While consumers always expected a personal experience, they are also interested in convenience and authenticity, at least according to Barry Callebaut’s predictions for the chocolate market of 2014.

The sector is constantly changing, and with it, so is consumer demand. In an effort to shed light on the evolving trends already taking root, Barry Callebaut presented its insights at this year’s International Sweets and Biscuits Fair (ISM) in Cologne, Germany.

1. Daily Luxuries
Chocolates are a daily luxury for consumers, and they want companies to make it worth their wild. Premium brands have been challenged to create products that offer new, unique flavor profiles but also take their services to the next level.

2. Smart & Convenient
The current economic climate has increased demand for affordable indulgences with a focus on value. In order to maximize their limited time and budget financial resources, consumers are comparing prices, shopping online and buying in bulk. They are even switching brands based on the perception of value. Companies need to be able to meet these expectations and develop smart solutions offering affordable, yet convenient luxuries to their markets.

3. Simplicity
Consumers are faced with an overabundance of choices and information; it is the company’s job to provide services and products that make those decisions easier to make. Additionally, it is important to reassure customers by offering them both flexible and “quality of life” products.

4. My Food
Consumers want to treated as individuals, and expect chocolates that are both distinct and unique as they are. Personal identification can take a number of forms including high-quality ingredients, craftsmanship, limited editions and exclusive products. Colors, textures and flavors also factor into creating the brand of personalization. Incorporating a few of these techniques will help companies separate from the pack and help consumers recognize a brand’s unique identity.

5. Human and local
In the globalized marketplace, consumers are paying more attention to the origins and authenticity of chocolate. More and more, heritage will become the dominant criterion for measuring quality and building trust with consumers.

6. Respect and responsibility
The story behind the product is becoming more important to consumers. They want to know how food companies source their products, and how they treat the local communities. In addition, catering for special dietary needs and religious demands is increasingly important. Both trends lead to companies becoming transparent with consumers about their proceedings and accountable for their actions. .

Barry Callebaut is the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality cocoa and chocolate – from the cocoa bean to the finest chocolate product. Barry Callebaut is present in 30 countries, operates around 45 production facilities and employs a diverse and dedicated workforce of about 6,000 people.