Indulgence and health are two priorities consumers report seeking in chocolate confectionery. According to the Almond board of california (ABC), nuts, specifically almonds, can provide even more snacking relevancy for chocolate. Almost 80% of chocolate snackers report chocolate is either their “number one go-to snack” or “one of their top choices,” and nuts can increase the snack appeal of chocolate, the company maintains.
Harbinder Maan, associate director of trade marketing and stewardship, says that the COVID-19 pandemic did not halt worldwide consumers’ love for chocolate.
“In our 2022 Global Chocolate Study, 92% of surveyed global consumers reported eating the same or more chocolate than they had versus the year prior, and emotional benefits drove that increased chocolate consumption.”
However, Innova Market Insights reported that the top three reasons for decreases in chocolate consumption include budget changes, health and lifestyle shifts.
Maan believes that chocolate manufacturers are increasingly expected to accommodate these priorities to motivate chocolate purchases.
Pushing up demand for “permissible indulgence”
Consumers in nine out of 10 countries surveyed in the Almond Board of California’s 2022 Global Chocolate Study reported the belief that chocolate is an indulgence they allow themselves to have and enjoy.
On the other hand, Innova Market Insights’ 2022 Lifestyle Survey also found that concerns over physical and mental health have recently influenced consumers to seek a healthier lifestyle.
“These desires for both indulgence and health may have traditionally been seen as at odds with one another, but manufacturers have innovated and adapted to create permissibly indulgent products,” underscores Maan.
The Almond Board’s webinar will explore this topic in more detail, and Innova Market Insights’ data on 2022 new chocolate launches with almonds indicates that free-from, clean label, and dietary lifestyle claims are becoming established within the category. Maan flags that value-add claims involving added protein, fiber, or antioxidants are also emerging.
“Almonds’ ability to fit shifting ideas of health and nutrition is helping manufacturers tailor marketing and labeling to continue driving demand,” she comments.
Formulating chocolate can be challenging when keeping up the quality
Perceptions of a product’s quality now tie in sensory, nutritional, and sourcing characteristics, which can be a complex list of priorities for chocolate manufacturers to balance without compromise.
“Because of almonds’ many contributions to a product’s perceived quality, two-thirds of consumers worldwide stated they are more likely to buy chocolate with almonds than without, and 77% believe adding almonds to chocolate is worth paying more for at the store,” Maan notes.
When it comes to quality and value, California almonds tick all the boxes regarding health and nutrition, taste and texture, and sustainability, she says.
“Almonds are widely available and a simple, plant-based, whole food ingredient with over 14 versatile forms for various sensory experiences. Plus, those grown in California benefit from a long heritage of continuously improved sustainability practices. As a nutrient-dense snack, almonds offer 6 g of plant-based protein, 4 g of filling dietary fiber, 13 g of good unsaturated fats and just 1 gram of saturated fat per serving.”
On March 29, Lu Ann Williams from Innova Market Insights and Chocolatier Angela Borah will discuss how to redefine the value of confectionery products.
As consumers look to maximize the value of purchases, manufacturers must consider the motivations that will solidify chocolate products as a permissible indulgence. Confectionery product development can answer consumer needs using almond ingredients, from new taste and texture experiences to personal well-being and planetary health.