Chocolate-covered vegetables, floral-scented chocolates and desserts within desserts are among some of the global trends being observed in the rich, dark world of cocoa.
According to market research group Mintel, sweet tooths around the world are driving up consumption, as the global market is expected to top $9.1 billion USD this year, up 4 percent from 2013.
With the U.K. feting ‘Chocolate Week’ starting October 17, and the 20th edition of the Salon du Chocolat -- the world’s biggest chocolate fair -- expected to open in Paris later this month, here’s a look at some emerging trends that chocoholics can look forward to finding on their grocery store shelves.
Though chocolate and orange have long been best friends in the confectionery world, another citrus fruit is getting some chocolate love: lemon. In fact, according to Mintel, the number of lemon-flavoured chocolate products has doubled over the past year globally.
Dessert as an ingredient
Confectionery makers are pimping out chocolate to make it even more decadent by creating dessert-flavored, well, desserts. Think crème brulee, tiramisu, milkshake and ice cream-flavoured chocolates.
In Asia, where the sweet tooth is much weaker than the Western world, vegetables are being used to cut cloyingly sweet chocolate flavours. In 2013, there was wasabi-flavoured chocolate. Now there’s chocolate-covered edamame and purple sweet potato chocolate, made with white chocolate and purple potato paste.
New fruit flavour
Strawberry, raspberry and cherry have all had solid turns in the chocolate spotlight. But in Poland, consumers are being treated to chocolate and peach-fruit filling, an overlooked but underestimated fruit pairing.
Here’s the traditional pecking order when it comes to nuts and chocolate: The top nut ingredient is hazelnuts, followed by almonds and peanuts. But according to Mintel, consumers can expect to see a more diverse nutscape including pistachios, and a blend of seeds and nuts. One particularly interesting riff on chocolate-covered almonds comes from Canada, with the Rogers’ Chocolates Natural Dark Chocolate Chipotle Almonds.
Chocolate for breakfast
While we’ve seen chocolate sneak its way into sugary breakfast cereals before, it’s also finding its way into traditionally healthier breakfasts like quinoa, granola and muesli.
Like coffee and wine, the notion of chocolate terroir is becoming increasingly popular. Serious chocolate lovers are learning that cacao from different countries -- Venezuela, Ivory Coast, and relative newcomer Vietnam -- have different taste profiles.
Hibiscus, the ingredient that’s become commonplace in teas, is also finding its way into chocolate. And as Mintel notes, while floral-scented chocolates aren’t common, it’s an avenue they anticipate will be explored.
Mintel researchers also note an increasing number of white chocolate launches, including a Fair Trade German brand that released a white chocolate bar with mango and coconut.
Layering of flavours
Product descriptions are getting longer and longer with dual and triple-flavoured chocolates, including beer and chocolate, red wine and marzipan, and smoked BBQ potato chips.