Barry Callebaut has released its new report, Top Chocolate Trends 2021 & Beyond, identifying four key consumer needs for this year across Europe.

The first trend Barry Callebaut highlights for this year is ‘indulgent moments’. According to the report, this is important to consumers at the moment, especially, since COVID-19. Consumers are seeking comfort, finding moments to celebrate and looking for ways to escape the ordinary. 

The Good for Me trend is also important, according to the report. Consumers are increasingly looking for healthier alternatives without compromise on taste. Barry Callebaut’s report has identified three trends when it comes to healthier chocolate alternatives as a result ­– low in sugar, organic and vegan.

For example, 39% of European Millennials believe that vegan or dairy free chocolates are better for them than those with dairy. 63% are also interested in buying organic products and 55% think that the best chocolates are those that have reduced sugar.

A key trend, that has been growing over the years, is the need for consumers to indulge in chocolate that they know is not harming the planet or its people. The trend being, ‘Chocolate I Trust’. The report states that traceability and transparency of products and ingredients is more important – 61% of European consumers want to know more about where their chocolates come from and what’s in it.

According to Barry Callebaut, the shift to at home occasions is “reshaping and accelerating change in consumer behaviour”. As chocolate is a top flavour, manufacturers and brands are taking cocoa into new formats and categories to meet this new demand. The report states that, as a result, chocolate categories continue to mutate and borders blur, while snacking and gifting are going through a “little revolution”.

For example, the report finds that gifting is no longer just about offering a nice chocolate box to a loved one but is also now about gifting yourself or a group – and it goes beyond the traditional praline assortment. Unique and personalised chocolates are now becoming more ‘gift-worthy’. This is further backed up by the Barry Callebaut proprietary study in 2019, showing that 75% of global consumers want to try new and exciting chocolate experiences.