Chocolate, a craveable comfort food has seen declines in consumer demand over the recent years. So much that big chocolate companies have been forced to reduce staff and focus on greater innovation and solutions. How do you make chocolate better?
Several trends are impacting the chocolate industry, driven by younger Millennial and GenZ consumers aged 12 to 40:
- Premiumization is driving specialty products that are higher priced and promise better quality
- Natural and real ingredients are in demand requiring the elimination of artificial flavor and colors
- Fair trade practices are expected from younger consumers for suppliers to pay fair wages
- Spicy and Savory flavor trends are driving chili pepper, bacon and sea salt ingredient combinations
- Health and Wellness concerns are pushing manufacturers to reduce sugar and sodium content
The cost of cocoa beans have been rising and consumers are very price sensitive to paying more for their chocolate which is squeezing margins and lowering demand especially in Europe.
A recent discovery by Barry Callebaut, the first in 80 years gives us Ruby, naturally pink chocolate. Pink chocolate isn’t new but what is new is that it has been manufactured without using artificial coloring. Made from the ruby cocoa bean, the processing provides natural pink coloring through the use of the ruby bean. This new innovation offers a berry flavor that is unique, offering a less bitter, sour flavor that combines with the sweetness of chocolate.
Subject to FDA approval, the Ruby Pink Chocolate is sure to be a hit on Valentine’s Day but more importantly, it should be a hit with millennial consumers. Known for gravitating to “what’s new and what’s next”, this new chocolate likely will be considered a generation-defining product that is different from “what their parents eat”. The buzz alone from this innovation will provide ample reason to sample the new product. Chocolate is still considered one of the world’s affordable indulgences and we should expect to see innovations like Ruby Chocolate Martini’s, Pink Hot Chocolate, Cake Pops Hot Lava Cakes.