The gift of chocolate
With some 81 percent of American consumers eating chocolate, the future outlook for the US chocolate candy market is bullish, according to a new report by Packaged Facts. By 2018, US sales of chocolate candy in the US will exceed $26 billion for the first time, up from roughly $22 billion in sales estimated by the end of 2015.
For retailers and artisan shops, there’s never been a better time to get into the chocolate business or expand existing sales with chocolate gifts that customers can buy as holiday gifts for friends and family.
Most important, the chocolate category is quite dynamic: with a strong pace of innovation, an influx of creative new players and a steady flow of new products that engage consumers. Several factors support a continued growth curve for the market, according to Packaged Farcs. One, the market has continued growing despite the economic climate, underscoring consumer devotion to the product.
Further, the growing perception of the product as an accessible luxury creates many opportunities to trade the consumer up to premium products. Finally, a growing body of research supports the status of cocoa as a superfood, with multi-dimensional nutritional benefits. This positive halo around chocolate enhances its image as a guilt-free indulgence, and can ultimately drive more consumption.
In the spirit of innovation and unique flavor profiles, Nicolas Cloiseau, master chef of La Maison du Chocolat, has introduced a savory chocolate collection featuring surprising pairings of chocolate and vegetables. Examples include Hazelnut praliné with porcini mushrooms, ganache with caramelized onions, dark ganache with red pepper, and Praliné with black olives and olive oil.
La Maison du Chocolat, the iconic French chocolatier, celebrated its 25th Anniversary in New York City in late October with La Nuit du Chocolat, a celebration open to the public coinciding with the reopening of its flagship boutique at 1018 Madison Avenue after a major renovation. The new boutique is the first of the company's worldwide locations to feature a new design concept and tearoom.
Nora Hovanesian-Mann, US director of operations for the company, calls it “the perfect time to renovate the boutique after 17 years since its opening. We are thrilled this exciting project also coincides with the 25th Anniversary of La Maison du Chocolat in the United States."
La Maison du Chocolat currently has six freestanding boutiques in the New York / tri-state area. The company has transformed the world of chocolate by introducing vibrant creativity inspired by the vision of founder Robert Linxe, who changed the way chocolate is savored and enjoyed. Respect for tradition, fresh interpretations of a proud heritage and exploration of new taste experiences all guide master chocolatier Cloiseau, who is holder of the prestigious title of Meilleur Ouvrier de France (Best Craftsman in France) and who has applied his inventiveness to La Maison du Chocolat's creations since 2012.
In other store openings, Godiva Chocolatier has partnered with New York's most iconic department store, Macy's, to open its newest boutique just in time for the holiday season. The recently opened destination boasts a new design concept that encourages an exciting and shareable chocolate journey.
Located on the 6th Floor of Macy's Herald Square, the state-of-the-art shop features exquisite displays including the largest chocolate case in North America where shoppers can create their own bespoke assortment of chocolates. "It has been a truly special partnership with the Macy's team," said Linda Lombardi, global head of store design for Godiva.
Chocolate enthusiasts can taste Godiva’s entire product offering including soft serve, freshly-dipped strawberries, as well as seasonal specialties perfect for the giving season. Additional items include an expansive presentation of iconic gift boxes fitting for anyone on a holiday gifting list.
World Chocolate Master
On the super-premium side of the chocolate business, valuable lessons can be learned from the top chocolate masters in the world.
The World Chocolate Masters, an initiative of Cacao Barry, one of the gourmet brands of the Barry Callebaut Group, recently crowned Vincent Vallée from France as the newest World Chocolate Master. For the next three years Vallée will wear the title of world’s best chocolate craftsman. He gets the unique opportunity to visit a cocoa plantation and his work will be displayed in the world-renowned Harrods department store in London.
“During the competition Vincent Vallée set a whole new standard for innovation and creativity,” says Jean-Michel Perruchon, president of the jury of renowned chefs and food specialists. “The title of World Chocolate Master is a tribute to the skill, ingenuity and vision he has shown during the final.”
Twenty competing chefs were welcomed on stage at Le Salon du Chocolate in Paris, France. Following a dazzling chocolate fashion show, all chefs were introduced to the crowd. Armed with whisk, spatula and tons of inspiration they battled for glory and recognition as the world’s most talented chocolate craftsman.
During round 1 chocolatiers crafted a ‘Sweet Snack on the Go’, a molded praline and an artistic chocolate showpiece. The chefs also presented their unique ‘Or Noir’-chocolate that each of them made in Cacao Barry’s OR NOIR laboratory.