Conscious consumers, ‘insta moments’ and natural flavours make their mark on Easter

As one of the most innovative periods in the annual confectionery calendar, this year’s Easter remains a colourful and evocative period for the industry, and despite challenge economic times, there’s still plenty of creativity,  as Brayn Smith, ofi’s vice president of cocoa liquor explains.

From sweet gifts to the classic egg hunt, chocolate remains an Easter tradition. With the celebration approaching earlier than usual this year, manufacturers will be looking to capture the attention of consumers with new and exciting creations.

“Chocolate at Easter is nothing new, but today’s consumers are looking for different and exciting takes on the old traditions, and competition is high for food manufacturers looking to win in this crowded season. From experimenting with colour and format to trialling trendy novel flavours and highlighting sustainable impact, manufacturers can tap into the consumer intrigue and excitement to develop seasonal products.”

Here are some of the top chocolate and confectionery trends shaping this Easter season and how manufacturers can take advantage of them.

Conscious Consumers
Today’s consumers are more aware of climate change and are taking a growing interest in how ingredients in their favorite foods are being produced, such as the use of regenerative agriculture. This is influencing their purchasing decisions. We’ve seen an increase in on-pack messaging from manufacturers around the sustainable impact they’re having. This year, DIVINE has introduced 70% dark chocolate with raspberry flat egg, which they claim to be more environmentally friendly and made from 100% Fairtrade chocolate.

Choosing segregated and traceable cocoa liquor can help manufacturers with this. Our deZaan DZNM5023 cocoa liquor, made from Ecuadorean Arriba is a perfect way to create a rich and indulgent Easter treat, which also delivers on sustainability and traceability. Sourced via our Cocoa Compass sustainability ambition, and we partner with one of our customers to help the farmers improve their incomes through tailored training and distributing cocoa seedlings, and offering new ways to earn more, like growing tomatoes. And because the sustainable cocoa beans in this cocoa liquor are kept apart from non-sustainable beans throughout the supply chain, our customers can tell a stronger story about the ingredients in their products. And they can also view detailed impact metrics via our sustainability management system, AtSource.

Novelty shapes & formats
While the humble chocolate egg has long been a staple of Easter celebrations, brands are also experimenting with more unique product offerings. According to Mintel, launches of new seasonal Easter chocolate products increased 19% between 2022-2023, as brands embrace innovation. And it’s not just bunnies like those by Swiss brand Läderach. We’re seeing less conventional and more playful animal shapes this Easter, like the M&S Chocosaurus Rex and the speckled Daisy duck by Chococo.

Instagramable indulgence
With #easteregg driving 3.3m posts on Instagram, bold, colourful, and visually appealing eggs are a hit this Easter as consumers look for an Instagramable indulgence. It’s why we’ve seen a surge of new pink Easter egg product releases hitting the shelves, like the Charbonnel et Walkers Pink Chocolate Champagne Truffle Egg to Lindor’s Strawberries & Cream White Chocolate Easter Egg, as well as unusual and aesthetic-pleasing shapes like the Toblerone Edgy Egg. By using ofi’s deZaan Moonlight extra white cocoa butter, which blends perfectly with berries, brands can create a bright and bold Easter Egg with a light and fruity flavour.

Newer natural flavours
Natural flavors like fruits and nuts have always been popular in confectionery, but less common varieties are now taking the spotlight.[2] For example, familiar flavors like almond and raspberry are appearing in this year’s Easter ranges alongside newer favorites like pistachio and mango. From the Waitrose cracking pistachio egg, to the Aldi White Ripple Egg with Mango & Passionfruit. Manufacturers looking to tap into this trend should consider ofi’s Ecuadorian DZNM 5023 cocoa liquor, which pairs perfectly with fruity and acidic notes to create a unique fruit-filled Easter treat such as passion fruit-filled bon bons.

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