Barry Callebaut releases its chocolate trends for 2023

The Barry Callebaut group has delivered the latest edition of its chocolate confectionery trends reports for global markets, revealing high demand for product ranges that are indulgent, as well as sustainably produced, writes Neill Barston.

As with the previous two editions of the study, the company found that there appears a genuine desire from consumers for product ranges that have a premium offering, as well as connecting with brand values on an ethical level.

Moreover, the Swiss-headquartered business noted that the chocolate confectionery market remains significant for its dynamic nature, and is expected to be worth more than  €107 billion/$128 billion in global retail sales by the end of 2023, with volume growth of 1.9% CAGR over the next three years to 2025.

Consequently, the company asserted that innovation has a key role to play in that growth projection to meet the latest needs of consumers. As the business found,  depending on their mood or mindset, shoppers have a specific attitude towards life which will determine the type of indulgence they choose.

In its view, while the demand for premium products has remained consistently high, there have been notable changes in terms of how people view their health, approach to life, and are increasingly taking an approach of mindful indulgence.

On the topic of ‘intense indulgence’ the company said that shoppers were looking for such confectionery ranges when they want to enjoy life to the fullest, with its studies revealing that 71% of global consumers agree that when they want to celebrate, they choose something with chocolate in it.

For chocolate confectionery, this means consumers will continue to seek multi-sensoriality, exclusivity, seasonality, storytelling about origin, craftsmanship, and treats that help them celebrate. This fits neatly into the company’s recently released Second Generation chocolate, which has taken inspiration artisan-production methods with enhanced levels of sustainability at its core, for major-market consumption.

As regards Mindful indulgence, the business added that this has focused on the notion that product ranges are not only tasty, but good for them, and equally good for the planet. According to its research, they are now seeking indulgent ranges without compromising their physical and mental wellbeing, as well as the health of others and the wider environment – with 75% of shoppers stating that these criteria are significant. This has seen a corresponding rise in plant-based, reduced sugar, sustainably sourced and traceable ingredients.

On healthy indulgence, the company added that there is also growth in regard to chocolate that has been fortified with  functional ingredients, with a number of ranges emerging in recent years that meet that need. This is an emerging trend for chocolate confectionery, with proven health benefits like vitamins, minerals, fibres, and flavanols being claimed on innovative new products.

European tastes 

By region, the company’s research for the EMEA region found, not unsurprisingly, that the most common reason to eat chocolate is for pleasure and they are many way to deliver pleasure with chocolate. This was reflected by the fact 63% prefer chocolate with multiple textures, with a strong sense of a story behind its production, with 69% also looking for exclusive ranges.

Furthermore, multi-sensoriality, Seasonal & Gifting are the most established propositions, we see chocolates with a story rising and exclusive chocolates emerging.
There is also different behaviour depending on the generation: Gen Y eats chocolate as a reward for their achievements. For Gen X it serves more as a way to unwind and de-stress.

In terms of mindful indulgence, a total of six out of ten centennial and millennial consumers said they expected brands to now offer plant-based ranges, as well as 41% actively trying to reduce their sugar intake – sustainably sourced chocolate is now favoured by 56% of people.

North American focus

According to Barry Callebaut’s studies, flavour exploration continues to be a big trend in North America, sparked by a strong tradition for holiday celebrations, both big and small. The next big wave of innovation uses new ingredients in combination with chocolate to create truly multi-dimensional textures. Underlying these trends is a desire for more premium experiences, enriched by story-telling about the chocolate itself.

Consequently, a total of 54% of North American consumers like to enjoy moments of indulgence where they play little or no attention to nutritional intakes, with 59% favouring premium ranges of chocolate confectionery, and 40% enjoying sharing their favourite brands as a social experience.

In terms of mindful indulgence, the research results were similar to those found in Europe, with 73% of US consumers agreeing that there is a place in a healthy diet for chocolate, and 67% of people stating that products that were tasty, good for them and the planet were desirable. Similarly, two third of US respondents said that they believed that snacks should also deliver a nutritional boost.




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