Depending on the state of the market, chocolate suppliers must cater to different needs and demands. Below is a review of some of the trends that defined the chocolate market over the course of 2015, covering such trends as packaging, textural innovation, and a focus on place of bean origin. |
Any keen observers of the coffee market will have noticed that small batch, single-origin artisanal roasts from small roasteries have been on the rise. This trend has been mirrored in the world of chocolate, with the increasing popularity of single origin chocolates providing detailed information on the origin of their beans along with tasting notes.
Consumers want to feel a connection to the source of their product, and want the business to simultaneously feel as local as possible. In a similar way to these boutique roasteries, many of which carry out their operations in the UK, those chocolate suppliers whose product is made in the UK have seen lots of business this year. Combining their commitment to provide information that gives the consumer an understanding of the farmers who grow the cocao pods, with a strong understanding of local markets, the UK-based operations have won the trust and loyalty of their clientele.
Throughout the year, texture and mouthfeel keywords have been important: the chewiness, crunchiness, smoothness, velvetiness and richness of products have been explored in innovative ways by chocolate suppliers. Texture is a major part of the overall impression given by a chocolate. This is especially true in cases where consumers may have a specific idea of what “chocolate” tastes like, in which case deviating too widely from expected flavour notes can turn them off a brand. In such cases, variation in texture can be used as an alternative way to give a range of different products with a crowd-pleasing signature flair across the whole brand.
In many markets, and especially in the confectionery market, a high number of purchases are made on impulse and heavily influenced by visual appeal (note the attractive and prominent presentation of chocolate and sweets next to the till at most shops). Bearing this in mind, the importance of packaging that attracts the eye and stands out from its peers becomes clear, and is taken into consideration by all chocolate suppliers.
Some brands aim for a high-end, sophisticated look and appeal to consumers in search of a luxury food. Others have aimed for a more humorous, light-hearted approach to packaging, which has seen plenty of success over the year. One of the reasons this latter approach is favoured by many is that the former can put consumers off by giving the impression of a high price tag.
This recent emphasis on humorous packaging designed to engage a customer on a personal level could be seen to tie in with the success of artisanal brands. It seems that much of the market now trades heavily on a sense of personal engagement and connection with its consumers.
Whether these trends persist over the years or represent mere flashes in the pan remain to be seen. In the meantime, it appears that brands with a high personal engagement and a range of textures will continue to experience success.
Angelina Moufftard works for hf Chocolates, a company selling high quality wholesale sweets to the retail trade and others who wish to purchase wholesale quantities of chocolate and confectionery. Renowned since 1957, we've sourced the best suppliers from France, Spain, Germany, Holland, Belgium, the USA and UK. Our great tasting and beautifully packaged products also represent excellent value for money.
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