Chocolate milk is a treat many have fond memories of from childhood, but with the chocolate category recently experiencing a spike in sophisticated and premium launches, chocolate milk is likewise seeing a wave of interest as an indulgent adult treat.

The past few years have seen a revolution in chocolate, with a growing focus on sophisticated flavours and quality ingredients and production processes. Dark chocolate in particular has seen growing demand among European chocolate eaters, creeping up fast on the popularity of milk chocolate.

Indulgent adult chocolate milk is emerging

 

Chocolate-milk
Chocolate-milk
Chocolate-milk
Cow Cow Dark Chocolate Milk Drink – This organic product from Germany is said to be made with real chocolate and natural milk from ‘happy cows’.
Rebel Kitchen Chocolate Mylk – This vegan product from the UK comprises organic coconut milk drink with cacao and is described as being ‘ridiculously tasty’.
Label Müller Wiseman Dairies Frijj Supreme White Choc Raspberry Swirl – This UK product is made with British fresh milk combined with indulgent white chocolate.

 

Changing consumer preferences have fuelled innovation around more quality-focused chocolate products and the trend has begun to filter through to the so far primarily kid-oriented chocolate milk sector. Yet, there is plenty of room for development that could appeal to adult consumers: among chocolate milk launches in Europe between October 2015 and September 2017, just a small fraction contained dark or white chocolate.

Beyond dark/white varieties and adult flavours, a new wave of luxury chocolate milks promote the use of “real” chocolate as opposed to powder. Leaning on developments in the premium chocolate sector, cocoa content and origin emerge as premium quality credentials in milk drinks.

On the back of the growing popularity of dark chocolate, cocoa itself has turned into a flavour, with a broad array of cocoa content, from around 55% up to 99%, having starred in new chocolate confectionery launches. In the same context, cocoa sourcing, e.g. from growing regions such as Costa Rica or Madagascar, has become an important quality marker.

Going forward, super-indulgent will be relevant as consumers are multifaceted, and find balance by going to extremes. Brands should take inspiration from innovation from the chocolate confectionery industry by adding value to their products with respect to quality indulgence, as well as ethical- and health-focused image factors.

Julia Büch is a Food and Drink Analyst at Mintel. She specialises in delivering insights on issues affecting the German food and drink market, providing analysis across a range of food and drink categories. Previously Trend & Innovation Consultant at Mintel, Julia was responsible for providing tailored product innovation analysis and client support primarily to Mintel’s German speaking clients.

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