Halloween is around the corner. While the holiday during the pandemic was somewhat limited, millions of children are hoping that Halloween this year will be more festive than in 2020.
Of course, chocolate is a big part of most holidays, but Halloween is where the candy shines. According to a recent article, of the $1.9 billion sold in Halloween candy each year, $1.2 billion was on chocolate candy and $680 million on sugar candy.
What you should expect from your favorite chocolate brands this year
Before we get to this week’s trends, here are some funky ideas for Halloween chocolate treats (recipes included):
- Halloween Chocolate Bark. This stuff is scary good, so much fun, and really easy to make. You’ll be the Mummy of the Year. (recipe)
- Chocolate Snack Cake Bats. Made using chocolate cake rolls, these treats are certainly Love at First Bite! (recipe)
- Halloween Chocolate Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Spiders. Crunchy, peanut buttery, chocolatey goodness. These will make your Halloween party-goers Shake Their Boo-tys. (recipe)
- Halloween Pretzel Owls. Yum! Salty and sweet. These treats are a Hoot! (recipe)
Halloween aside, more than 4.5 million tons of cocoa are consumed each year, and the global chocolate industry is predicted to grow to $182 billion by 2025. That’s a massive sales number for a product that most (but not all) people consider a luxury, not a necessity. But it’s not just candy, chocolate can be found in so many other industries, including coffee, bread, cocktails, candles, soap, and many other products. Chocolate is big business, and it’s just as competitive as any other industry.
How does a chocolate brand stay on top and ahead of consumer needs for Halloween and beyond?
Consumer and market intelligence platforms like Skai are increasingly used by chocolate brands looking to keep a finger on the pulse of what is happening in the category in real-time and get ahead of the latest trends.
Skai collects more data than anyone else relevant to chocolate (social reviews, product listings, ratings, reviews, patents, etc.) so that brands don’t miss a thing. Then, we apply natural language processing so that it’s easy to extract what is happening in the chocolate category and why — and what will happen in the future. And we visualize the data in a way that makes it easy to understand for anyone from Insights, Marketing, Brand, Product Innovation, and more.
Our Chocolate Confectionery category includes data from over:
- 54,000+ products
- 300,000+ consumer discussions
- 384,000+ product reviews
- 18,000+ key opinion leader posts
- 3,000+ patents
So what is the data showing us? Let’s take a look!
- CBD. CBD products are expected to be an $18 billion industry by 2024 with CBD edibles accounting for $5.2 billion of that.
- Creamy is a chocolate texture that may never go out of style — but even long-standing trends can stay hot for a while. There was a 34% year-over-year growth (YOY) in social media buzz and a 53% YOY growth in consumer reviews for chocolate products that mention Creamy. There also were 41% more Creamy chocolate products released in the last 12 months than the previous year.
- M&Ms is the brand that has the most number of positive online product reviews for chocolate items — with 22,234 over the last two years.
- Gluten-Free. Just 685 new Gluten-Free chocolate products were released in the last year, with only 7 new patents filed in the previous five years. Additionally, the buzz has cooled down a bit with a relatively flat year-over-year growth (4%) in Gluten-Free chocolate social media posts.
- Keto has been an incredibly successful diet fad for the last decade, but its popularity is declining. Just one new patent has been filed in the previous 5 years for Keto chocolate products.
- Vegan has connections with two key consumer areas: healthy living & sustainability. But with just 11% more social media Vegan chocolate posts in the last year — and with product reviews declining 28% during the same period—it seems that consumers have moved on a bit.
- Oat Milk. One of the new trends in chocolate is what we call a cascading trend in which a popular trend in another category begins to permeate into other sectors. In this case, Oak Milk is pretty hot and has made its way into the chocolate industry.
- Antioxidant is an often reported nutrient benefit of dark chocolate. There has been a 73% growth in new Antioxidant chocolate products in the last year.
- Allergies & Sensitivities is something Key Opinion Leaders are talking a lot about with regards to chocolate. With 661 KOL posts mentioning this benefit, these experts mentioned it as the top chocolate product attribute over the last year.
Top Brands Associated with Chocolate
(by number of consumer discussions via product reviews/social media mentions)
The chocolate brand trend to watch: cognitive function
Chocolate has been a hot commodity ever since Spanish explorers brought it — and the cocoa bean — back to Europe centuries ago.
Throughout the years, its benefits on our health have ranged from immune-boosting,
wound healing, heart health, and more. Today, studies are being conducted to understand chocolate’s impact on cognitive functioning better.
For one study, the researchers had healthy participants eat the equivalent of a chocolate bar… [and then their] brains were scanned with EEG, which measures brain waves, 30 minutes and 60 minutes after eating the chocolate. “We suggest that 48g 70% cacao consumption with a concentration of antioxidant activity…is associated with subsequent [gamma wave] increase in the cerebral cortical brain,” the authors write. “We suggest that this superfood of 70% cacao (organic cocoa beans from Tanzania) enhances neuroplasticity for behavioral and brain health benefits.”
Chocolatiers are betting that consumers are willing to invest in this benefit. There has been an 800% growth in chocolate products mentioning cognitive function over the last five years. With only 74 chocolate products currently available, we will probably be seeing more “smart chocolate” on the market soon.
Personally, I’m fine with that. It will make taking my medicine a whole lot easier to remember.
To find out what’s hot, what’s not, and what’s next in your industry, please reach out today to schedule a brief demo of Skai’s market intelligence platform.