Chocolate Industry

Barry Callebaut’s research sheds light on the taste of chocolate after COVID-19




June 14, 2022 — Shifts in consumer attitudes toward life are affecting the way consumers engage, with Barry Callebaut’s research revealing that indulgence and mindful living come together in consumer behavior. ‘purchase. And the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic show that a third (32%) of consumers say they indulged more than a year ago.

“This shift in consumer attitudes will become increasingly important in the years to come. By understanding this change, the industry has the ability to unlock new opportunities in the world of indulgence,” notes Bas Smit, Global Vice President of Marketing at Barry Callebaut.

Craving for excitement
Barry Callebaut’s annual in-depth analysis covers 27 markets and studies consumer needs, motivations, expectations and behaviors to create mega trends, consumer trends and industry trends.

Following the pandemic, a third (32%) of consumers say they indulged more than a year ago.The chocolate maker conducted its survey of consumer attitudes towards indulgence digitally in August 2021 in Brazil, China, the UK, the US and France, with 420 respondents per country.

Today’s consumers “enjoy life to the full, turn the moment into something special, and seek intense experiences,” explains the supplier.

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of global consumers say they need to find more excitement. This state of mind leads consumers to look for products “a feast for the eyes and the taste buds”.

When they want to party or treat themselves, 75% of consumers choose something that contains chocolate.

Texture also plays a key role in enhancing multifaceted aspects of indulgence. In collaboration with Dutch researchers, Unilever scientists have recently studied the design of metamaterials – artificial materials made in the laboratory – to “program” the ideal crack and mouthfeel in chocolates.

Over the past year, examples of inclusions that offer exciting new dimensions to chocolate have expanded beyond nuts, cookies, nougatine, meringue and honeycomb. Crystallized flower petals and even crunchy freeze-dried yogurt and honey have appeared in recipes.

“This shift in consumer attitudes will become increasingly important in the years to come. By understanding this change, the industry has the ability to unlock new opportunities in the world of indulgence,” notes Bas Smit, Global Vice President of Marketing at Barry Callebaut.

Living Mindfully with Healthy Indulgences
When a consumer “lives consciously”, he leads a determined and intentional life, details Barry Callebaut.

Barry Callebaut recently expanded its North American plant-based portfolio with a dairy-free organic chocolate option (Credit: Barry Callebaut).In this trend, consumers are more actively making choices that positively impact their health, others and the environment. For example, half of consumers take their health more seriously than a year ago.

In addition, 44% of consumers are eating healthier than a year ago. When consumers have this attitude, they are looking for “healthy indulgences”, that is, foods for health. According to the same survey, 70% of consumers would like healthy chocolate.

This finding is evidenced by separate research conducted by Glanbia, which found that heightened appetites for functional foods increase the market potential of protein-enriched snacks in indulgent segments, such as baked goods and healthy donuts.

More and more brands are highlighting their star ingredients, as in the case of milk thistle, which can be found in the most delicious Rahka Maisku Valkosuklaavadelma (Maisku white chocolate bar) from Danone in Finland. This treat combines a thin white chocolate frosting on top, a healthy dose of fresh, sweet curd and a heart of raspberry inside in a “convenient pan-shaped snack” for kids and adults.

However, data from Innova Market Insights highlights that salty snacks are still somewhat more likely to carry enhanced nutrition claims than sugary snacks (6% vs. 4% of total snacks launched globally in 2021) and experience also growing faster at a CAGR of 8% from 2017 to 2021 versus 4% for snacks with a sweet boosted nutrient claim.

Merging Attitudes
For many years, Barry Callebaut’s consumer research has shown two attitudes towards life – one to “celebrate life” and the other to “live consciously”. In the past, these two attitudes were generally experienced separately.

Recently however, the chocolate maker has seen these attitudes come together. Exploring this, they discovered a growing need to “live a symbiotic life.” This results in three types of coexisting indulgences.

Depending on their mood or state of mind, consumers have a specific attitude towards life and this attitude will determine the type of indulgence they choose.

Zurich-based Barry Callebaut had revenue of around 7.2 billion francs ($7.9 billion) in the 2020/21 financial year.“Living a symbiotic life is the middle ground between ‘Celebrate life’ and ‘Living consciously'”, details Barry Callebaut. “Consumers combine their approach to gentle health with concern for the planet and its people.

Barry Callebaut Highlights
With annual sales of approximately 7.2 billion Swiss francs ($7.9 billion) in the 2020/21 financial year, the Zurich-based Barry Callebaut Group oversees the sourcing and processing of the beans cocoa to produce fine chocolates, including fillings, decorations and chocolate compounds.

Recently, the company expanded its North American plant-based portfolio with dairy-free organic chocolate. The Plant Craft range includes sweet solutions for confectionery, bakery, ice cream and other gourmet categories.

Last month, the supplier announced plans to build a dedicated center dubbed the “Farm of the Future” to fuel cocoa farming research to support the resilience and productivity of cocoa farming in Ecuador.

This came shortly after the chocolate giant revealed its plans to set up a direct distribution network in South Africa to meet growing demand for premium chocolate delights while expanding its markets in Africa. .

Edited by Benjamin Ferrer

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