By Aurore de Monclin, Managing Partner at The HMT
When most people think indulgence, they often think of chocolate. It has been the go to comfort treat for celebrating special occasions (Valentine’s anyone?), getting through stressful times or even bribing kids (please know you have my full support and understanding if you are nodding reading this). But this made me wonder, how is such a quintessentially indulgent treat fairing in the times when health and wellness awareness is high and the “naughty” foods are punished in public opinion? What are the innovation opportunities in the chocolate space? To celebrate World Chocolate Day this year, our team did some research and brings you 3 trends in chocolate:
You probably know about sustainability in cocoa farming, but how about upcycling and creating products from parts of the cacao fruit which are usually discarded? Upcycling is very much an up and coming trend in many categories and this is also the case in chocolate. Our team found some fantastic examples of products who use upcycling and differentiate. Let’s take Kumasi drinks: they are soft drinks with different flavors who use the pulp of the cacao fruit which is not used in making chocolate bars. They taste great and they mean extra income for the cacao farmers.
Another example is CaPao Cacaofruit Bites from the US which is a plant based snack. It is certified made with Upcycled Cacaofruit, and it helps famers and fights food waste.
Addressing these health conscious consumers who are want to indulge, yes, but also take care of their health, we have brands that are launching chocolate bars with ingredients such as botanicals or vitamins and minerals blends in order to address a specific health benefit. A great example is the Functional Chocolate Company, which urges consumers to “experience the Sweet Taste of Health® with decadent chocolate bars that provide relief from everyday health realities.”
One of the most innovative approaches that our team identified is brands who create a ritual around the experience of consuming chocolate. It becomes a self- care moment or a break during the day where you consciously treat yourself. A great example of this approach is Lotte Lil Fika (Japan) inspired by Swedish fika, a coffee break pause.
The plant-based trend couldn’t of course be missing. We especially noticed chocolate brands dramatising the use of oat milk, which has become almost a staple in plant-based milks category during the last years. Chocolate drinks but also chocolate bars are using oat milk to multiply the perceived goodness and as a way to bring a healthier perception to an indulgent category. One of my favorite examples is Ombar, “creamy tasting, planet saving” chocolate bar. A very purpose driven bar which does not compromise on taste.
Chocolate is of course a very traditional category but it still presents many opportunities for innovation. If you are inspired by the trends and want to know how to apply them to your brand or how to select the one that best matches your market and target audience, feel free to get in touch! We are offering one hour free consultation to go through any challenge you might have. Just drop me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org