Chocolate innovation slumped 25% over the past 12 months, according to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD). The study shows that Easter chocolate accounted for one in 10 (10%) chocolate product launches globally in the last 12 months. Well over a quarter (28%) of all global chocolate launches are seasonal, such as Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, and Halloween. But it is not just Easter that has witnessed a halt in innovation: over the past 12 months launches of all seasonal chocolate have fallen by 18%, while new product development in the chocolate industry overall has declined by 14%.
The US has the biggest hunger for seasonal confectionery, where more than a third (36%) of all chocolate launched over the last 12 months features a seasonal claim. This is followed by Europe where one in three (32%) new chocolate launches carry a seasonal claim, and Latin America with a quarter (26%).
Britain leads the way in vegan or no animal new chocolate product launches over the last year. The UK was responsible for almost one in five (17%) of these new types of chocolate products, followed by Germany (11%). Meanwhile, the US (6%), Australia (5%), and South Africa (5%) are responsible for one in 20 of these launches. Overall, in the last year, vegan or no animal ingredients chocolate accounted for just over one in twenty (6%) chocolate launches globally, up from 5% the year prior.
According to Mintel research, low or no sugar and sugar-free chocolate account for only a fraction of new product development. In the last 12 months, ‘sugar adjusted’ chocolate was responsible for less than one in 20 (4%) launches globally, up from 3% the previous year. This comes as just four in 10 (41%) British chocolate buyers have tried low sugar chocolate.
Marcia Mogelonsky, director of insight, Mintel Food and Drink, said: “The war on sugar will remain a challenging battleground as our research reveals that consumers largely want to keep their usual chocolate products without sugar reduction. Urging consumers to reduce their sugar intake has, for the most part, been met with mixed reactions. While some consumers look to switch away from overly sugary foods, others are reluctant – at least they were until the onset of COVID-19, which has provided a strong impetus to improve eating habits.”