What’s new in the chocolate World?
The Speciality Chocolate Fair 2016 took place in London this past week.
More than 70 fine and artisan chocolate producers from the UK and the rest of the World gathered together. From bean-to-bar purists to innovative confectioners, there was enough chocolate to satisfy every palate. Live demonstrations were given by professionals that showcased their abilities and educated the audience.
Chocolate consultant Hazel Lee and chocolate maker Dom Ramsey demonstrated how to make bean-to-bar at home. Chocolate educator and chocolatier David Greenwood surprised the attendees with savory dishes made with chocolate. Spencer Hyman from Cocoa Runners demystified the most common believes about chocolate.
The fair was not only a happy place for chocolate aficionados.
Stands of fine food dominated the two main floors. Avocado based ice-cream, vegetable chips, chocolate hummus, flavored honey. Innovative products in the specialty industry were presented by both start-ups and well-known companies. In this section of the fair took place many lecturers led by fine food experts about marketing, technology, branding and innovation.
The atmosphere was vibrant and the attendees were eager to learn the latest news about their favorite foods.
What chocolate trends did the event reveal?
Let’s check them out.
Miniature Chocolate Bars
Consumers have fast and busy lifestyles that don’t leave much time to enjoy food. Time is precious. Running from a place to another seems to be the norm. Consumers look for food on-the-go to satisfy their need for speed. Chocolate makes no exception.
Also the goodies made with the Food of the Gods have to comply with the rules of the fast life. This is why mini-versions of popular chocolate bars have started to appear on the shelves of supermarkets and specialty stores. These new sizes go from 20gr (0.7oz) to 35 gr (1.2oz). Easy to carry in a bag, miniature bars perfectly meet the demand for practicality.
They fit in a hand, leave no leftovers and consumers find them “cute”.
Craft chocolate companies can take advantage of this trend by simply introducing smaller sizes of their best selling bars. Consumers might be happy to carry around high-quality snacks that perfectly fit in their busy schedule.
Attention To Millennials
Between the age 16 and 34, this is the generation that lives to eat.
Millennials like to try different cuisines, photograph their meals and cook at home. They are considered the “tastemakers of food”. During her presentation, business mentor Claire Brumby highlighted the importance of listening to these new foodies:
“By 2020, Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce. Understanding their eating trends is essential to tap into this growing market more effectively.”
Millennials drive health conscious and transparency trends. They demand to know what’s behind the production of their favorite foods and 2/3 check ingredients lists, Claire revealed. They are price sensitive, but willing to pay for added nutritional value or health.
To make Millennials loyal to your company, this is what Claire suggested:
- build a strategy from the smartphone out. 96% of Millennials own a smartphone.
- be transparent – no fine print, be upfront, packaging should expressly state what is in the product and why.
- win them over with high-quality, relevant content and messaging – only 11% feel that food advertising is aimed at their age group.
- target them with your product’s look and flavor, but also with the company itself and those behind the product. Millennials trust brands that show their behind the scenes.
Useful tips for craft chocolate companies that need to win Millennials over to survive in such a competitive market.
Turmeric is everybody’s obsession in 2016.
Named one of the healthiest foods in the World, turmeric has gained popularity as consumers are eager for products with cancer-fighting properties and immune system boosters. This plant from the ginger family was among the Stars of the event.
In the Fine Food section, visitors could see turmeric included in every kind of food: chips, crackers, teas, condiments, sauces and healthy drinks.
Chocolate companies who have already experimented with this ingredient are on for a big win.
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Found in bars and bonbons more and more often, turmeric seems to match well with caramels and other super healthy spices. In fact, many are the brands on the market that make “botanical chocolate”, which is chocolate with a mix of spices and herbs supposed to add healthy properties to the chocolate.
Turmeric can also be used as a natural coloring to give chocolate creations a vivid yellow/orange color without the use of chemical additives.
Competition on the shelf has never been more fierce.
Craft chocolate companies in the US go for packages with simple lines, clean designs and light colors. In Europe the trend is the opposite. Chocolate bars are wrapped in the most vibrant and multicolored papers. To get the attention of consumers, brands like Rococo Chocolate, Chocolate Tree and Coco Chocolatier opt for busy designs in loud colors. This may turn into the best strategy to stand out among a growing number of competitors.
No matter the choice of colors and designs, experts highlight that the packaging has to resonate with the company’s mission and vision. Consumers should be able to get a grasp of the brand at first sight.
Which of these chocolate trends from London is YOUR favorite?
I did NOT get paid and did NOT receive any kind of favor for writing this article. These are my honest opinions at your service.