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Cargill: This year’s top 10 trends for cocoa and chocolate

Unconventional flavor combinations, ingredient transparency key trends for 2014.

Chocolates with front-of-pack labeling made by small business are likely to be among the best sellers this year.  Cargill chocolate

That’s according to Cargill's list of the most highly anticipated consumer food trends in 2014, which highlights the connection the trends share with cocoa and chocolate.

The research, conducted by Innova Market Insights, monitors macro trends, food sector trends, category trends and trends in the chocolate market to anticipate needs and help manufacturers delight consumers with the ultimate experience.

The 2014 trends include:

1. Waste not, want not.

The development of secondary markets for the reuse of food and by-product recycling, single-portioned and innovative packaging that will increase shelf life.

2. You can trust us.

Front-of-pack ingredient origin claims; the use of tracking codes on packaging to view where ingredients are sourced from; hormone free, GMO free and similar claims will be sought out by consumers; niches for super premium ingredients or products.

3. Simpler pleasures.

Economic climate driving consumers back to the basics, more pleasure from simple food, shift towards home cooking.

4. Look out for the small guy.

Big companies increasingly looking to smaller companies for innovative product ideas such as craft-inspired or handmade products, new ingredients or preparation methods for health benefits, flavor authenticity.

5. Health is more holistic. 

More body, mind and spiritual connections made with particular ingredients; vitamins and minerals promotion to remain powerful; health benefits from natural sources or ingredients; traditional medicine alternatives to be further explored.

6. “New” super foods. 

Regulatory pressure increases focus on fruits and vegetables; nutrition rich vegetables, fruits and seeds being rediscovered; more marketing of fruit and vegetables’ natural health attributes.

7. Rise of the hybrid. 

Established brands venturing into previously unconsidered categories; cross-branding to become more prevalent; new flavors, textures and delivery methods will continue to excite.

8. The protein horizon.

The satiety attributes of protein will grow as a marketing platform, more male specific marketing for mainstream protein products, vegetable protein to reach a wider range of consumers.

9. New stealth strategies. 

Choosing not to communicate decreased fat, sugar or salt levels; disappearances of partially hydrogenated fats altogether in the U.S. Industry giants will make pledges to lower fat.

10. Alternative alternatives.

Consumers expect more soy alternatives, “free from” product variants will continue to be launched, gluten free options will further improve the texture and taste.

Rens de Haan, webinar co-presenter

* * *

These trends were announced as part of a webinar, ‘T for Trends’, presented on Jan. 22. Conducted by Rens de Haan, marketing and communications director at Cargill, Cocoa & Chocolate, and Lu Ann Williams, head of research innovations; the webinar highlighted new hybrid products as one of the most important food trends.

Created for manufacturers working in confectionery, bakery and dairy sectors, the third webinar of its kind attracted over 1,000 participants.

 “For our customers it is important to be aware of the latest trends, so they can produce innovative and distinctive products which align with consumer demand. Through this webinar, supported by independent research, Cargill offers new perspectives and insights on the trends set to make the news in 2014”, says de Haan.

Cargill is an international producer and marketer of food, agricultural, financial and industrial products and services. Founded in 1865, the privately held company employs 140,000 people in 65 countries.

Cargill Cocoa & Chocolateoffers the food industry a wide range of both standard and customised cocoa and chocolate ingredients to be used in bakery, confectionery, and dairy applications around the world. Products include high quality Gerkens cocoa powders, chocolate including Wilbur, Peter’s and Veliche, coatings, fillings, cocoa liquors and cocoa butters.

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