Barry Callebaut has identified four trends set to influence the North American chocolate market in 2022.

The company recently released its third “Top Chocolate Trends” report. In addition to covering North America, reports are also available for Europe, Latin America, and the Asia-Pacific region.

"As the leader in chocolate and cocoa, we have a unique perspective on the latest consumer insights and innovation in chocolate confectionery,” said TJ Mulvihill, v.p. of marketing, North America. “We are excited to help fuel growth for leading brands and manufacturers by responding to these trends.”

Indulgent Moments

As the pandemic continues, consumers are turning to indulgences to seek happiness, pleasure, and to celebrate. Chocolate is one of the first places they look to indulge — Barry Callebaut found 65 percent of U.S. consumers agree that chocolate is their favorite indulgence and 70 percent choose chocolate for their celebrations.

Good for Me

The COVID-19 pandemic had many consumers turning to healthier alternatives to their favorite treats in an effort to boost their immune systems, a trend Barry Callebaut spotted in 2021. Wellbeing is a priority for North American consumers, and citing data from FMCG Gurus, Barry Callebaut reports that 71 percent say that they are actively trying to improve their diet. 

Though they are looking for healthier options, consumers don’t want to compromise on taste. Just over 60 percent (61 percent) wish there were healthier chocolate options, products that deliver the same quality of taste but have reduced sugar, are plant-based, or are all-around good for their body. 

Chocolate I Trust

When consumers are choosing their next chocolate indulgence, they want something that won’t harm the environment. With the state of the environment looming over the minds of 80 percent of North American consumers, according to FMCG Gurus, sustainable chocolate is a must, and consumers trust products that clearly communicate sustainability or transparency. 

Taking New Forms

As more people are staying home — whether for work or at-home celebrations — snacking has become more common. To keep up with the demand for snacks, companies are creating new chocolate formats and categories. Mintel reports that 42 percent of consumers say that trying new snack flavors adds excitement to their everyday routines, especially when the flavors fit the season, such as pumpkin spice in the fall or peppermint in the winter. 

“This year's Top Chocolate Trends were developed by our team of chocolate segment experts and is inspired by data and insights from our own primary research, as well as data obtained from multiple leading industry sources,” said Jenna McFarland, consumer and marketing insight manager. “This report demonstrates Barry Callebaut's thought leadership and deep understanding of the chocolate consumer and marketplace.”