Organic, a key claim in chocolate confectionery
Organic chocolate today is moving from a niche to a mainstream and sought-after proposition. Capitalizing on persistent consumers’ interest in organic products, there are more and more organic offerings on the confectionery shelf, from established iconic brands, fancy boutique producers to own label as retailers have started recognizing the potential.
Discover the various dimensions of how organic (aka bio) can manifest itself in chocolate confectionery and get inspired for your own product range.
Organic chocolate market dynamics
Organic chocolate has been around for decades now with brands like the UK Green&Black’s (‘green’ standing for organic, and ‘black’ for dark chocolate) entering the space already in the early 90’s. The claim has been consistently growing ever since into a 30 million euro market in Western Europe, and is expected to continue gaining share at 3% year on year – and that in the context of the (at best) flat confectionery market. Almost 30 years later G&B’s has turned from a start-up into a prominent brand and has a broad number of competing offers. Not surprisingly, with ‘Organic’ being by far the #1 claim among the new launches in Confectionery. (Source: Innova, 2015-2017)
Maximizing the impact
As seen in “Organic, from hype to a new lifestyle”, the ‘organic’ claim has a wide halo of associated perceptions in consumers’ minds as it’s indeed becoming a lifestyle and part of an evolving value system. As a result, organic rarely comes alone and is often supporting a more complex proposition, usually in 3 main directions:
Fairtrade. As chocolate’s main ingredient is cocoa, organic sourcing often goes hand-in-hand with sustainability and fairness that are hot topics in the industry.
Free-from. Vegan is another booming lifestyle choice and fits well with the better nutrition trend, perfectly complementing organic.
Better-for-you (healthier ingredients). Organic implies ‘coming from nature’ and is therefore seen as more natural and healthier. To enhance that perception, various better-for-you such as ‘healthier’ sugars or superfoods are a no-brainer solution.
Chocolat Stella goes all-in with its organic & fair range which is also vegan and uses special nut nectars in the recipe.https://www.barry-callebaut.com/sites/default/files/styles/paragraph_image_gallery_full/public/2019-01/Chocolat-Stella-organic-vegan-fair-chocolate.jpg?itok=WFBWL4hf
The raw chocolate co taps into the health trend with its organic chocolate nibbles with superfood cores.https://www.barry-callebaut.com/sites/default/files/styles/paragraph_image_gallery_full/public/2019-01/The-raw-chocolate-co-chocolate-nibbles-superfoods.jpg?itok=E6DN55J8
Today we’re observing a strong ‘less but better’ trend in chocolate confectionery. Consumers are cutting down on chocolate consumption because of its unhealthy reputation and are switching to higher quality products, which taste better, are more sophisticated or are better for you. All of those are typically more expensive but consumers are willing to accept it, driving the premiumisation trend.
Organic propositions in chocolate today charge an average of 30% premium vs the market, as it ticks many of the ‘higher quality’ boxes. To get your share of that juicy pie, you can choose between many strategies:
- Launch a ‘base’ organic chocolate range, where all of the ingredients have to be sourced organically, from chocolate to nuts to others. Highlighting the cocoa percentage in the recipe will further strengthen the quality credentials.
- Explore smaller portions and thinner formats to dial up the healthier perception.
- Trade up even more by using a sophistication approach through single origins (direct link to organic cocoa) or exclusive ingredients (such as local, or special provenance inclusions).