Over the past decade, the chocolate industry continues to flourish and one of the trends that drives the sales up is the increasing awareness of the health benefits of certain types of chocolate. Also, the popularity of this treat outside America and Europe is growing, particularly in Asia and Australia.
Chocolate, today, has been considered an “affordable luxury”. More and more shops and businesses offer high-quality chocolates at an affordable price range, allowing more people to enjoy this fine treat.
Top Chocolate Trends in 2020
Here are just a few chocolate trends that emerged in the past years.
1. “Dark Milk”
We are all aware of the distinct characteristics of both dark chocolate and milk chocolate, however, chocolate called “dark milk” is becoming a trend recently.
Compared to the origins, dark milk chocolate has 40-50% of cacao solids. Milk chocolate has about 30% while dark chocolate has a higher percentage of cocoa products.
Chocolate lovers say that this type has a deeper cacao flavour but without the bitterness of dark chocolate. This creation just proves that chocolate consumers are expanding and the tastebuds of people want to explore more unique flavours.
2. Sustainable Packaging
Chocolate brands that support the environment and sustainability are getting the attention of the consumers.
Sustainable and recycled packaging is a popular trend in the market today. Aside from the initiatives from supermarkets, food producers including chocolate manufacturers find solutions that can still deliver convenience foods with a shelf life despite the use of recycled materials.
The use of compostable plant-based materials to package chocolates and other edible products is a huge step in the right direction.
3. Unique Chocolate Flavours
Similar to the invention of “dark milk” chocolate, chocolate consumers are getting more adventurous on the flavours they want to taste.
Chocolate manufacturers began to take risks and create extreme and unique flavour selections that can be enjoyed by more types of chocolate eaters.
Today, aside from nuts, chocolates are mixed with spices, edible floral products, or unique flavoured fruits. Also, because of the rise of local chocolate producers, the diversity of flavours from local produce mixed with high-quality chocolate are getting the attention of the market.
4. Brands with Personality
This generation of consumers values their identity and personality. Thus, they like chocolate products that feel personal and special. They patronize brands that reflect their beliefs and values.
Today, more than just the product, consumers look into the brand identity. This also opened an opportunity for businesses to transform chocolate from universal to extraordinary.
5. Healthier Options
Another growing trend especially for millennials is having healthy alternatives to the food they usually consume. Healthier pasta, burgers, drinks, and even chocolates are all in the market now. Today, most consumers are looking for products that are of high quality and can help them maintain their chosen lifestyle.
Thus, there are a lot of new “healthier” chocolate brands emerging claiming that they offer raw, organic, or refined sugar-free products. And the market loves it. Consumers look at these new brands as slightly better and less-guilty to bite into.
Health Benefits of Chocolates You Should Know
Speaking of healthy, here are just a few of the known health benefits of chocolates. Forget about all the myths about chocolates and how it can ruin your diet. This list will prove that you can indulge in chocolate guilt-free.
1. Contains Antioxidants
Antioxidants are a group of natural food chemicals such as flavanols, polyphenols, and catechins that fight free radicals in our bodies. What are free radicals? These toxins trigger aging processes, development of chronic disease, and could cause cancer.
With these facts, eating chocolates can have a positive effect on humans.
The cocoa tree is packed with antioxidants that are transferred to all sorts of products that come from it. People claim that cocoa trees might be one of the highest sources of antioxidants.
However, it is important to note that the antioxidant component is located in the non-fat part of the cacao beans which means cacao powder and good-quality dark chocolate are the best, highest-antioxidant forms of chocolate to eat.
2. Better Brain Health
Cacao has a particular component that can cross the blood-brain barrier. Flavonoids and resveratrol are neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory, these components can help in the reduction of inflammation within the human central nervous system.
3. Improves Oral Health
If you are afraid of eating chocolates because you might end up at your dentist’s clinic, you’ve been missing out on some goodies, Contrary to popular belief, chocolates are good for your teeth.
Many recent studies reveal that chocolates contribute to fighting cavities, plaque, and tooth decay. Furthermore, other research claims that a compound found in chocolates may be more effective at fighting decay than fluoride.
This compound particularly found in cocoa bean’s husk is known as theobromine which was shown to have a good remineralization potential. Thus, it is claimed to be better than fluoride. Also, it has an antibacterial effect on our body.
All these facts make eating chocolates less harmful than you thought. Aside from theobromine, cocoa beans have other components that cause tons of health benefits.
4. Maintaining Normal Blood Pressure
Some experts explain that a compound found in chocolates, flavanols interacts with the endothelium found in human arteries. This interaction cause cells to produce nitric oxide which is a good compound for our cardiovascular health.
Nitric oxide is a natural gas that helps the arteries to relax, which then relieves the resistance to blood flow and helps to lower our overall blood pressure.
However, initial trials indicate that eating chocolate alone only gives a mild impact on your blood pressure.
On the other hand, if you make eating chocolate part of an overall diet and lifestyle strategy, the perfect recommendation is to consume dark chocolate because it has better health benefits and could help you in maintaining good heart health.
5. Mood and Energy Booster
Chocolate contains a wonderful chemical that helps in stimulating all those feel-good endorphins that wake up your body, boost your energy, and improves your overall mood.
The chemical is known as phenylethylamine which mimics the sensation of falling in love within your brain, and might even boost serotonin production. Not only your taste buds are satisfied as well as your body and your brain.
So whenever you are feeling down and sad, you might want to grab a good-quality chocolate bar to better your mood.
The chocolate industry is not exempted on changes and trends. Chocolate producers shall continue to innovate and create new treats out of chocolates as well as seek new flavours that could match the natural taste of chocolates.