Specialty Food Magazine

FALL 2018

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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H aving the reputation of being an 'acceptable indulgence' for almost every demographic has certainly helped keep the spotlight on chocolate—and expand the reach of specialty offerings. "Helping to drive the specialty chocolate category is the greater availability of producers who are making distinctive premium products, coupled with an increased consumer desire to try new things," notes San Francisco-based PR consultant Deborah Kwan, who has long worked with the chocolate industry. The Stats According to the 2018 "State of the Specialty Food Industry" report, produced by the Specialty Food Association and Mintel, specialty chocolate and other confectionery hit $2.4 billion in retail sales in 2017, an 11 percent increase since 2015. Mintel's "Chocolate Confectionery, U.S." April 2018 report shows dollar sales of overall chocolate confectionery notched a solid gain of nearly 3 percent to almost $18 billion in 2017 and has risen 15 percent since 2012, a strong showing for a large, mature food category with nearly univer- sal penetration. Mintel's forecast calls for an increase of 14 percent between 2017 and 2022 to $20.5 billion with specialty-premium leading that push. Nine in 10 adults have reported purchasing one form of chocolate or another in a three-month period, notes Mintel, with 93 percent purchasing 'any chocolate candy,' and 68 percent purchasing bars—either mainstream or specialty. These numbers are an indication, notes Mintel, that growth comes from increasing consumption frequency and encouraging more purchasers to trade up to premium-priced chocolate. It's consumers ages 18-34, however, who are increasing their chocolate consumption and are open to trying new f lavors. More than four in 10 in this age group report that they tend to purchase chocolate on impulse and one-third say that they always have chocolate on hand, according to Mintel's research. But there is an increased appreciation for premium chocolate. "The upper echelons of the craft chocolate movement want an incredibly skillful chocolate maker's interpretation of cacao beans of very high quality and are willing to pay for it," says Matt Caputo, president, Tony Caputo's Market & Deli, Salt Lake City, Utah. "They want to experience new origins and well-executed inclusion bars but still have high-quality cacao beans and ingredients [sourced] from excellent origins. And, while it may be a subconscious choice, the packaging has got to be sexy too," adds Caputo. The Trends Here are a few of the consumer drivers in the market. 1. A Fascination with Flavor and Ingredients " There has always been more demand for flavored inclusion choco- late over plain," notes Caputo. "And, craft chocolate makers are slowly catching on to the importance of having inclusions in the lineup as they are huge profit drivers." Salted caramel, sea salts, and nuts are still popular and f lavors like ginger, turmeric, and chili are still going strong, but consumer interest goes beyond those. "There's a good chance if someone likes an ingredient outside of chocolate, they don't mind tasting and trying it in chocolate," says Megan Giller, author of "Bean to Bar Chocolate, America's Craft Chocolate Revolution." Makers are getting creative with inclusions and consumers aren't shunning the idea of trying fun, new f lavors. "Quinoa is big," she notes. "Texture-wise, it's like an upscale Krackel bar. Who doesn't like that?" Giller notes that Fruition Chocolate Corazon Milk Chocolate Quinoa Crunch with passionfruit and lime salt is a good example of that. For consumers who consider themselves connoisseurs and adventurous tasters, savory f lavored chocolates let them experience something that may be outside of an ordinary chocolate-eating experience. "My customers in general are in-tune to the exotic f lavors of the Mediterranean," says Marisol Slater, owner of The Chocolate category spotlight Xocolatl de David Parmigiano Reggiano 62 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE specialtyfood.com

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