Explore functional ingredients and healthier reformulations
March 10, 2022 — A roundtable of food industry experts from Innova Market Insights, the Almond Board of California and the chocolate brand Compartés, presents new ideas on how manufacturers can respond on the call for “better for you” chocolate products without compromising taste and texture.
The chocolate category and consumer data presented by the panel indicates multiple ways that “better for you” formulations lead to compelling product claims.
In their next webinar hosted on FoodIngredientsFirst on March 17, attendees will be able to see examples of new product development and inspiring recipe concepts that demonstrate how to stay at the forefront of the confectionery category.
Feature up front
Innova Market Insights identifies that while consumers still want to eat sweet treats, they are also demanding that these offerings be significantly healthier.
Over the past year, NPD has expanded to encompass offerings with nutritionally dense ingredients. An example of this is Miskets Dark Chocolate Chickpea Snacks, which is a dark chocolate product coated in roasted chickpeas. Chickpeas have been gaining traction in the market for some time as a plant-based ingredient that is high in fiber and protein.
According to Innova Market Insights, rice syrup is considered the fastest growing ingredient in the chocolate category, which grew by 39% among tracked global launches between 2017 and 2021. This ingredient was tracked closely by date (38%), whey permeate (35%), erythritol (33%) and radish (31%).
Food innovators continue to increase the functional factor of chocolate through ingredient development and improved processing methods. Last month, a Penn State study found that the bitter, astringent flavors of low-sugar cocoa confections can be manipulated by roasting the cocoa beans longer and at higher temperatures.
The health halo lights up
Research highlights that health claims applied in chocolate confectionery are in abundance, including basic positioning like “low sugar” and new ones like “prebiotics.”
Notable examples of this include Nature’s Own Factory Prebiotic Buckwheat Chocolate with Peanuts, which has the added benefit of improving gut health by inducing the growth or activity of beneficial microorganisms such as good bacteria.
Harvest Box Almonds Dipped in Dark Chocolate is one of many products that maintains the classic promotion of the benefits of dark chocolate, while featuring high protein, high fiber and low protein claims on the packaging. in sugar.
Meanwhile, Noshu Low Carb Indulgence Bar: Cherry and Coconut jumps on the low carb trend as a tart-tasting chocolate-covered shredded coconut treat.
Herbal packs pack a punch
Innova Market Insights highlights that plant-based indulgence continues to expand into confectionery, influencing new approaches to better-for-you chocolate. Highlighted as an emerging theme not so long ago, this trend has since been featured by many heavyweight brands, such as Nestlé, which launched a new plant-based iteration of KitKat, KitKat V.
Earlier this year, Cargill targeted Europe’s growing flexitarian appetite with a new range of vegan chocolates and couverture chocolates. Chocolate ExtraVeganZa is positioned to deliver a “truly indulgent sensory experience,” using plant-based “powerful ingredients” sunflower seed powder, rice syrup, and organic rice syrup.
Research from chocolate titan Barry Callebaut recently revealed that 60% of consumers now expect plant-based options, with Millennials and Gen Zers, aged 18-44, actively seeking out these foods.
Barry Callebaut recently unveiled a dairy-free, plant-based chocolate solution for the sweet snack category, Dairy-Free Compounds, which are manufactured in completely separate production facilities that do not handle dairy.
For a more in-depth look at the latest industry trends aimed at raising the bar for health-focused chocolate confectionery, readers can register for the next webinar here.
By Benjamin Ferrer
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