9 brands innovating outside the traditional chocolate box

March 23, 2016
5 min read

As the latest Mintel research reveals, consumers around the world value the psychological benefits of chocolate, and it seems that despite health warnings chocolate is still a securely established ‘treat food’. However, with sales flattening in established markets, chocolate confectionery manufacturers are being forced to face-off against a range of other categories with the same reputation.

Below, we’ve selected notable products innovating to stay ahead of the competition and keep consumers sweet on chocolate:

Tagliatelle Pasta with Cocoa, E. Wedel Makarony Polskie, Poland

Tagliatelle Pasta with Cocoa, E. Wedel Makarony Polskie, Poland

Lotte Wedel has been making efforts to engage with adventurous chocolate consumers and home cooks, encouraging them to use E. Wedel chocolate as a versatile and exciting ingredient for cooking/baking. Developed in cooperation with Makarony Polskie, E. Wedel Makarony Polskie Makaron Wstegi Ozdobne z Kakao (tagliatelle pasta with cocoa) is formulated with cocoa from Ghana. It can be made into a light, sweet dish with cottage cheese and fruits, a rich dessert with mousses and toppings, or a seasoned dish with blue cheese, spinach and nuts.

Pigs N’ Taters Chocolate Bar, Hammond’s, USA

Pigs N’ Taters Chocolate Bar, Hammond’s, USA

Chocolate confectionery with bacon has been on the market for a number of years, and potato chips covered with chocolate are also becoming more common. This product combines both salty and savory ingredients into one bar. Hammond’s Pigs N’ Taters Chocolate Bar comprises milk chocolate with crispy bacon flavored bits and potato chips.

Mylk Chocolate, The Chocolate Counter, Australia

Mylk Chocolate, The Chocolate Counter, Australia

A number of new launches in the chocolate confectionery category are making it possible for those who are unable or unwilling to eat a product containing dairy to enjoy the mouthfeel and taste of milk chocolate. The Chocolate Counter Mylk Chocolate is a block of chocolate made with only natural ingredients and a blend of coconut water, monk fruit juice, cocoa, fibre and protein. The all-natural chocolate is a source of fibre and contains no lactose, gluten, soy or added sugar. The product is said to have a rich taste and smooth texture.

32% Cocoa White Chocolate with Green Tea Matcha, Tentation Cacao, France

32% Cocoa White Chocolate with Green Tea Matcha, Tentation Cacao, France

Chocolate manufacturers are exploring the use of teas as an ingredient in confectionery, both because of the health benefits they claim and their flavor notes. Tentation Cacao Chocolat Blanc 32% Thé Vert Matcha (32% cocoa white chocolate with green tea matcha) is a CERTIPAQ certified and lecithins-free organic chocolate made with pure cocoa butter.

Premium Chocolate, Lotte Chocolantan, Japan

Premium Chocolate, Lotte Chocolantan, Japan

What is notable in the bite-sized chocolate confectionery sub-category is its growing sophistication. Bite-sized and mini products originated in mass market brands, and were often positioned for children, but premium products are now coming to market. Lotte Chocolantan Premium Chocolate is a bite size product and features sliced almond, butterscotch and semi-sweet chocolate. It is said to have a delicate and aromatic flavour like handmade sweets

Mint Chocolate, Active D’Lites with Probiotics, USA

Mint Chocolate, Active D’Lites with Probiotics, USA

Consumer interest in knowing more about ingredients may increase demand for the potentially synergistic combination of chocolate and probiotics. Active D’Lites with Probiotics Mint Chocolate is described as a healthy and delicious European-style chocolate. It promotes health and well being, complements leading diets and is synbiotic. This kosher certified product contains stevia and 20 billion probiotics; is an excellent source of fiber; and is only 110 calories. It is free from added sugar, is low glycemic, and includes prebiotic fibre for additional support. It helps to naturally regulate the digestive system and exceeds clinical strength base levels.

Pralines with Typical Bavarian Truffle Fillings, Heilemann Confiserie, Germany

Pralines with Typical Bavarian Truffle Fillings, Heilemann Confiserie, Germany

A range of flavor innovations was noted in the chocolate confectionery category in 2015, including the unlikely pairing of beer in chocolate. Heilemann Confiserie Pralinen mit Typisch Bayrischer Trüffelfüllung (pralines with typical Bavarian truffle fillings) comprise blueberry truffle, Bavarian cream truffle, sloe truffle and beer truffle.

70% Cacao Tingo Maria Single Origin Dark Chocolate with Quinoa, Shattell Chocolate Organic, Peru

70% Cacao Tingo Maria Single Origin Dark Chocolate with Quinoa, Shattell Chocolate Organic, Peru

As consumers become more interested in cocoa content, cocoa sources, and authenticity, they are starting to investigate options beyond Africa, presenting opportunities for cocoa growers in Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. Shattell Chocolate Organic 70% Cacao Tingo Maria Single Origin Dark Chocolate with Quinoa comes from an artisan chocolate factory located in Lima, Peru and is claimed to make quality chocolate using only premium organic cocoa beans grown in different areas of the Peruvian Amazon. The beans are processed with care for an exquisite flavour of real chocolate and have not been blended, to create each delicious and distinctive variety.

Tahini Dark Milk Chocolate, Mulaté, UK

Tahini Dark Milk Chocolate, Mulaté, UK

Beyond the growing acknowledgement by consumers and manufacturers that cocoa is itself a “flavor,” the horizon of new flavor innovations is extremely broad. For instance, Mulaté Tahini Dark Milk Chocolate is made with tahini, roasted sesame and 45% cacao. This organic chocolate is suitable for vegetarians and free from gluten.

Marcia Mogelonsky, Director of Insight, Food and Drink, has been with Mintel since 2000. Her expertise is centered on a number of areas in confectionery and snacks. Before joining Mintel, Marcia headed her own consulting company which focused on consumer behavior and product innovation in a wide range of industries.

Marcia Mogelonsky
Marcia Mogelonsky

Marcia Mogelonsky, Ph. D. is the Director of Insight, Food & Drink, at Mintel. Her expertise focuses on consumer behavior across a range of categories.

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