AAK Chocolate Summit will focus on trends pushing industry forward

By Kristine Sherred

- Last updated on GMT

Functional chocolate is gaining popularity, whether through superfoods like açai or grasshoppers and crickets, pictured here. Pic: Getty Images/fitopardocom
Functional chocolate is gaining popularity, whether through superfoods like açai or grasshoppers and crickets, pictured here. Pic: Getty Images/fitopardocom

Related tags Aak Chocolate Industry Cocoa Consumer Consumer attitudes London Chocolate consumption brand identity branding

The oil and fat supplier will present proprietary survey data from 12 countries at the ‘highly interactive’ event in London, September 5-6.

AAK has curated the event specifically for industry professionals involved in strategic marketing and senior management, primarily in business-to-consumer roles, the company confirmed to ConfectioneryNews. Brand specialists in the chocolate industry around the world are also encouraged to attend​.

Speakers include the global brand director for Barry Callebaut; the chief strategy officer of Design Bridge, a British branding agency; as well as an investor and chairman of N!CK’s, a Swedish snack company.

They will discuss a range of brand-focused topics, such as strategy, growth barriers, consumer drivers and experiential marketing.

The interactive event will also feature a ‘Chocolate Safari’ through the streets of London: guests will visit several boutique shops, department stores and restaurants, where they can partake in roundtable discussions about creativity and innovation.

Functional, dairy-free: understanding chocolate trends

Perhaps most of all, the seminars and site visits will highlight emerging trends, especially in functional formulations: high-protein, plant-based and low-sugar.

“This event will be an excellent opportunity to understand the motivations of today’s chocolate consumers,”​ said Peter Wennström, president of Healthy Marketing Team, a global branding firm focused on health, nutrition and wellness messaging.

He pointed to sustainable sourcing and its effect on purchasing decisions, for instance, as well shifting perceptions of sugar’s place in a healthy diet.

“We’ll be taking a deep dive into these issues, and more, with an emphasis on delivering frontline insights to delegates that give them an edge in a fiercely competitive market.”

To lay the foundation for these conversations, AAK (with the help of Lindberg International, a market insight firm) surveyed 3k consumers, aged 18 to 70, who claimed to eat chocolate more than twice a month.

Nearly eight of 10 consumers would try non-dairy ‘milk’ chocolate buoyed by plant-based ingredients, the survey found. A third take protein claims into account when buying chocolate, and another 40% say they dip a spoon straight into jars of chocolate and nut spreads (e.g. Nutella).

The company told us it would only share full survey results at the summit.

“The results from AAK’s latest consumer research give the chocolate industry a lot to think about by highlighting the beliefs and behaviors that are re-shaping the industry,”​ said Marco Oomen, global business director for the supplier’s chocolate and confectionery fats division.

The London summit provides an opportunity for brands to “explore how we can interpret these emerging trends, and others, to create products aligned with the needs and preferences of modern consumers.”

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