What are chocolate companies writing on their packaging lately?
Packaging is both loved and hated in the chocolate industry. Beautiful wrappers can hold the most horrific chocolate, while unappealing ones prevent consumers from discovering treasures. This is the hard law of marketing. If a chocolate company wants to keep satisfying sales in such competitive field, it has to pass the visual test first.
It’s not fair, but it is what it is.
Consumers are attracted by beautiful chocolate bars. Glossy surfaces are not appealing at the moment. Dark/Grey colors are not a smart option since they mostly pass unnoticed. Transparent packaging isn’t the best choice either because the bar can be ditched for minimum visible imperfections. Once the most beautiful bars have been picked, the challenge for chocolate brands is not over yet.
Willing to spend $12 on 2oz of chocolate, cacao aficionados will look at every single piece of information on a packaging. It’s a fact. Consumers are now paying attention to labels more than ever. They want to know about the company they are buying from, and look forward to being educated in fields they are passionate about. So chocolate companies have another obstacle.
After convincing potential customers with look and design, their bars have to face another selection before being brought to the cash register. This time, they have to convince with WORDS.
Here is where chocolate brands get tormented about the quantity of info to write on their packaging. Overly written bars are unappealing, but not passing enough info on the company and the product is a lost opportunity.
There are many ways in which chocolate brands can make customers fall in love with a good packaging strategy.
Curious to see what are the latest trends?
Here are 4 pieces of information that chocolate companies are now writing on their packaging to win consumers over.
1 – EXPIRATION DATE
A big difference between a mass market chocolate bar and an artisanal/handcrafted/small scale one is freshness.
As of today, it takes an expert to decode the expiration date on industrial bars like Hershey’s, Cadbury and Mars. There is no clear indication unless you Google how to calculate it using the six digit code on the packaging. Nonetheless, we know that ingredients like vegetable fats, weird emulsifiers like PGPR, and chemical additions help stretching the shelf life of a chocolate bar for at least a couple of years (other than dramatically reducing its cost of production).
Good news is that fine chocolate makers are starting to include expiration dates on their packaging. This is a tremendously effective move.
First of all, it helps chocolate consumers understand the difference. They are not used to checking the expiration date on chocolate, so noticing a not-so-far-ahead deadline makes them realize that they are looking at a higher value item. Secondly, consumers associate a reasonable expiration date with freshness. Freshness is associated in return with higher value, and consumers are willing to pay for that higher value.
In a few words, including the expiration date on the chocolate packaging places a higher value on the chocolate bar, justifying its price and increasing the chances of purchase.
2 – FLAVOR DESCRIPTION
Based on the premise that nobody was born a professional chocolate taster, tasting guidelines can help consumers appreciate every note of a fine chocolate bar.
Unconsciously chewing without savoring has been a big mistake of many before becoming cacao aficionados. To guide consumers, several chocolate brands have now started including indications of the Tasting Notes on their packaging. Many cautiously add “You may taste” as a reminder that everybody’s palate is different.
Some chocoholics decide to ignore the flavor indication for an unbiased tasting. Some others take advantage of the tasting notes as a starting idea. Even though every palate is different, those suggestions come from the same person that worked through many trials to achieve THAT specific flavor (the chocolate maker itself). Therefore, tasting notes on the packaging are likely to be loyal to the real flavor of the bar.
From a marketing perspective, including a description of the flavor on the packaging does not make or break a purchase. However, it indicates a genuine interest of the chocolate maker in guiding consumers to a higher level of appreciation. And consumers LOVE to be guided.
3- INFO ON PLACES OF ORIGIN AND PRODUCTION
There is more to chocolate than chocolate.
Companies know well the tangled journey to bring fine chocolate to life. This is why they like to share the details on how they do it on their websites and Social Media accounts. Lately they have also taken the chance to tell their story on the packaging, especially talking about places of origin and production.
When it comes to chocolate, consumers love to have their fantasy brought to the exotic places where fine cacao grows. That desire is now satisfied even further.
Intriguing paragraphs on remote locations and untouched rainforests appear nowadays on many fine chocolate packages, describing the peculiarities of that specific place of origin. Maps are often included as well to give consumers a visual perception of where cacao comes from. A pleasure for the eyes and a good dose of geography.
Many are the info shared on the production process as well. From the type of cacao used to batch numbers, harvest years and much more.
When kept concise and relevant, packaging is a great place where to share these kind of info and win consumers over in the spur of the purchase. In fact, consumers are reassured that the company they are looking at is committed to transparency.
5- SOCIAL MEDIA ICONS
The World has changed.
The Internet is now the new TV, and those who still denies it are in for a huge business backlash in the next 5 years. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are key players in keeping a company in business. When chocolate companies decide to underestimate the power of social media, they let go of something that is a lost opportunity today, and will turn into their biggest regret tomorrow.
Some farseeing chocolate companies are letting customers know that they are on top of their game. In fact, they are now adding social media icons on their packaging, usually on the back of the bar, at the bottom, right below their website link. Basically all the indications needed to find the company online are well collected in one place.
This is a great idea to attract younger crowds that will perceive the company as up-to-date, reachable and open to having a conversation.
Chocolate companies are taking advantage of the space on the packaging to pass on as much info as possible on the fascinating World of fine cacao. The latest trends are all about educating consumers, increasing their appreciation for fine chocolate and stimulating curiosity for all that goes on behind a chocolate bar.
How do YOU like these latest trends in fine chocolate packaging?
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.