Delicate and rich in flavour, it is no surprise that chocolate is one of the world’s most favoured treats. Here at Luker Chocolate, we believe that when done right, chocolate can create indulgent moments that fit into the trend of wellness.
As a B4B chocolate manufacturer working with some of the UK’s top chocolatiers, Luker Chocolate has seen wellness become a major trend in in the past 18 months, with 17.6% of all new UK chocolate launches announcing a vegan or plant based claim.*
Over the course of the past few years, it is evident that chocolate consumers are looking to brand owners and chocolatiers for an indulgent treat that fits their wellness plan. Below are some of the key trends within wellness that Luker believes are here to stay.
Oat milk continues to lead the way
The appeal and popularity of oat milk has sky-rocketed over the last year with sales of the drink doubling. Not only is oat milk popular with vegans or free-from consumers, but those who just enjoy the taste. Existing plant-based chocolate options to date have mainly consisted of high-quality dark chocolate, with a cocoa content of 50% or more. Now, due to oat milk’s creamy consistency, free-from consumers can indulge in a range of milk chocolates and even white chocolates too.
Reducing sugar intake
Reducing sugar intake is a classic method for being healthier. While chocolate is not a health product, cocoa does have well documented antioxidant qualities. But many manufacturers add a lot of sugar to turn cocoa into a consumer chocolate product. For those wanting a completely sugar-free alternative, there is not much choice on the shelves. However, demand is increasing. Over the past year, Britain has claimed the highest proportion of European food and drink launches with a ‘no added sugar’ claim*.
The trick is to offer sugar-free chocolate couvertures that deliver on consumer flavour expectations, without compromising on wellness. Luker Chocolate is offering this in its Balance range, which can help chocolatiers create a product rich in flavour that works for a health-conscious consumer.
Natural sugar alternatives
The UK market is diversifying in sugar. Whilst sugar-free takes off, natural sugars are also being experimented with. Around 90% of the UK sugar in products and bags of sugar is beet and cane sugar, both heavily refined and processed.
Some chocolate companies are now looking for more natural sugar alternatives, for a cleaner label and a more natural product.
Coconut sugar is a great example of this, as a way to sweeten a chocolate product more naturally. Natural ingredients are well regarded by consumers looking for wellness products and allow a chocolatier to boast a less processed overall product. Additionally, by working with ingredients consumers can recognise, natural sugar products can be marketed in the wellbeing space by brands very easily.
This consumer interest in wellbeing is already creating a more dynamic chocolate industry. But it’s still in the early stages. Chocolatiers can lean into this trend in 2022 and continue to innovate in this space.
- Paul Morris is European sales manager at Luker Chocolate, a leading premium and sustainable chocolate manufacturer.
- *Sourced from Mintel for Luker Chocolate