Hazelnut, caramel, almond and orange have emerged as the top global chocolate flavors after unflavoured/plain, recent data shows.
Hazelnut grew the most since 2012, with a nearly 50 per cent increase in launches (411 to 606), according to market solutions firm FONA International’s latest report on chocolate trends.
For 2016, the growth appears to be continuing with 110 launches already tallied by the second week of February. Coffee flavor is the second highest per cent of increase at 40 per cent growth, and coconut and caramel are both pushing 30 per cent growth in product launches over this time period.
Mintel data shows older consumers have the lowest engagement with chocolate confectionery, reflecting their greater interest in healthy eating. To regain adult customers, companies are trying alcohol flavors, organic ingredients and premium positioning.
Global chocolate confectionery has grown 30 per cent through 2012-2015, with “environmentally friendly” claims up more than 800 per cent, reported FONA.
Recent launches include Limoncello and dark chocolate in Italy, chocolates filled with the sweet herbal Liqueur Beirao in Portugal, and dark chocolate and truffles flavored with Merlot, Pink Champagne and Pinot Noir in the US. Beer giant Guinness was featured in two new products launched in the UK and Spain: caramel-filled chocolates and dark chocolate truffles.
Nestle Japan recently launched a Sake-flavored white chocolate KitKat containing 0.8 per cent alcohol. The product targets adults and tourists, as part of a regional flavor campaign that has sold KitKats flavored with Japanese ingredients only in the region where the flavor is based.
FONA International reported that consumers perceive organic foods to be healthier and are turning to organic confections for a more permissible indulgence. In fact seven per cent of chocolate confection launches currently carry the organic claim. In terms of ethical claims, the international market is seeing tremendous growth in the chocolate confection category, with large gains in Low/No/Reduced Allergen, Gluten Free and Organic since 2012.