Newswise — CHICAGO—In the April 2013 issue of Food Technology magazine Senior Editor Don Pszczola writes about growing trends related to recent cocoa and chocolate applications research conducted by Innova Market Insights from the webinar “Inspiring 2013 Food Trends for Your Cocoa and Chocolate Applications.” Following are the top 10 trends discussed.
The Aware Shopper: Today’s consumer is interested in products that are both environmentally-friendly and ethically produced, while also being convenient. Chocolate labels are becoming more simple and transparent so consumers know exactly what they are buying, and portions of chocolate products frequently go back to charities or address certain causes.
Healthy Traffic Jams: Consumers are looking for brands that communicate a “healthy indulgence.” These products are often promoted for their naturalness or nutritional value such as a source of vitamins D and E, sugar-free, or antioxidant-enriched. Dark chocolate is also often touted for being good for the heart and blood circulation.
Gray but Healthy: Consumers are selecting products that can help them age more healthfully, which makes chocolate that provides collagen, protein, and calcium especially appealing.
Just Say No: Gluten and lactose-free are two health claims that are becoming increasingly prevalent in today’s food world. Chocolate products that target consumers with allergies or intolerances to gluten, soy, dairy, certain preservatives, and others have become more popular. Global numbers for chocolate products that are lactose-free have tripled over the past five years.
Natural Cracks Emerge: Lawsuits and regulatory pressure are rising over concerns whether “natural” can be used in relation to highly processed foods. In response, chocolate companies are switching to terms like “additive/preservative-free” and “contains naturally occurring sugars.”
Protein Overdrive: Protein is a hot topic and there are many opportunities for chocolate to deliver protein—especially from plant-based alternatives such peas, nuts and seeds.
Beating the Sugar Demon: With diabetes on the rise, chocolate developers are coming up with sugar alternatives that still maintain the indulgence of chocolate. The number of chocolate products with claims of “no added sugar” has increased 130 percent from the first half of 2011 to the first half of 2012.
Sensory Experience: An increase of chocolate products with new texture types such as caramelized and lightly salted popcorn covered in milk chocolate give the consumer both a salty and sweet experience. There are a variety of new ways to add appeal to chocolate through unusual mixes of textures and flavors from everything to color and shape.
More with Less: Environmentally friendly packaging for chocolate is on the rise.
Interest at the Extremes: Intense flavors such as wasabi are being added to chocolate products and can help the elderly enjoy the experience more if they have less receptive palates.
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