When it comes to chocolate, what will be leading the way in 2024?
According to Belgium-based chocolate producer Barry Callebaut, the new year will see consumers move towards three key trends: intense indulgence; mindful indulgence and healthy indulgence.
The dynamic market, which is expected to be worth $20 billion in sales up to the end of 2024 in the Asia-Pacific region alone, and experience volume growth of of 2.3 per cent CAGR (compound annual growth) over the next five years to 2027.
The results were released following a survey of 11,974 participants that company undertook in late 2023.
The healthy indulgence trend will see consumers that are interested in the health of the planet, as well as their own health, place more focus on the need for chocolate to taste good as well as “be good for me”. Up to 77 per cent of respondents said they wanted chocolate with less sugar, while 41 per cent were trying to limit their sugar intake and 10 per cent were avoiding sugar altogether.
A shift towards the inclusion of health benefits will also be on the rise. Chocolates that include immunity-boosting minerals and nutrients, to products with physical and mental health claims – and even those that benefit gut health – will make an appearance.
When it comes to chocolate, there will also be more focus on choosing options containing natural and authentic ingredients, with 54 per cent of consumers stating they preferred pure chocolate without artificial flavours or colours. Vegan and plant-based chocolate confectionary items are also gaining traction among 41 per cent of consumers. Sixty-nine per cent of the respondents said they are interested in chocolate with healthy ingredients, 74 per cent want to be able to reach for a snack that is nutritious and energising, and 71 per cent want chocolate that supports their mental health.
A focus on sustainability and traceability is also key when it comes to mindful indulgence, with transparency and traceability also a must.
In fact, 75 per cent of APAC consumers said they preferred chocolate brands and products that allow them to do good for people and the planet.
Why settle for a treat for the tastebuds, when you can choose one that is also a feast for the eyes? According to the study, consumers focusing on living life to the fullest, and this also applies to their chocolate choices. This is where the concept of intense indulgence comes in.
Seventy-seven per cent of the respondents said they would be seeking multi-sensorial experiences, 69 per cent would go for story-telling and origin, 62 per cent seasonal and celebratory, and 77 per cent for unique and rare experiences.
But what does this mean?
Well, multi-sensorial experience can relate to offering a new and exciting taste, appeal to the eyes, or surprise through texture. In fact, eight out of 10 consumers from APC said unique and out of the ordinary flavours can make chocolate and confectionary more exciting. Story-telling can help the consumer to escape the ordinary and break from routine, which can involve unique recipes associated to a specific location or unique craftmanship. The addition of new, rare and unique chocolates varieties can also elevate a perceived “ordinary” range.