Barry Callebaut’s Future of Indulgence studies find demand for healthier, yet environmentally mindful confectionery
The Barry Callebaut team at Sweets & Snacks Expo, launching its plant-based series Pic: Neill Barston
A key consumer shift towards seeking out a wider range of premium, yet healthier and environmentally responsible confectionery has been identified in Barry Callebaut’s latest international research carried out in collaboration with Foresight Factory, writes Neill Barston.
The company’s Future of Indulgence Report explored how peoples’ lives were affected by the Covid pandemic, and how this has accelerated emerging attitudes towards purchasing choice for a wide range of products within the category.
As Confectionery Production reported from this year’s Sweets & Snacks Expo in the US, the company’s latest analysis was reflected by one of its core focuses for the event, releasing its Plant-based series of chocolate for the American market, which the business reported gained a strong reception from the major show’s visitors across the three-day event in Chicago.
The company delivered the regional launch of its Plant Craft Portfolio, targeting the significant growth being experienced within the vegan market, that revealed consumers’ values on being more environmentally mindful and selective in their product choices that also place a strong emphasis on personal health.
For its latest indulgence report, the Swiss-headquartered company surveyed consumer attitudes towards indulgence was fielded digitally in August 2021 in Brazil, China, the UK, the US and France with 420 respondents per country. It also examined data from other consumer surveys, including from global trend agency ForesightFactory, which conducts yearly in-depth analysis in 27 markets into consumer needs, motivations, expectations and behaviours.
Some of its key findings included a notion of merging attitudes where consumers exhibit specific attitudes toward life: one of ‘Celebrating Life’ and the other of ‘Living Consciously’. It found that depending on their mood or mindset, shoppers attitudes determine the type of indulgence they choose.
Bas Smit, Global VP Marketing at Barry Callebaut commented: “While there will always be a need for intense and healthy indulgence, we expect consumers to live more with a soft health approach to life, increasing the mindful indulgence space. How these changes affect the indulgence landscape for the decades to come is what Barry Callebaut is focusing on.
As the company noted, one of its core results was an identified need to celebrate in the wake of extremely challenging global conditions. Following the pandemic, one third (32%) of consumers say that they have been indulging more compared to one year ago. Consequently, almost two thirds (64%) of global consumers say they need to find more excitement, according to Foresight Factory, with a total of 75% of consumers celebrating with chocolate-based products.
Bas Smit concluded: “This attitude leads consumers to seek out ‘mindful indulgences’: products that are both tasty, good for them and good for the planet. As much as 81% of consumers agree that chocolate needs to be not only tasty, but good for them too. This evolution in consumer attitudes will become increasingly important in the coming years. By understanding this shift, the industry has the opportunity to unlock new opportunities in the world of indulgence.”
As the company’s report added, when a consumer ‘lives consciously’, they live a life that is purposeful and intentional. They make active choices that positively impact their health, other people, and the environment. For instance, half of consumers have been taking their health more seriously compared to one year ago. And moreover, 44% of consumers have been eating healthier compared to one year ago, both
according to Barry Callebaut’s survey (2021). When consumers have this attitude, they seek out ‘healthy indulgences’, meaning: food for health. Out of the same survey: 70% of consumers would love a health boosting chocolate.
A consumer might have different attitudes toward life depending on their circumstances and context. Until recently, the two different attitudes described above were typically experienced separately. Now, consumers find these two attitudes merging, resulting in a new outlook on life: ‘Living a symbiotic life’.
‘Living a symbiotic life’ is the sweet spot between ‘Celebrate life’ and ‘Live consciously’. Consumers combine their soft health approach with care for the planet and its people. They want to have the ability to indulge without compromising their well-being, the health of others or the planet. For instance, in 2022, 43% of consumers are influenced by general health concerns when choosing what to eat and drink (Foresight Factory, 2022). And almost three quarters (73%) are concerned about what they personally can do to help protect the environment (Foresight Factory, 2022). Compared to Foresight Factory’s research in 2021, this is an increase in all but one of the 9 markets surveyed in both years.
Bas Smit concludes: “This attitude leads consumers to seek out ‘mindful indulgences’: products that are both tasty, good for them and good for the planet. As much as 81% of consumers agree that chocolate needs to be not only tasty, but good for them too (2021). This evolution in consumer attitudes will become increasingly important in the coming years. By understanding this shift, the industry has the opportunity to unlock new opportunities in the world of indulgence.”