As Easter approaches, chocolate confectionery is once again in the spotlight. In Ireland, concerns over sugar are putting pressure on sales, as consumers limit their consumption of chocolate and switch to better-for-you (BFY) alternatives. However, with Irish consumers noting that the emotional benefits of chocolate are important to them, there is scope for brands to put a greater emphasis on smaller-portion formats, positioning chocolate as a treat that can be enjoyed in moderation and as part of a balanced diet.
This describes the ways that consumers justify their decision to indulge in “not especially good for you” products. Depending on the occasion, permissible indulgence can refer to the decision to eat a small portion of an indulgent product. But, at other times, consumers consider their consumption of a larger (regular) portion of a BFY product in the same category to be permissible. For example, a consumer may sometimes consider it permissible to indulge in a small portion of an extremely rich and decadent chocolate confectionery - hence the growth of bite and thin formats. But at other times, the consumer may opt instead to indulge in a regular serving of BFY chocolate such as a sugar and dairy-free bar or a supergrains-enriched chocolate tablet.
Here, Brian O’Connor, Senior Consumer Analyst at Mintel, takes a look at the key consumer trends shaping the chocolate confectionery market and the latest in product innovation.
ChokABlok, Titchy Jelly Bean Egg - UK:
This thick Belgian milk chocolate egg with a puddle of lime flavour chocolate, crammed with tangy jelly beans and popping candy. As described in Mintel’s 2018 Global Food & Drink Trend ‘New Sensations’, the sound, feel and satisfaction that texture provides is becoming more important for food and drink companies and consumers alike.
Fujiya Wine To Tanoshimu Look Carré, Rich Cheese Chocolate - Japan:
Unexpected flavours provide new eating experiences. This Japanese chocolate contains cheddar cheese and freeze-dried cheese, and is suggested to be paired with white wine.
iChoc Expedition, Jungle Bites Organic Dark Chocolate - Finland:
As consumers look for permissible indulgence, launches of chocolate products described as "bites" have grown 50% over the past five years, according to Mintel’s Global New Products Database. These vegan bites from Finland, sweetened with coconut blossom sugar, contain tiger nuts and cocoa nibs.
Ritter Sport, Lemon Wafer White Chocolate - Germany:
Now available for the spring season of 2018, this white chocolate tablet is filled with skimmed milk yogurt lemon cream and wafer with a lemon cream filling. Seasonal, limited-edition launches can capture the attention of shoppers and tempt them to try new products.
Tesco Finest, Gin and Elderflower Egg - UK:
This product is described as a combination of intense dark chocolate and milk chocolate infused with aromatic gin and elderflower flavour. Six creamy truffles are also included in the box.
Magnum, Double Chocolate Bar - Italy:
Magnum is branching out from their signature ice cream to chocolate confectionery. The bar is made with layers of Magnum chocolate and an indulgent chocolate caramel filling, crispy wafers and butterscotch pieces.
Purdys Chocolatier, Toasted Buckwheat Bar - Canada:
Grains have been receiving considerable attention globally as an ingredient in chocolate confectionery, but they are yet to make a major splash in terms of product innovation. This white chocolate bar with a mellow, creamy caramel taste, is studded with toasted buckwheat and Himalayan pink salt.
M&M’s, Triple Chocolate Candies - USA:
For chocoholics only, these new M&M’s launched for Valentine’s Day feature a milk chocolate centre surrounded by layers of white and dark chocolate.
Bounty, Milk Chocolate Coconut Protein Bar - Germany:
The high protein trend is proving to be much more than a fad, with new launches continuing unabated. Traditionally indulgent categories like chocolate are finding growth opportunities in high protein offerings, which add a layer of permissibility. Here a classic Bounty bar is enriched with protein and it contains 19g of it.
Taza Chocolate, Dark Bark Pumpkin Seed Chocolate Snacking Thins - USA:
This vegan chocolate is free from dairy, soy, gluten and GMO, and is organic and kosher certified. It’s made with crispy, protein-packed puffed quinoa and topped off with crunchy toasted pumpkin, making a healthy anytime treat.
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