Wild to Mild - Chocolate Trend Predictions for 2024

Wild to Mild - Chocolate Trend Predictions for 2024

What's going to be the next big food trend? There's no shortage of theories and opinions. Rather than list them all, we scoured our sources - from big-time research firms to local grocery store chains - to see which trends got mentioned again and again. So, what 2024 trends are trending?

Here are the top 2024 trends we're seeing across all sources:

  • Bold colours
  • The Human Touch
  • "Little Treat" Culture
  • Flavour as Format
  • Regional Cuisines & Cross-Cultural Influences

Read on for your 2024 inspiration!

Chocolate spheres colored with Mona Lisa natural sparkling cocoa butters

2024 Colours are Bold but Natural

We’re seeing lots of love for colour in general. Bright colours catch the eye and exude playfulness. Intense hues also signal a luxurious experience and denote new flavours and innovative ideas. Look to Pantone’s Color of the Year, Peach Fuzz, for inspiration. This fresh, soft, orangey-pink is the colour of a ripe white peach; it’s fun and eye-catching while still firmly rooted in the natural world. As customers look for simplified ingredient lists and foods closer to nature, expect to see softer tones that are no less gorgeous than their artificial counterparts.

The Human Touch

The past few years' events, coupled with a rise in technology and artificial intelligence, have left people craving connection with their family and community. In their "2024 Global Food and Drink" report, Mintel states, "Scrutiny about the use of processing in the food and drink industry is intensifying." Customers are increasingly concerned about where their food comes from, and chefs and artisans are stepping into the limelight as real people behind real food.

In recent years, we have seen this trend really come to life through the popularity of, for example, “naked cakes”. Cookies no longer need to be dotted with perfectly shaped inclusions, and cakes no longer need to be frosted smoothly to perfection. Rustic or “paint-like” strokes of buttercream, or no buttercream at all, can create a cake that looks truly handmade- and, therefore, more superior.

Barry-Callebaut Bakery Trends: Next Level Indulgence
Chef Arno Ralph's 823 Hazelnut Chocolate Doughnut

Chef Arno Ralph's 823 Hazelnut Chocolate Doughnut

Doughnuts are a great on-the-go indulgence!

The Rise of "Little Treat" Culture

Consumers are seeking out small moments of delight in their days, whether as a boost to get through a challenging day or as a reward for navigating a difficult situation. While that diificult situation may simply be an ordinary Tuesday, we’re all seeking out a little more comfort and happiness, and small, indulgent treats are our go-to. Mintel’s recent report, “Trending Flavors and Ingredients in Desserts and Confections,” revealed that most consumers do not report feeling guilty when they eat indulgent foods, and 41% even believe these foods are good for the soul. The convenience of single-serving and fun to-go snacks cannot be overstated, and don’t neglect the details! Customers are also looking for value in their treats, and a thoughtful garnish or planet-friendly ingredient adds a touch of luxury and speaks volumes about the quality of your product.

63% of German consumers say that treating themselves helps them to cope with current crises

Mintel 2024 Global Food & Drink Trends
Lemon Meringue Filled Cookies by Chef Mark Tilling

Lemon Meringue Filled Cookies by Chef Mark Tilling

Flavor as Format

Nostalgia continues to hold sway with consumers. While there are traditional items that have always been top sellers, the allure of the new cannot be denied. So, how do you offer a classic favourite that’s also completely new? A challenge, to be sure! One that is being answered with creative translations of favourite flavours into never-before-seen formats such as birthday cake bonbons or hot cocoa cookies. Recreating a nostalgic item in a different format can be challenging, but the effort can pay off. 

Regional Cuisines & Cross-Cultural Influences

Food continues to offer us a way to experience other cultures without the hassle or expense of travel, and customers looking for new flavours and innovative products are eager to explore new cuisines in the comfort of their hometowns. According to FMCG Gurus' 2023 report, "Flavor, Color & Texture in North America," 81% of North American consumers expressed a desire to try new flavours from around the world.

Harking back to the "Flavor as Format" trend, this an excellent opportunity for chefs and chocolatiers to explore regional desserts as flavours - tiramisu tablets or churro cupcakes. Ingredients like Sicilian lemon, saffron, matcha, lychee, dulce de leche, coffee, and passion fruit can add global flair to standard favourites.

Ideas For Adding International Flair