Chocolate and Confectionery gets a sweet surprise across Europe

Author | Naveen Passani |

Technical Category Manager for Chocolate & Confectionery, ofi

 

Last year, freak weather patterns, global inflation and war have caused supply challenges and increased confectionery prices. Yet demand across Europe remained resilient. While the tough economic backdrop has led consumers to cut back on discretionary spending, many see chocolate as an affordable luxury they’re unwilling to give up.

 

That means intense competition for manufacturers looking to attract consumers’ attention in this category. One way to succeed is by tapping into the desire for adventure and developing products that use exotic or unusual flavors. So, building on our research into the emerging flavor profiles crossing continents, here are three chocolate and confectionery trends to watch right now.

Cross-category flavor blends

Flavor inspiration comes from many places, including other product categories like bakery, desserts, and ice cream. In fact, according to our research, one of the top emerging flavors in UK confectionery right now is key lime, from the famous key lime pie. And dessert flavors such as sticky toffee pudding, lemon posset, banoffee pie and crème brûlée are also making their way into chocolate collections.

 

When combined with our deZaan N23N cocoa powder, a high fat natural cocoa powder which pairs well with citrus flavors, it delivers a rich and rounded chocolaty flavor, that brings out fruity and caramel notes to deliver a diverse flavor profile.

The rise of newstalgia

According to Innova research, New, Niche and Not For Long: Trends in Global Limited Time NPD, 48% of consumers seek out familiar nostalgic flavors in food and beverage purchases, but they want some excitement and innovation too. This is fuelling the ‘newstalgia’ trend, where manufacturers bring a new twist to classic flavors and formats.

 

For example, classic chocolate flavors are being swapped out for white chocolate in confectionery products. Our deZaan extra white Moonlight cocoa butter pairs excellently with red cocoa powder D11ZR to make an eye-catching intense red color that is reminiscent of Christmas or Valentine’s Day.

 

Hazelnut and almond, are staples in many chocolate and confectionery products, but we are increasingly seeing other nut flavors, like pistachio becoming more popular. Our deZaan organic cocoa powder works particularly well with pistachio due to its clean taste profile, in applications such as pralines or pistachio ice cream with chocolate coating.

Exotic fruits at the forefront

Fruit flavors are a key part of product development in many sweet food categories, but suppliers are looking to complement existing favorites, like strawberry or lemon, with more diverse choices. As we recently found, tropical and exotic fruits are on the rise, with mango, pineapple and passion fruit growing alongside peach – initially driven by popularity in Asia.

 

For example, combining our deZaan extra white Moonlight cocoa butter with purple dragon fruit, a traditional Asian flavor we identified as gaining in popularity in the UK in our research, creates a striking color contrast. Paired together in a white chocolate bar, the mildly sweet taste of the dragon fruit can shine through and deliver a sense of indulgence.

 

Chicory is another flavor emerging in European confectionery. It has a nutty, coffee-like taste and is a natural aid to sugar reduction in some product applications, as it is made up of smaller sugar chains of inulin, which have a sweet taste and prompt a lower blood sugar response than sugar[1]. Chicory pairs well with our deZaan D21CM cocoa powder, which balances out the bitterness flavors, and can be used in beverages and ganache applications.

 

As new flavors from the Far East continue to influence NPD in Europe, there is an opportunity for food and beverage companies to create new products or reimagine classic favorites to surprise and delight customers. Our Customer Solutions Centers experts can help to pair these flavors with the right cocoa ingredient to land on the perfect taste and concept.

Author

Dr Naveen Pessani |

Technical Category Manager for Chocolate & Confectionery, ofi