Five things to look out for at ISM

January 22, 2018
3 min read

ISM, The world’s largest trade fair for sweets and snacks in Cologne is approaching fast. Here, Marcia Mogelonsky, Director of Insight at Mintel, has compiled an overview of innovations and trends to look out for at the trade fair. Marcia will be part of a panel at ISM’s sister conference, prosweets, where she will contribute her expertise on ‘The power of plants in snacks and confectionery’.

Vegan Treats

A focus on plant-based eating, as described by Mintel’s 2017 Global Food & Drink Trend ‘Power to the Plants’, is being seen in both chocolate and sugar confectionery. In chocolate confectionery, the trend is manifesting itself in the growth of non-dairy milk chocolate; while in sugar confectionery, there is growing interest in vegetable-based gelatin and other non-meat sourced ingredients for flavor, color, and texture.

New chocolate flavors

Added flavor in chocolate tends to stick to the perennial favorites such as hazelnut and almond. Experiments in savory and spicy flavors have been falling out of favor with consumers in some markets; in others, such as Japan, less sweet flavors such as green tea remain popular.

Interest in the flavor of the chocolate itself has expanded, as consumers learn more about single origin products and about the flavor characteristics of cocoa from different countries and regions. Much as coffee lovers can converse about the difference between Sumatran and Kona, chocolate lovers have become fluent about chocolate sources and flavors. Barry Callebaut’s introduction of ruby chocolate has also put a focus on flavor, asking consumers to accept a chocolate that does not taste like chocolate.

Moderation is king

Chocolate confectionery is considered a permissible indulgence, as consumers balance portion control with enjoyment. In order to facilitate careful consumption, manufacturers are providing pre-measured portions in the form of bites, crisps or thins. Bites have edged out crisps and thins over the past year in product launches, with a promise of ’just enough’ chocolate to serve as a reward, a pick-me-up, or a treat.


The lines between sweet biscuits and chocolate confectionery are blurring as manufacturers pair popular products, leveraging the success of one to drive sales of the other. Consumers do not seem especially concerned if the snack is a’chocolate biscuit’ or a’biscuit chocolate’, and for manufacturers the major issue may be product placement in retail outlets, rather than the products themselves. The melding of biscuits and chocolate confectionery follows the disappearing boundary between chocolate and snacks, as the three categories have almost seamlessly become one.

3D Printing

Confectionery companies continue to push the boundaries of 3D printing. In the US, Hershey has partnered with the tech firm 3D Systems to provide personalized 3D printed chocolate bars, at its Hershey’s Chocolate World in Pennsylvania. The companies are now working with the Culinary Institute of America to explore the seemingly contradictory areas of 3D printed food and artisan culinary methods. In Europe, Barry Callebaut is also considering the challenging fusion of high tech and craft, collaborating with the 3D printer manufacturer byFlow to produce 3D printed Belgian chocolates. They are promoting the experiment as “the next step in traditional (chocolate) crafting methods.”
The direction taken by both companies points to a new phase in 3D confectionery development: making sure that the technology of the future protects the taste, quality and reputation of the past’s artisan confectionery.

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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