UK’s Hames Chocolates offers key confectionery trends for 2021

British luxury confectionery business Hames Chocolates has revealed its top segment trends for next year, with plant-based and personalised options high on the list, reports Neill Barston

Director Carol Oldbury (pictured with husband Andrew) noted to Confectionery Production that while 2021 is likely to be hard to predict, she believed there was still a strong demand for chocolate ranges as a firm ‘go-to treat’ and one that has been particularly needed in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

She explained that she was ‘not surprised’ that chocolate sales have risen this year amid the backdrop of covid-19 that has meant families and individuals have taken to snacking in greater amounts during the past nine months.

As the director added, the market segment, including private label work that has been a core element of its business, has proved the biggest FMCG category reaching 98.7% of British households in the past year, which she believed offered a positive sign for 2021 sales.

Speaking recently to Confectionery Production with a video interview, she explained that while the scale of the pandemic had impacted on the business, the situation in fact sped up some key internal developments for the Lincolnshire-based firm, including investment in new equipment ranges.

Hames Chocolates Top Five Predictions:

Made in Britain: As a result of the ongoing pandemic and Brexit, the company said it expects the British public to have an even stronger appetite for products manufactured completely in the UK, resulting in the launch of its own Great British Chocolate range to maximise this trend.

Allergen-free: The trend for free-from foods including dairy free “milk” chocolate continues to gain momentum and the company said it envisages that in 2021 will be no different. As a result, it is working to remove some of the allergens in its chocolate including dairy free “milk” chocolate and chocolate made with sunflower lecithin rather than soya.

Plant-based: With the number of plant-based meals growing by +23% versus 2015, its clear the trend for plant-based food is thriving. The company noted that vegan chocolate sales were on track to be up by nearly 35% in 2020 compared to the previous year. There is also a growing demand for plant-based chocolate

Dark chocolate: The business has seen a significant increase in sales of dark chocolate over the past 12 months and we predict this growth continuing in 2021.

Personalised chocolate:   Last but not least, the company predicts that personalised chocolates will be bigger than ever before in 2021. Whether that’s individuals wanting to send personalised gifts or businesses using this approach to target customers or thank colleagues. The lack of face-to-face contact is anticipated to drive this trend further next year.

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