Friday, 24 November 2017


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Premiumization continues to grow in chocolate and inclusions are just two of the chocolate trends in NPD presented by Innova Market Insights in a webinar called “Future Forward: Top Consumer Trends Set to Impact the Chocolate Aisle”.

Premiumization in chocolate products continues as one in 10 chocolate features a premium and indulgent claim (Global, 2012-2016). Between 2012-2016, the CAGR for premium products growth was 12%.

More flavor blend innovation is expected in nutty chocolates: in 2016, almond and hazelnut are the leading flavors in chocolates and will keep on the rise. To keep consumers engaged, more flavor blends based on the leading nuts are finding space on the shelves, according to Innova Market Insights.

Inclusions as texture enhancer and premium asset: one in five chocolate launches in 2016 features a texture claim; however, many more rely on the visuals to infer texture without claiming it.

Inclusion of ingredients such as nuts and seeds, dried fruits and pieces of snacks or bakery are ideal to fit in the trend.

Small players set the agenda in plain sophistication: small firms to keep on increasing NPD share. Percentage of chocolate launches tracked per company type (Global, 2012-2016) rose from 57.9% to 63.9%. Indexed chocolate launches tracked with crafted and artisanal words per company type (Global, 2012 =100) recorded a growth as well.
Chocolate steps into the snacking spotlight: chocolate launches tracked claiming specific moments of consumption have emerged in the last years. 

While the “snacking” claim had recorded serious growth between 2012 and 2014, the “on-the-go” claim succeeded to have an important increase between 2014 and 2016.

Another type of claims is that targeting specific locations, occasions and differentiation via snacking formats.

Resealable packets for on the go chocolate snacks soar: convenience is paramount in snacks, chocolate launches featuring resealable packaging, easy to use on the go and ideal to preserve freshness, increased with 38% in 2016 vs 2015.

Sugar claims remain as a niche in chocolates: the increasing “sugar controversy” will challenge further chocolate NPD. Sweet natural alternatives, potential to tackle sugar concerns have been also summoned.

Quest to balance taste and health with alternative sugars: the food industry is responding to the growing pressure on sugar consumption by relying on better perceived sugary options.

What’s next?

As the premium positioning increases in chocolates, future NPD is likely to center on plain sophistication strategies (flavor origin specification, original recipes, refined flavor blends) and layers, texture claims and inclusions.

Chocolates will feature more launches positioned towards snacking moments, with a focus on indulgence, convenient formats and even health. 

As consumers’ concerns relating sugar increase, chocolate NPD will keep on facing new challenges such as reformulation relying on more positively perceived sweeteners (e.g. natural alternative sugars) and balancing sugar indulgence with the application of wholesome “hero” ingredients. 

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