It seems even indulgence doesn’t mean quite what it used to.
A new FONA Trend Insights report says that “Healthy indulgence has grown [since 2016]. This shows the influence of the health and wellness movement. Even decadence has a health component in consumer minds.”
Specifically, the report defines healthy indulgence as “enjoying a treat with all the flavor and taste desired, without the guilt of eating something “bad” for you.” And it says that “With a 7 percent increase, healthy indulgence is now preferred by more consumers (17 percent) in just two years’ time.”
That’s especially noteworthy for the confectionery industry — which may as well be called the indulgence industry.
Does this mean candy companies should rush out and add protein to all their chocolates? I honestly don’t think so. Because, as we all know, even when people say they want healthier indulgences, they don’t always buy them. 
And classic indulgence — which the report defines as “treating yourself, sinful decadence, nothing healthy about it, no reason to feel guilty. Dessert, alcoholic beverage or your guilty pleasure of choice as a reward after a long week,” — is still in the top spot. 
Specifically, 47 percent of consumers said it was their preferred type of indulgence, ahead of Indulgence as an Experience (enjoyment of a moment, perhaps tied to events, celebrations or feeling), and Affordable Indulgence (treating ourselves without breaking the bank. Still minding our budgets, but allowing an extra purchase to bring happiness, satisfaction or comfort).
And, FONA says, “Chocolate is the first indulgence that comes to mind by 25 percent of our consumers. This is followed by cake (16 percent) and cookies (15 percent).”
The top indulgence flavors also are a staple of the candy and snack industries. 
“Chocolate peanut butter cup is the top rated indulgent flavor by our consumers. This is followed by cinnamon roll and turtle cheesecake,” FONA says.
The report also says that 39 percent of consumers are eating indulgent food/beverages two to three times per week and 30 percent of consumers are eating indulgences four to six times per week.
Although consumers are trying to at least use moderation. 
“Classic indulgence has been the top indulgence type for several years running... Whether consumers feel they earned it or just simply deserve it, treating themselves is one way to make yourself feel good and boost your mood,” FONA says. “Within this type of indulgence calories play no role, but according to 60 percent of the consumers we surveyed, portion control and the frequency of the indulgences is one way they are limiting going overboard.”
This is great news for the confectionery industry. It means that most consumers are still comfortable with a small piece of chocolate at some point during the day — regardless of how many calories it has. 
Now excuse while I combat my 3 p.m. slump with a piece of Godiva.