s maker, Just Born, according to his LinkedIn account.
“Healthy indulgence snacks allow consumers to get the great tasting product they seek, but also feel good about consuming it,” he told ConfectioneryNews.
“Chocolate can meet this need. However, there is an opportunity to increase the health and wellness profile for chocolate,” Lutomski added.
A Welch’s-backed survey conducted this January in the US found 80% of Millennial snackers are looking for a better taste, compared to 52% of them focusing on health and nutrition.
The research also found 66% of Millennials consumers are more likely to buy a snack containing fruit if it is made with real fruit. Consumers also prefer to buy fruit when they know the origin.
The Massachusetts-based company currently offers a 100% fruit bite made from the Concord grape, called FruitWorx, through its ingredients arm. It says the ingredient can be enrobed in chocolate to provide a double dose of polyphenols.