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Sunday Musings: Chocolate Still A Top Indulgence – For Rich

Chocolate has been rising in price for a few years now, as a cavalcade of diseases affecting the cocoa bush, labour issues, and the world climate and economy have left the luxury foods market in chaos.

High End Chocolates - © 2023 Barry CallebeautSome Barry Callebaut signature chocolates…

Chocolate trends…

If you’ve been keeping tabs on the trends at the seasonal (Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, Hallowe’en, and so on) nodes in Choco-sales throughout the year, you’ll have noted a major change in sales of street-level confections. Chocolate bars, boxed candies, chocolate-covered confections and lots of other stuff the average person used to be able to afford have priced themselves out of reach for the masses. Sales are down.

Some choco-fans have become disillusioned, finding that – like Kit Kat, Twix and other old standards have always been – many other new and relaunched bars are now stuffed full of cheap fillers such as puffed cereal and sugar-waffle wafers to minimize the amount of actual chocolate that must be used. Other brands that used to be solid chocolate still are, but are now wafer thin. Consumer perception has been compromised.

Prices for boxed chocolates have doubled in some cases, while the product weight in old, familiar box sizes has been cut by a half or more.

But that hasn’t meant much to the top-end chocolate market, where prestige can actually rest on the price and scarcity of various types and brands of chocolate.

Like jewelry, fine wine, exclusive booze

With concentration of the chocolate market and its revenues nearer the top end, we’re seeing trend in chocolate advertising toward targeting the wealthy image-conscious. Only the luxury brands are advertising, and their ads are showing up adjacent to those for luxury cars (the only kind that are selling right now) and other luxury goods.

Enter, Barry Callebaut

The world’s largest maker of high-end chocolate products, Barry Callebeaut, has released its 2023 trends and predictions for chocolate products and chocolate lovers. And the results are …well… interesting.

BC says trends in chocolate will come in three broad areas – all reflecting he newfound exclusivity of the stuff an its new luxy image.

Trend One: Intense indulgence

“Consumers look for intense indulgence when they want to enjoy life to the fullest. For chocolate confectionery, this means consumers will continue to seek multi-sensoriality, exclusivity, seasonality, storytelling about origin, craftsmanship, and treats that help them celebrate.”

Trend Two:. Mindful Indulgence

“Chocolate that is not only tasty, but also good for them and good for the planet. Consumers want to indulge without compromising their (physical and mental) well-being, the health of others or the planet. There is growing demand for chocolate treats that meet these needs, including plant-based, reduced sugar, sustainably sourced and traceable ingredients.”

Trend Three: Healthy Indulgence

“Consumers looking for healthy indulgences actively and intentionally make choices that have a positive impact on their health. This is an emerging trend for chocolate confectionery, with proven health benefits like vitamins, minerals, fibers, and flavanols being claimed on innovative new products.”

Fast Choco-facts:

  • 71 percent of global consumers agree that when they want to celebrate, they choose something with chocolate in it.
  • 75 percent of global consumers agree that chocolate needs to be tasty, good for me and good for the planet.
  • 65 percent of global consumers would love a healthy-boosted chocolate, with macro/micronutrients, for example.

Notice the unifying thread in these statements? Well-heeled, astute chocolate lovers seem to want all the ‘indulgence’ without the guilt or negative consequences.

I’m amazed how the worldview of chocolate has managed to evolve so swiftly and dramatically over just the past few years. How about you?

Muse on it…

~ Maggie J.

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