Frighteningly fine Halloween ingredients innovations and trends heading our way

With the Halloween season rapidly kicking into gear, ingredients specialists at ofi have unveiled some of their top flavour tips for the season, which promises to offer plenty of ghoulishly fine treats, writes Neill Barston.

As previously reported by Confectionery Production, this year’s celebrations, particularly in the US, could well break financial expectations, the National Retail Federation forecasting sales of $12 billion over the upcoming celebrations.

This comes off the back of $6 billion being spent on Hallowen confectionery alone in America, as families cast off their previous concerns over the pandemic in favour of an ever-expanding array of celebrations.

Autumnal flavour pairings
We’re seeing more and more Halloween-themed chocolates incorporating autumnal flavors like pumpkin spice, apple cider, caramel apple and cinnamon. We’re also seeing chili emerging as a flavor trend in European confectionery, as identified in ofi’s recent research. Manufacturers can tap into this trend and give consumers a warming seasonal twist on traditional chocolate flavours using our single-origin cocoa liquor DZNM 5023. With its fruity and floral notes, it pairs beautifully with spicy chili.

Plant-based and alternative confectionery
With plant-based continuing to grow in popularity, it’s no surprise that brands are increasingly looking to cater to different consumer preferences and needs around seasonal holidays. For brands looking to develop plant-based treats, finding the right base is key. We’ve found that oat milk works particularly well with our cocoa powders, as its strong and distinctive flavour helps to minimise any bitter notes in the cocoa and create a well-rounded flavor profile. One such example is our D11MG. With its fruity notes, this single-origin cocoa powder can bring the best of both worlds.

The rise of seasonal home baking
We’re seeing home baking and pre-mix recipe kits rising in popularity, with more themed and seasonal options appearing on shelves. For example, the Dr Oetker spooktacular science bake and learn allows families to get into the scary season with some seasonal baking, at little effort. To help our customers reformulate traditional bakery products to give them a dark and delightful new edge, our deZaan black cocoa powder D11B offers the perfect way to add color to boo-tiful home bake kits, for treats like indulgent black chocolate cookies.

Seasonal novelty formats
Increasingly companies are seizing the opportunity provided by seasonal holidays to innovate and trial exciting and experimental new concepts with consumers for a limited time period. We’ve seen limited-edition activity explode in recent years, with seasonal product launches like the Starbucks’ Spook-a-ccino Midnight Mocha Frappuccino or their Pumpkin Spice latte. We’ve experimented with spiced white chocolate, using cocoa butter with chai spices, building on the familiar cinnamon flavours.

During Halloween, the reconfiguration of nostalgic customer favourites has become more commonplace, with a rise in limited edition ranges. From Bourbon’s mysterious sour candy and Lindors Jack O Lantern truffles in Japan, to KitKat’s breaking bones skeleton bars in the USA. As well as flavour, cocoa ingredients can create novelty through color to catch the eye of consumers. For example, you can create contrast using ingredients such as the bright white of deZaan’s Moonlight cocoa butter against the orange of dried pumpkin pieces.

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