- Consumer interest in healthier foods could help drive sales for natural and organic chocolate brands, according to New Hope Network. The site notes a recent report from Research and Markets that forecasts 2.4% annual growth for the global chocolate market through 2021, with a special interest in healthier chocolate options.
- Demand for better-for-you chocolate is a key market driver. Raw and dark organic chocolate are considered superfoods, and are becoming increasingly popular.
- NibMor, an organic chocolate brand, is seeing a surge in lower cocoa treats and products that include fruit like cherries or blueberries. “As the new American consumer gets more and more educated about what they’re putting into their body, they want to continue of course to indulge, but they want to do that mindfully,” NibMor CEO Ralph Chauvin told New Hope Network.
Consumers are trying to clean up their diets with healthier options, and that now includes what they nibble on for dessert.
Better-for-you chocolate brands give shoppers a reassuring pat on the back that eating the sweet treat is in fact a healthy choice. However, this only applies to single portions of higher cocoa-percentage chocolate. Still, cocoa contains B vitamins, copper, manganese, zinc and other minerals that consumers are looking to add to their diets.
Chocolate as a whole may benefit from this healthier image, even if it’s not deserved — eating a whole Hershey bar still isn't considered part of a balanced diet. However, the more shoppers hear that chocolate is good for them, the more they will believe it. It will be up to the individual consumer to educate himself on where the health benefits come from — and where they stop.
Will chocolate ever be viewed with the same health halo as a pint of blueberries? Probably not. But this changing consumer perception and growing desire for value-added foods of all kinds give chocolate manufacturers an opportunity to capture new health-conscious shopper bases. It will be interesting to see if major chocolate manufacturers like Nestle, Hershey and Mars begin advertising chocolate's benefits on their products to capture these health-conscious consumers. It's possible that consumers will be put off by companies trying to pitch high-calorie, high-sugar products as nutritious, but some may see this as an opportunity for indulgence with less guilt.