From chocolate bunnies to marshmallow Peeps, it’s set to be a bumper year for Easter treats as launches of new seasonal Easter chocolate products have increased 19% over the past 12 months, according to new research from Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD).

While there has been an explosion in new Easter chocolate product innovation, the same cannot be said for chocolate innovation as a whole, which increased just 1% over the last year. Meanwhile, innovation for seasonal chocolate increased by 5% over the same period. Easter innovation accounts for a sweet 41% of all seasonal chocolate launches.

The U.S. ranks fifth among global Easter chocolate innovators, responsible for more than one in 20 (6%) Easter chocolate new product innovations, preceded by Brazil (8%), Germany (8%), and France (9%). The Brits hold the top spot with 16% of new Easter chocolate innovations taking place in the UK.

Among overall seasonal chocolate launches, the share of ethical claims in North America soared in 2022. Over one in four (27%) seasonal chocolate launches in the US now has an ethical claim, up from 17% the year before.

“As many as two in five (41%) Americans buy Easter-themed chocolate/candy, making it the second most popular seasonal chocolate/candy following Valentine’s Day (45%). As the world becomes more relaxed about social gatherings, Easter celebrations will be more plentiful, sparking improved revenue for seasonal chocolates, especially those linked with an interactive component like Easter egg hunts," says Marcia Mogelonsky, director of insight, Mintel Food and Drink.

“Looking ahead, multiculturalism is set to grow opportunities and broaden the range for seasonal confectionery. Increased travel, immigration, and the changing dynamics of migration across the globe will expose consumers to a range of new cultures and holidays. For example, seasonal confectionery has room to grow around holidays like Eid and Diwali as consumers embrace multiple nationalities and traditions.”

Finally, while the confectionery industry continues to respond to a number of sustainability issues, consumers are not as enthusiastic about sustainable attributes. Only 10% of U.S. consumers are interested in purchasing chocolate that is considered "fair trade" (e.g. fair wages for workers). Similarly, in Canada, just a quarter (25%) of consumers are interested in purchasing chocolates that have ethical claims, while one in five (22%) are interested in purchasing chocolates that have environmental claims.

“Confectionery has many sustainability pain points. For manufacturers, the sourcing of raw ingredients leads to discussions ranging from fair treatment of workers to growing conditions. Sustainable packaging concerns include not only types of packaging materials but also a focus on how much packaging is too much. Looking ahead, manufacturers and brands must commit to more sustainable practices in a category that thrives on fun and indulgence. While consumers will continue to expect manufacturers to provide sustainably sourced products, they will also have to take action by stepping back from unsustainably produced products,” Mogelonsky concludes.