Top Chocolate
for 2020
and Beyond

In search of chocolate experiences to satisfy the new demands of Generation Z and the elusive holy grail: ‘the next Salted Caramel’, chocolate makers must innovate with multi-sensorial delights and go back to the roots of it all: the power of cacao.

Top Chocolate Trends for 2021

The world changed in 2020, and now chocolate makers around the world must innovate to meet accelerating consumer needs in confectionery and snacking. These include increased attention to emotional well-being, healthier lifestyles, provenance, craftsmanship, sustainability, and the explosion of at-home occasions.
woman and man at farmer's market

It has been a treasured treat since the Mayans discovered it in Mexico thousands of years ago, but in today’s fast-paced world it is constantly evolving. Exciting new chocolate experiences are being created every week, for every season, around the world. Whilst preserving traditional classics, chocolate is reinventing itself for the new generation.

The Chocolate Confectionery market was worth over $22 billion retail sales in North America in 2019, according to Euromonitor, bigger than Potato Chips, Pretzels and Snack Bars combined. It is also growing and forecast to increase in value by over 20% in the next 5 years. The makers creating new occasions for chocolate lovers, and value for cocoa farmers, will be best positioned to win.

Keep reading for some of the top trends driving this pace of change in chocolate, together with innovation highlights from North America and the rest of the world.

1. Desserts to Drinks

While dessert flavors in chocolate are maturing, drinks flavors are growing. This is because taste explorers are seeking new experiences and are hungry for novel sensorial delights. They are already embracing new & fusion-style beverages, so they are open to trying them in treats too; and sharing the experience with others.

  • 71% of consumers say “I want to try new and exciting chocolate experiences."1
  • 43% of consumers now enjoy cocktail/alcoholic/coffee/tea flavors in chocolate.2 
chocolate candies with almonds in center
Photo by Elena G on Unsplash

2. Cacao Discovery

man holding halved cacao pod

Today consumers are faced with unprecedented choice in chocolate. It means they are demanding evident added value to convince them to pay more. Cacao is the key to premium success, as the fundamental ingredient in chocolate.

  • 55% of consumers say "Chocolate which specified the origin of the cocoa beans is more premium."3
  • 54% of consumers say "Upscale Chocolate has a unique story about where it came from or how it was made"4

3. Seasoning Twists

As snacking increases and lines blur between categories, consumers are enjoying more sweet & savory moments. The opportunity for chocolate is to cross into new formats, offer more functional benefits particularly in dark chocolate, and go beyond salted caramel to draw on new sources of salt for the next generation of flavors.

  • 93% of consumers snack, and 43% of them eat dark chocolate as a snack – mostly for a satisfying indulgence5
  • 11% of consumers love “Spicy” or “Salty” chocolate, with growth in Botanical flavors such as herbs, spices & flora6
wooden board with seasonings on it
Photo by Zahrin Lukman on Unsplash

4. Chocolate Roots

woman sitting on blanket looking out onto horizon
Photo by Willian Justen de Vasconcellos on Unsplash

Millennials & Centennials pursue a happy and healthy life. They want holistic, authentic chocolate experiences that are good for them and the planet.

  • 48% of Millennials say "Chocolate needs to deliver more than just being tasty"7
  • 61% of Millennials say "Chocolate with clean labels are more trustworthy"8 

5. Treats Like Me

People love chocolates that feel personal and special. It’s the chance to express your own personality. The opportunity is to transform chocolate from universal to unique, especially in gifting. 

  • 37% of consumers say they “Prefer exclusive or limited edition chocolate"9
  • 43% of consumers say they want “Tailor made chocolate that is the perfect fit for me"10 
woman's hand with nail polish over a blue background
Photo by Analia Baggiano on Unsplash

6. Wholesome Bites

black cutting board with almonds, chocolate, and pecans
Photo by Pablo Lancaster Jones on Unsplash

Maintaining a high quality of life is important to consumers that want to stay “Forever Young”. This desire to live actively for longer means they care more about chocolate matching their lifestyle.

  • 64% of Healthy Agers say "Chocolate needs to be tasty and good for me"11
  • 54% of consumers love “Nutty” chocolate, vs. 36% for “Fruity” and 25% for “Dessert” flavor12

Download the Confectionery Trend Report: Top Chocolate Trends for 2020 and Beyond



  1. Barry Callebaut proprietary study, 2019
  2. Global Data 2019 Q4 Consumer Survey
  3. Barry Callebaut proprietary study, 2019
  4. Barry Callebaut proprietary study, 2019
  5. Mintel Better for you Snacking US, Dec 2019
  6. Global Data Consumer Survey Q4 2019; Mintel Flavor in focus: flavoring ingredient trends, Dec 2019
  7. Barry Callebaut proprietary study, 2019
  8. Global Data 2019 Q4 Consumer Survey
  9. Barry Callebaut proprietary study, 2019
  10. Barry Callebaut proprietary study, 2019
  11. Mintel Better for you Snacking US, Dec 2019
  12. Global Data Consumer Survey Q4 2019; Mintel Flavor in focus: flavoring ingredient trends, Dec 2019

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