What’s New and Trending in Chocolate

21 Mar

I admit I’m not a regular reader of Confectionary News. The international publication, part of the William Reed Business Media group and based in the United Kingdom, covers the world of sweets and candy worldwide on a daily basis, and much of their content is technically beyond my understanding or outside my relatively localized interests. But a recent article on up-and-coming trends in chocolate caught my attention.

Lu Anne Williams of Innova Market Insights recently presented a seminar on what’s next for chocolate consumers of the world. Some of it will sound familiar to you, but some of it will be new:

  • “Pure” is the new “natural,” with shorter lists of ingredients (I’ve got a chocolate review to follow that fits this perfectly).
  • “Green” goes with chocolate, meaning that Fair Trade, organic and Rainforest Alliance certifications will become more sought-after, for both ethical and economic reasons.
  • Location matters, not just in terms of country of cacao origin, but which specific plantation.
  • We may be getting older, but we still want our chocolate: as the senior population booms, chocolate manufacturers are paying attention to the wants and needs of the older consumers, in terms of fat, calories and nutritional value of their product.
  • Antioxidants any tasty way we can: dark chocolate, which contains a high level of antioxidants, is seen more and more as a viable part of a healthy diet, particularly for women seeking any means possible to stay young-looking.
  • Want a little protein with your chocolate: as the worldwide need for protein grows with the populations, chocolate makers are looking for new ways to use their products: in bars, cereals and other combinations.

There is likely no end to the way you can use and combine chocolate with other foods; even the choco-purists among us will usually concede to enjoying a good trail mix with dark chocolate, freshly roasted nuts and good-quality dried fruit.

I’m happy to say that my trip to New York last year proved that there are plenty of niche manufacturers, happy to make tiny batches of bars in a few varieties and sell them in limited quantities. I’m chasing down a few of those now; in the meantime, here’s two more reviews from my stash:

  • República del Cacao 75% Los Rios Single Origin: definitely a bar to savor, with citrus and floral notes from the start, and sweet notes on the end. It’s a rich bar that you can enjoy eating all of, but not at one sitting. That would spoil the fun.
  • Patric Madagascar 75%: an American-made bar, (the company is based in Columbia, MO), this bar isn’t divided into squares. Rather, it’s a single pour with owner Patric McClure’s name cut into it. A work of art to look at and to eat. This is the epitome of simple in its ingredients (cacao, cane sugar and cocoa butter), yet complex in taste. Winy, floral, slightly nutty. I wish Patric was in my kitchen, making these bars for me every day.

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