Delicate and rich in flavor, it’s no surprise that chocolate is one of the world’s most beloved sweets. At Luker Chocolate, we believe that when done right, chocolate can create indulgent moments that are on the feel-good trend.
As a B4B chocolate manufacturer working with some of the UK’s finest chocolatiers, Luker Chocolate has seen wellness become a major trend over the past 18 months, with 17.6% of all new chocolate launches in the UK. UK advertising a vegan or plant-based claim.*
Over the past few years, it’s been evident that chocolate consumers are looking to brand owners and chocolatiers for a gourmet treat that fits their wellness plan. Below are some of the top wellness trends that Luker says are here to stay.
Oat milk continues to lead the way
The appeal and popularity of oat milk has exploded over the past year as sales of the drink doubled. Not only is oat milk popular with vegans or food-free consumers, but also those who simply enjoy the taste. Existing plant-based chocolate options to date have consisted primarily of high-quality dark chocolate, with a cocoa content of 50% or more. Now, thanks to the creamy consistency of oat milk, food-free consumers can indulge in a range of milk chocolates and even white chocolates.
Reduce sugar intake
Reducing sugar intake is a classic way to be healthier. Although chocolate is not a health product, cocoa has well-documented antioxidant qualities. But many manufacturers add a lot of sugar to turn cocoa into a consumer chocolate product. For those who want a totally sugar-free alternative, there aren’t many choices on the shelves. However, the demand is increasing. Over the past year, Britain has claimed the highest proportion of European food and drink launches with a ‘no added sugar’* claim.
The trick is to deliver sugar-free chocolate couvertures that meet consumer expectations for flavor without compromising on well-being. Luker Chocolate offers this in its Balance line, which can help chocolatiers create a flavor-rich product that works for a health-conscious consumer.
Alternatives to natural sugar
The UK market is diversifying into sugar. As sugar-free takes off, natural sugars are also being experimented with. Around 90% of UK sugar in sugar products and bags is beet and cane sugar, both highly refined and processed.
Some chocolate companies are now looking for more natural sugar alternatives, a cleaner label and a more natural product.
Coconut sugar is a great example of this, as a way to more naturally sweeten a chocolate product. Natural ingredients are well regarded by consumers seeking wellness products and allow a chocolate maker to boast of having an overall less processed product. Additionally, by working with ingredients that consumers can recognize, natural sugar products can be marketed very easily in the wellness space by brands.
This consumer focus on wellness is already creating a more vibrant chocolate industry. But it is only in its infancy. Chocolatiers can lean into this trend in 2022 and continue to innovate in this space.
- Paul Morris is European Sales Director at Luker Chocolate, a leading manufacturer of premium and sustainable chocolate.
- * From Mintel for Luker Chocolate