Market trends

Consumers will ditch calories for smaller and thinner chocolates this Easter, says Mintel

By Douglas Yu contact

- Last updated on GMT

Easter this year has seen a 23% rise in chocolate launches globally compared to last year, according to Mintel. Pic: pdimaria
Easter this year has seen a 23% rise in chocolate launches globally compared to last year, according to Mintel. Pic: pdimaria
Mintel’s latest report shows global launches of chocolate products described as ‘bites’ and ‘thins’ have grown 50% and 48% respectively over the past five years.

“While the lure of chocolate remains strong, it seems many consumers are enjoying it with an element of self-control”​ especially around Easter, said the consumer research firm.

Marcia Mogelonsky, director of insights, Food & Drink, Mintel, said: “The growth of bite-sized chocolate points to the on-going trend of permissible indulgence.

“Pre-measured, 100-calorie packs of chocolate or other treats have fallen from favor as consumers move away from diets that focus on strict calorie counts,”​ she said.

“Offering consumers a bite or a thin piece of chocolate provides an easier way to measure intake, and one that allows for a bit of wiggle room.”

Mintel data indicated that launches of low-sugar and low-fat chocolate described as “light”​ fell by 22% between 2013 and 2017.

“Many US consumers are ambivalent about counting calories as only 35% of them, who are currently managing their weight, have ever considered calorie-controlled snacks to be effective as a weight management tool,”​ Mogelonsky added.

Global chocolate launches for Easter

Mintel said Easter this year has seen a 23% rise in chocolate launches globally over the past year as the holiday represents one of those “permissible indulgence”​ moments.

“There has never been so much choice for chocolate lovers around the world. The countries leading the way in Easter chocolate innovation include Brazil, which accounted for 11% of global Easter chocolate product launches in 2017, followed by South Africa, Germany and the UK, each with a 10% share, and France (9%),”​ said Mintel.

Easter also marks a time for increased innovation in confectionery, Mogelonsky added.

“In the UK, for example, Easter eggs flavored with beer or stout… have given way to new alternatives such as gin-and-tonic flavored eggs,”​ she said. “In Germany, the introduction of vegan Easter bunnies and eggs reflects the growing popularity of a plant-based diet in that country.”

Plant-based eating in chocolate

But when it comes to vegan chocolate consumption, Germany still lags behind other European countries as 44% of chocolate consumers are interested in vegan options compared to Spain (55%), France (53%) and Poland (53%), according to Mintel.

“Vegan confectionery is slowly being introduced into the UK. In 2017, 8% of chocolate launches in the UK were vegan,”​ Mintel said.

“There’s currently a focus on plant-based eating in the chocolate sector,”​ Mogelonsky said. “Manufacturers have responded to the growing interest in plant-based diets by replacing dairy milk with nut- or grain-derived milks in milk chocolate products.

“In some markets, this may be responding to a potential, but not yet an articulated need,”​ she added.

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