Olam Food Ingredients’ (OFI) Global Head of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability, Christopher Stewart, believes sustainability will be the primary driver of Cocoa trends in 2022. OFI is a large global supplier of Cocoa and other food ingredients such as coffee, nuts and spices.
In an article for ConfectionaryNews, Stewart explained he is confident that “the ultimate goal has to be sustainable innovation: coming up with products that are nutritious, delicious and sustainable.”
Statistics from Deloitte tell a similar story, showing that in 2021, almost a third of UK consumers chose brands with (perceived) ethical practices and values over alternatives.
With ethically marketed chocolate brands such as Tony’s Chocolonely and Ombar, making headlines in 2021, we can certainly see the spotlight shifting to take a closer look at how companies, source and produce their products.
To reinforce this point, the 2022 International Symposium for Cocoa Research theme is, ‘Innovations to Support Market Development and Promote the Sustainability of Cocoa Farming for Better Farmer Income’.
In this regard, here are five of OFI’s predicted Cocoa trends for 2022:
1. Environmental Transparency
Consumers are becoming increasingly concerned with climate change and taking actions to reduce their impact on the environment where possible. This means that brands making efforts to reduce their carbon footprint or go carbon neutral altogether could have the edge over the competition.
2. Spiced Up Flavours
Time spent in lockdown has led many consumers to experiment with exciting flavour options in their food. In particular, spices are predicted to make their way into more Cocoa-based products, from chai brownies to cinnamon-orange hot Cocoa, making for a more exotic chocolate experience.
3. Premium Quality
Along with making more ethically conscious choices, consumers also lean towards higher quality Cocoa products. Rich, indulgent flavours and textures will be a greater focus this year. Since consumer trends indicate that people are becoming more health-conscious, it makes sense that they will prefer ingredients and food products deemed higher in quality.
4. Ingredients That Pack a Punch
Descriptions that said ‘Free-from…’ was just the beginning. Reducing unhealthy ingredients and the sugar and fat content of consumables is not a new concept. However, as healthy choices become central to people’s purchasing decisions, they expect their foods to align with this principle.
In 2022 we can expect this trend to continue, with more products boasting ingredients intended to provide an array of health benefits. From bars with added protein and fibre, to plant-based sweet treats and snacks, that improve digestion, 2022 will see more ‘healthy’ ingredients listed on the wrappers.
5. Locally Sourced
As consumers have spent more time at home this past year, their purchasing habits have become more localised as well. Deloitte reports that throughout 2021 in the UK, 45% of people bought more locally-produced goods, to pursue a sustainable lifestyle. Being able to trace product ingredients back to their origins is a factor that we expect to hold more importance this year, as the focus continues to be on the environmental footprint of transportation.