Chocolate is currently an industry showcasing great innovation, flavors and variety. HN investigates what the biggest players are doing with the proverbial bean
Mordor Intelligence, a global research company, forecasts that the world’s premium chocolate market will be valued at an estimated USD 33 billion by 2024 at a CAGR of 10 percent during the forecast period (2019-2024). One key market trend making an impacting is the growing demand for organic, vegan, sugar and gluten-free chocolates. Of that share, Global Information, a market research company, expects the Middle East and Africa chocolate market to reach USD 6.5 billion by 2024 at a CAGR of 7 percent during the forecast period (2019-2024).
Development in modern retailing also boosted the demand for chocolate in the Middle East. The large expatriate population in the region, especially in the UAE and KSA, contributed to the increasing demand for chocolate products. New product innovations, partnerships, mergers, acquisitions and expansions are the major strategic approaches preferred by the companies in the markets studied.
The report also revealed that due to the growing awareness of the negative effects of synthetic products on health and the environment, most health-conscious and informed consumers have started opting for organic products. Furthermore, the demand for limited edition chocolates is playing an important role in the market studied. Factors such as shape and packaging of chocolates are the key strategies adopted by companies to attain maximum sales, especially during festive occasions. This is fueled by the branding of seasonal and premium dark chocolates as gifts, primarily attracting consumers who are influenced by the products’ price, packaging, ingredients, authenticity and buying experience. Another interesting development saw demand for a combination of chocolates in unusual exotic flavors with a noticeable increase in demand for innovative savory varieties; unsurprisingly, therefore, multi-flavored products are becoming all the rage. Texture is also playing an instrumental role when it comes to the consumer’s sensory experience with more products offering creative combinations of crispy inclusions in a soft filling. A play on color is also ushering in a range of brighter propositions that are not only are eye-catching, but also very Instagramable.
Similarly, today’s consumers are increasingly interested in where their food comes from, with companies responding by offering that information across a broader range of product categories, especially when it comes to where these products were manufactured. Artisanal and handmade offerings are on the rise, with manufacturers communicating the processes for some of their products with labels such as ‘stoneground’ and ‘slow churned’ to position these on a more distinct scale.
The rise in health concerns worldwide are having a key impact on the chocolate industry, with products advertising ‘no added sugar’ and allergen-free alternatives. One other novel proposition has been the introduction of fruits and vegetables to some chocolates. In parallel, real ingredients with natural colors are used to reassure consumers of the health merits such products offer. A new technology called cold-pressing is used to process unroasted cocoa beans to better preserve the nutritional content of the bean. Lastly, and as global warming takes its toll, more heat stable chocolates are emerging that allow consumers to enjoy their products in more challenging environments, a result achieved by reducing, in some instances, the amount of cocoa butter used, and in others substituting it with vegetable oil and cocoa powder.
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Maurice E. Feghali
EMF Trading Ltd – Middle East
Pastry Chef Instructor
Middle East, India, Africa