Indulgence and sharing form key 2024 confectionery trends, says Hames Chocolates
Indulgence, sharing and enhanced flavour options are all set to form some of the latest confectionery market trends for 2024, according to insights from UK business Hames Chocolates, writes Neill Barston.
As reported from this year’s ISM event last week, there has been no shortage of new and extended product ranges set for release across global markets in the year ahead, with a number of strong product releases right across categories, from gums and jellies, through to premium pralines and snacks lines.
Notably, as Carol Oldbury, managing director of Hames Chocolates explains, (see our previous exclusive video interview here), there are some positives on the horizon this year, as the company’s own research has indicated.
“While it’s hard to predict what 2024 has in store for the wider food and drink industry, one thing we can be sure of, is that the popularity of chocolate, will not diminish,” noted the director of her hopes for this year’s markets.
She added: “As an expert in private label confectionery, we have seen an increasing number of shoppers turning to private / own label brands recently, not only due to it being good value, but also due to the quality, innovation, and choice. Therefore, confidence in the balance of price and quality they provide is at an all-time high – with 41% of shoppers buying more private labels than before the pandemic and a further 77% planning to keep buying them in the future. This shift means many retailers are increasingly re-evaluating the value of private label items over their branded competitors, which represents a significant opportunity for manufacturers that can provide confectionery private label.”
Furthermore, she revealed a number of consumer trends, we believe will impact the confectionery market this year, which retailers should be aware of, including the continued rise of indulgent treating, despite consumers being hard pressed amid an ongoing cost of living crisis.
As consumer confidence rises, we predict shoppers will be increasingly looking for indulgent treats like premium chocolate. In 2023, the treating and snacking market in the UK was worth £13.3bn, with confectionery holding a 40% of this category (worth £5.5bn), highlighting a significant sales opportunity for confectioners.
White chocolate is considered to be a growing trend at the moment, as it is a good base for delicate flavours, such as lemon. While white chocolate will always have a place in the market, the real growth area in chocolate is blonde chocolate, which is white chocolate with a caramel colour and underlying caramelised tasting notes. This is due to caramel being the taste one in three consumers choose when they seek comfort. As a forward-thinking and innovative private label chocolate company, we understand the importance of tapping into consumer trends. This is why, in order to capitalise on the growing popularity of blonde chocolate, we are planning to launch a new range later in 2024.
While the Bank of England expects inflation to continue to fall in 2024, cost will remain a high priority for consumers, therefore we expect the ‘big night in’ occasion and confectionery sharing bags to be a significant opportunity for confectioners in 2024. This is supported by research, which found 2 in 5 (40%) consumers planned to go out less often, and three fifths (61%) intended to spend more cautiously last year.
Consumers are becoming increasingly adventurous when it comes to flavours, which is why our new Hot Chocolate range, which launched in November, comes in a variety of flavours including the more unusual Mince Pie and Milk Chocolate with Irish Cream Flavouring. While unique and unfamiliar flavours are increasingly on-trend, confectionery with traditional and comforting tastes, such as Salted Caramel, Milk Chocolate, White Chocolate, Strawberry, Milk Chocolate with Hazelnut and Dark Chocolate, will also continue to be popular with consumers in 2024.
Sustainable ingredients and packaging
We envisage consumers will continue to favour brands that manufacture confectionery in an ethical and sustainable way. This is something that is hugely important us at Hames Chocolates, which is why we work closely with organisations, such as The Rainforest Alliance and Cocoa Horizons. From using the most sustainable ingredients and updating our equipment to reduce our impact on the environment, to working with likeminded suppliers – we are fully committed to helping the planet and supporting cocoa farmers to earn a living income.
The rise of own label
Since the cost-of-living crisis began in late 2021, many consumers have implemented simple measures, such as switching to own label and private products, to save money. This is a trend we expect to continue in 2024. For more details, visit www.hameschocolates.co.uk