The shape and taste of chocolate in 2024 – what to expect …

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

'People will always want to treat themselves,' new research into chocolate trends reveals. Pic: GettyImages
'People will always want to treat themselves,' new research into chocolate trends reveals. Pic: GettyImages

Related tags Chocolate Confectionery Barry callebaut Cocoa

Chocolate confectionery is a significant market, expected to be worth over $128 billion (130 billion Euro) in global retail sales by the end of 2024. With a volume growth of +2% over the next 5 years to 2027, it is also a dynamic market, so what trends can we expect in 2024?

Barry Callebaut’s annual research into the top chocolate trends has revealed that in 2024, with the recently seen price increases, the industry can expect contradictory behaviour from consumers.

The world’s largest chocolate and cocoa supplier says its research suggests that half (54%) prefer to purchase premium, high-quality chocolate. This means consumers continue to treat themselves by celebrating and escaping the ordinary experience by purchasing small luxury items, such as premium and high-quality chocolate. 

But conversely, nearly 7 out of 10 consumers (66%) are looking for better value for their money. This group is also looking for ways to get more for their money, such as buying in bulk, taking advantage of economies of scale, or switching to private-label brands.

“In both cases, consumer preferences depend on their mood or mindset and specific attitude towards life. Driven by changing consumer attitudes, how do the different types of indulgences change the landscape in the chocolate confectionery market?”

To answer such questions, Barry Callebaut consulted with leading chefs worldwide.

People will always want to treat themselves. Also, people with specific dietary preferences still want to enjoy their chocolates. Especially in cities, there is a rising demand for chocolate that fits dietary preferences, such as celiac-friendly, dairy-free, and sugar-free​,” said Lauren V Haas, Chef Chocolatier from Las Vegas, United States.

At the same time, consumers are increasingly interested in natural and authentic ingredients, as well as products that are free from artificial additives and have simple ingredient lists. More than half (54%) of consumers prefer pure chocolate without e-numbers or artificial flavours and colours, while 66% are interested in chocolate confectionery containing unhealthy ingredients. 4 in 10 (41%) consumers seek vegan or plant-based chocolate confectionery options.

Consumers are also becoming more environmentally conscious and looking for chocolate produced in a sustainable and ethical way. According to this year's research, 65% of consumers choose chocolates that minimize waste and use upcycled ingredients, nearly two-thirds are actively looking for chocolates that are produced sustainably, and almost 7 out of 10 (68%) prefer chocolate brands and products that enable them to do good for people and the planet.

Package (52%), human (35%), and environment (24%) are the top 3 claims of all product launches. The research reveals that transparency and traceability are essential for building trust with consumers.

Consumers perceive chocolates with a unique story about their origin or production as higher quality. According to our research, 61% of people appreciate brand storytelling, and the same percentage actively seeks seasonal chocolate confectionery.

Miquel Guarro, a pastry chef from Barcelona, says: “When I am creating an innovation, I always start from a shape that I find attractive. This way, I build up my concept & story. It is key to create simple concepts, but unique products with nice exclusive esthetics, unusual shapes and good taste​.”

Barry Callebaut’s research suggests that 70% of consumers want unique, exciting chocolate with multiple textures and flavours. There are three ways to deliver multi-sensoriality: offer new tastes, appeal to the eyes, or surprise with textures.

And the ‘Mindful Indulgence’ trend is also essential for consumers who want to indulge without compromising their - physical and mental - wellbeing, the health of others, or the planet. Research shows that 3 out of 4 (75%) of global consumers agree that chocolate needs to be tasty, ‘good for me,’ and good for the planet, what Barry Callebaut calls “the Triple Play​.”

Also, most consumers (77%) want chocolate with less sugar. 41% are trying to limit their sugar intake, and 10% are avoiding it altogether. Meanwhile, sugar reduction is an established proposition. Chocolates making most of the cacaofruit are emerging.

At Barry Callebaut, we are in sync with the latest consumer trends, innovating to enrich our portfolio with options that perfectly cater to the rising demand for Mindful and Healthy Indulgence chocolate experiences. Our second generation chocolate is a testament to this, offering perfect value-adding solutions in these evolving spaces​,” said Monika Baumberger, Global Head of Marketing Barry Callebaut Group.

  • Source: What to expect in chocolate in 2024 - and beyond/Barry Callebaut

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