Chocolate Trends that are Raising the Bar

By Heather Mayer

Styling and Photography by Laurie Mosco

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The votes are in — chocolate has been crowned America’s leading confection.  While we don’t see its fan following fizzling out anytime soon, the best way for chocolate to maintain its position in confectionery royalty, and you to keep racking up the chocolate sales, is by keeping it fresh (in more ways than one). The best way to keep it fresh — incorporating the latest trending flavors and ingredients.

Up the Comfort

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72% of Americans say confections are a big part of their emotional wellbeing — meaning they’re looking for comfort from their chocolate snacks (Bake Magazine).  Raise the chocolate bar — offer the comfort foods they love in a new confectionery package.  Red velvet cake is classic, but lend those flavors to bite-size Nassau Candy Red Velvet Caramels, and they really take the cake.

Along with chocolate, s’mores are emerging as a comfort food favorite.  But who wants to make a fire every time you want to enjoy this fireside favorite? Add Nassau Candy Milk Chocolate S’mores to your specialty chocolate selection and things will start to heat up. Crispy graham cracker topped with fluffy marshmallows and coated in rich, premium milk chocolate – no fire required.

An alternative way to get in on the comfort game is combining two comfort classics into one mega-confection like Nassau Candy Dark Chocolate Graham Crackers.  Another chocolate combo that will have them “crumbing” back for more – sandwich cookies coated in sea salt caramel and milk chocolate like Nassau Candy Milk Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel Sandwich Cookies.

Sometimes comfort can be simply a classic done right, with premium ingredients like the rich chocolate, buttery caramel and sea salt flakes found in Nassau Candy Sea Salt Caramels.

Multisensory Experience

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This trend is all about exciting the senses with bold flavors, unique textures and new avenues to enjoy chocolate, according to Bake Magazine. One way to spice up customers’ chocolate routine is with unexpected spices like chili and cinnamon like Chocolove’s Chili Mole 70% Dark Chocolate Bar, or the sweet heat of crystalized ginger in Chocolove’s Crystalized Ginger in Dark Chocolate.  Up the flavor excitement with the unorthodox pairing of sweet and tangy dried cherries with chilies like in Chocolove’s Chilies and Cherries.

For those customers who are not fans of heat, look for chocolate products that play with different textures. The classic strawberries and cream, takes on a new dimension in Divine’s White Chocolate with Strawberries made with premium white chocolate filled with strawberry crisps. Sometimes creating a multisensory experience is as simple as offering customers iconic chocolate flavors in a unique thin chip-shaped wafer like Divine Dark Chocolate with Mint Crispy Thins or Divine Milk Chocolate with Caramel & Sea Salt Crispy Thins.  Trust us — they won’t be able to have just one.

A Cause for Celebration

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Customers are looking to add excitement by transforming any day into a celebration. And they’re doing that with flavor.  A big way is through seasonal limited edition flavors, with Bake Magazine reporting 60% of US consumers purchasing limited edition holiday chocolate. But why have customers wait for a holiday to create that limited edition feeling?  Gourmet chocolates with festive ingredients can also create a celebratory experience anytime.   

Nothing says “party” like fireworks, so a bar like Chuao Dark Chocolate Firecracker, a blend of a salt and smoky chipotle with popping candy ignites a spark of excitement. Celebrations are always better with decorations, so a chocolate bar that offers a pop of color like Chuao Sprinkle Dreams — milk chocolate filled with rainbow sprinkles, crispy waffle cone pieces and hazelnuts is like a party in a box. 

Party flavors can also be a cause for celebration.  Serve up the flavors of nostalgia with the celebratory food of childhood with Chuao Milk Chocolate Ravishing Rocky Road — a blend of caramelized almonds and fluffy, gooey marshmallows in milk chocolate. The customary bread found at dinner parties takes on a whole new meaning with Milk Chocolate Salted Crunch Bar, rich dark chocolate sprinkled with breadcrumb pieces.

For some, nothing gets them in the celebrating “spirit” more than customary party beverages.  Yes, we understand that bourbon vanilla is not the liquor, but we think that MilkBoy Swiss Chocolate with Bourbon Vanilla will have them raising their glasses.  They’ll also perk up for dark chocolate infused with roasted coffee like in Milkboy Swiss Dark Chocolate Roast Coffee Bar.

A classic flavor full of texture can be a cause for celebration too!  That’s why we love MilkBoy Milk Chocolate with Crunchy Caramel and Sea Salt.  Premium Swiss milk chocolate sprinkled with crunchy caramel and sea salt.

Vivacious and Vegan

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An increased appeal of plant-based diets along with sustainability concerns (more on that later) is driving demand for vegan chocolate products. In fact, vegan claims appeared in 7% of 2020 chocolate launches, according to Bake Magazine. Vegan might mean without particular ingredients, but even in vegan chocolate, customers are still craving ALL the unique flavors and textures.  A brand that pushes the plant-based envelope is Endangered Species. Bars like Oat Milk Dark Chocolate Coconut & Almonds bursting with exotic, tropical flavors, and texture-rich Oat Milk Dark Chocolate and Rice Crisp offer crisp, new way to enjoy.

Even though customers are seeking new vegan versions, they’re still drawn to the classics. That’s why chocolate classics that meet today’s vegan ingredient requirements like Endangered Species Oat Milk Dark Chocolate Sea Salt or Endangered Species Oat Milk Dark Chocolate bars will have everyone feeling like a kid in a candy store.  Or appeal to their inner child with vegan versions of childhood favorites like Unreal’s Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups, Dark Chocolate Coconut Bars, or Dark Chocolate Peanut Gems.

Sustainability is Sexy

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Today, consumers are looking for their chocolate products to do more than delight their senses, they’re looking for brands that prioritize ethically sourced ingredients and production, positive environmental impact, while supporting the farmers growing these ingredients (Bake Magazine).

In this trend, the brand draws customers as much as the ingredients. A brand that’s new to the chocolate space, but is recognized  by customers for its sustainability is Dr. Bronner’s.  Known for organic, Fair Trade, natural soaps, Dr. Bronner’s brings its ethical sourcing and expert craftsmanship to chocolate making.  Their Magic All-One Chocolate bars feature the iconic vibrant colored packaging customers will instantly recognize, packed with the exceptional flavors like Dark Chocolate Crunchy Hazelnut, Dark Chocolate Almond Butter, Salted Dark Chocolate and Dark Chocolate Smooth Coconut Praline.

For sustainability with a gourmet flare, Canadian Chocolatier Jelina, creates Fair Trade masterpieces like Milk Chocolate Honey Nougat, Milk Chocolate Maple Crunch, Dark Chocolate Mint Crisp and Dark Chocolate Cranberry Almond.

Our chocolate selection serves up all the latest trends

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