Chocolate Innovation: The top 10 trends driving the global chocolate confectionery market

April 25, 2014
5 min read

Highlighting consumer commitment to sweet treats, the global chocolate confectionery market is expected to continue to grow in 2014  to top US$91.3 billion, a 4% increase on 2013. Manufacturers continue to innovate around a number of flavors, both sweet and savory, and consumers are increasingly curious enough to give even the most outrageous flavors a try. Here we have put together a selection of 10 key trends seen in the global chocolate confectionery industry, including innovations around flavor and form, as well as explorations into ways to extend sharing opportunities.

White Organic Yogurt Chocolate with Lemon Zest and Pepper


1) Beyond orange. Manufacturers are increasingly experimenting with other types of citrus in chocolate. Indeed, the number of chocolate products flavored with lemon has doubled over the past year globally. And beyond simply lemon, we are seeing more elaborate variations – products with lemon, yogurt and pepper, or with lemon oil. For example, in Germany, Gepa The Fair Trade Company has launched a white organic yogurt chocolate bar with lemon zest and pepper.







2) Dessert as an ingredient. Chocolate used to be an ingredient in desserts, but now desserts have become an “ingredient” in chocolate confectionery. From crème brulée to crepes and tiramisu’ – and a whole other range of desserts – desserts are becoming flavors. Beyond baked desserts, we are  also seeing things like milkshake and ice cream flavored chocolate being launched. The German company Kaoka, for example, has launched an organic dark chocolate with buttery crispy crépes.






Sweet Potato Chocolate

3) Vegetables in chocolate.  Although still niche, we have seen new chocolate launches in Asia (especially in China) containing vegetables. One of the vegetable-chocolate combos we have seen are chocolate covered potato chips, which could be considered more of a salty snack plus chocolate (similarly we have seen other salty snacks transitioning to chocolate e.g. chocolate covered pretzels and popcorn). The other Asian-inspired vegetable-based chocolate we have seen is edamame covered with chocolate – seemingly the next step after wasabi flavored chocolate, which was a big trend last year. In Japan, Mujirushi Ryohin has launched Mujirushi Ryohin Purple Sweet Potato Chocolate, with white chocolate and purple potato paste.






4) Unusual fruits. We have already seen a wide range of fruit – including strawberry, raspberry and cherry – added to chocolate, but there are now a lot more types of fruit being integrated. Peach is one of the fruits that have become more common, as seen in Poland with Luximo Premium, which launched Luximo Premium Praliny Nadziewane o Smaku Brzoskwiniowym (Chocolates with Peach Flavoured Filling).







Dark Chocolate Chipotle Almonds

5) Going nuts. Hazelnut is the top nut ingredient in chocolate, followed by almond and peanut. But there is also a growth in pistachio, which has figured in more products this year, and there are a number of blends of nuts and seeds or nuts and other ingredients. For example, in Canada Rogers’ Chocolates has launched Rogers’ Chocolates Natural Dark Chocolate Chipotle Almonds, which comprises fresh California almonds cooked in small batches of cane sugar and a blend of chillies and spices.







6) Not just for breakfast: Cereals moving into chocolate. Certain cereals have been included within chocolate for a while, but we are now seeing other types of cereals moving in – such as granola and muesli – that give the chocolate more texture. Other grains moving into chocolate include quinoa, as seen in the Agave Quinoa Sesame in Milk Chocolate bar from US company Seattle Chocolate.






Ba Ria

7) A greater variety of “fine” and “rare” cocoa. We are used to seeing artisan and “sourced” solid chocolate from a number of countries (such as Sao Tome and Venezuela), but we are now noticing this trend even more, suggesting a growing interest in fine and carefully crafted products. There is also considerable interest in ascribing a “taste profile” to the chocolate, much like we see in the wine industry. For example, in Vietnam, chocolate brand Marou launched Marou Ba Ria 76% So Co La Den (Ba Ria 76% Dark Chocolate), featuring a bold and fruity chocolate made from Trinitario cocoa, which is sourced directly from family-owned farms in Ba Ria province.




Wild Ophelia


8) Florals. While floral notes in chocolate products are still occasional, this is an avenue that has the potential to be explored more. For example, American Wild Ophelia has launched Wild Ophelia All Natural Southern Hibiscus Peach Milk Chocolate Bar containing 41% cacao with Angelus peaches which are said to be high in potassium and vitamins and offer healthy protein and dietary fibre.






gepa white chocolate


9) White chocolate. We are seeing an increasing number of white chocolate launches on the market, with a lot of different and innovative fillings and flavorings. One example of this is Gepa The Fair Trade Company Weiße Bio-Jogurt-Schokolade mit Mango und Kokos (White Yogurt Chocolate with Mango & Coconut) in Germany.




gepa white chocolate

10) Building and layering flavors. Recent quirky and interesting new product launches have included beer and chocolate (as seen  in the Netherlands with Voor Jou! Real Belgian Chocolate Glasses of Beer), red wine and marzipan (as seen in Germany with MK Mark Chocolate with Red Wine Marzipan), smoked BBQ potato chips (as seen in Wild Ophelia Smokehouse BBQ Potato Chips Dark Chocolate Bar) and other fun products that demonstrate the extent to which chocolate serves as a great base for building and layering flavors.


Marcia is Mintel’s Director of Insight, Food and Drink. Marcia has been with Mintel since 2000 and her expertise centers on a number of areas in confectionery and snacks. She also has a deep understanding of consumer demographics, having previously served as an associate editor for American Demographics magazine. 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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