You have no excuses.
Being the owner of a small chocolate business is no good reason for remaining trapped in your own world and unaware of what is going on in the entire industry. The fact that you have your own style in making chocolate doesn’t mean that you should blindly follow your intuition. I assure you that experience and expertise aren’t enough to survive in any business nowadays, especially the super competitive chocolate one.
If there is one thing that I will never be tired of recommending to artisan chocolate companies is to follow the trends. No matter what your guts tell you to do, you are NOT the one buying your chocolate. Customers are.
They are the one swiping their credit cards and taking out the cash to reward your hard work. You dramatically decrease your chances of success if you only listen to your ego. It is critical for chocolate companies to keep themselves updated on the latest trends in the industry in terms of customers’ preferences. You need to know their opinions, what they like, what they don’t, how they behave, and leverage that knowledge in your favor. So put your pride aside and listen to what the TOP 5 Chocolate Trends in 2015 are telling you.
1. Dark Chocolate – As we all know, in the past decade consumers have rapidly increased their concerns in the content of their food. Their preferences are shifting towards products with simple ingredients lists and proven health benefits. The encouraging findings of research on dark chocolate, from an increase in concentration to a boost in athletic performance, have contributed to the rise of its popularity.
2. Nuts – Following the trend of an increased interest in healthy foods, chocolate with nuts seems to be more appealing to consumers because perceived as more nutritious. In fact, researches have shown that 70% of consumers prefer to eat chocolate with nuts compared to plain chocolate. Moreover, consumers seem to appreciate not only the traditional inclusions of hazelnuts and almonds, but also the more atypical pistachios and different seeds.
3. Fair trade – Consumers are nowadays less selfish than ever. They are not only concerned about their health, but also want to make responsible purchases that contribute to a fairer world. There is a prevailing willingness to pay a higher price for Fair-trade certified chocolate that ensures higher social and environmental standards. Based on this new demand for sustainability, requests for Fair-trade certifications have raised by 30% just in 2014.
4. Great packaging graphics – The mere content is not enough for today’s demanding customer. With so many chocolate brands competing against each other, appealing packages are a must to win potential customers over. Most companies are putting aside a consistent amount of their budget for an innovative design that makes them stand out.
5. Personalized – Demand for special, unique chocolate items is at its highest. Both private and business clients want to show off with customized names and logos during special occasions and events. It is therefore becoming a major trend among chocolate manufacturers.
Don’t be afraid to adapt your product based on the latest preferences expressed by chocolate consumers. Adapting doesn’t mean de-personalizing your creations. It just means keeping your peculiar touch while still meeting the general demand, arising your sales and showing that you are up to date. Multimillionaire chocolate companies that already have an incredible share of the market religiously follow the trends every day. Why wouldn’t you?
Are you aware of other chocolate trends? Share your expertise!
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.