Barry Callebaut has dived into what consumer preferences will dictate the chocolate markets in 2024. Barry Callebaut sees consumers responding in two ways to the rise in the price of chocolate during the past few years.

Fifty-four percent still prefer to purchase premium, high-quality chocolate. Even with higher prices, consumers are still choosing to treat themselves with small luxury items like chocolate. Among Barry Callebaut’s 11,974 survey participants in August 2023, 74% said they want to try new chocolate experiences, and 65% of consumers prefer chocolate confectionery that has multiple textures.

Unique, rare and seasonal chocolate, like limited editions, are all drivers of the types of chocolate consumers are seeking. Seventy percent of consumers want unique, exciting chocolate with multiple flavors and textures. Fifty percent will buy limited editions on impulse and 64% seek premium chocolate, according to the study.

The “healthy indulgence” trend includes consumers interested in the health of the planet and their own health. Seventy-five percent of global consumers agree chocolate needs to taste good, be “good for me,” and good for the planet, the study said. Seventy-seven percent of consumers want chocolate with less sugar, 41% are trying to limit their sugar intake, and 10% are avoiding sugar all together.

Consumers also are seeking more natural and authentic ingredients, the study found. Approximately 54% of consumers prefer pure chocolate without artificial flavors or colors, while 66% are interested in chocolate confectionery that contains what they consider unhealthy ingredients, the study said. Vegan or plant-based chocolate confectionery options are gaining interest among 41% of consumers. Sixty-nine percent of consumers are interested in chocolate with healthy ingredients, 74% want snacks that are nutritious and energizing, and 71% want chocolate that supports their mental health, the study said.

For the fourth consecutive year, Barry Callebaut has researched the top chocolate trends and deep-dived into what consumer preferences will shape the global and regional chocolate markets in 2024 and beyond. The research involved consulting with leading chefs worldwide.

Chocolate confectionery is a significant market, expected to be worth over $128 billion US in global retail sales by the end of 2024. With a volume growth of +2% over the next 5 years to 2027, it is also a dynamic market. 

Research suggests that half (54%) prefer to purchase premium, high-quality chocolate. This means consumers continue to treat themselves by celebrating and escaping the ordinary experience by purchasing small luxury items, such as premium and high-quality chocolate.  

Conversely, nearly 7 out of 10 consumers (66%) are looking for better value for their money. This group is also looking for ways to get more for their money, such as buying in bulk, taking advantage of economies of scale, or switching to private-label brands.

Celebrating life

Consumers look for Intense Indulgence when they want to enjoy life to the fullest. They want immersive experiences. Based on the proprietary research:

3 out of 4 consumers (74%) want to try new and exciting chocolate experiences.

Two-thirds (65%) of consumers prefer chocolate confectionery that has multiple textures.

Consumers want unique, rare, seasonal, and premium chocolate, especially limited editions. 50% will buy limited editions on impulse, and 64% seek out premium chocolate.

“When I am creating an innovation, I always start from a shape that I find attractive. This way, I build up my concept & story. It is key to create simple concepts, but unique products with nice exclusive esthetics, unusual shapes and good taste,” says Miquel Guarro, pastry chef from Barcelona.

Consumers perceive chocolates with a unique story about their origin or production as being of higher quality. According to our research, 61% of people appreciate brand storytelling, and the same percentage actively seeks out seasonal chocolate confectionery.

Indulge with health

The Mindful Indulgence trend is for consumers who want to indulge without compromising their physical and mental well-being, the health of others, or the planet.

Research shows that 3 out of 4 (75%) of global consumers agree that chocolate needs to be tasty, “good for me,” and good for the planet, the triple play.

Most consumers (77%) want chocolate with less sugar. 41% are trying to limit their sugar intake, and 10% are avoiding it altogether. Meanwhile, sugar reduction is an established proposition. Chocolates making most of the cacaofruit are emerging.

“People will always want to treat themselves. Also people with specific dietary preferences still want to enjoy their chocolates. Especially in cities, there is a rising demand for chocolate that fits dietary preferences, such as celiac-friendly, dairy-free and sugar-free,” comments Lauren V. Haas, chef chocolatier from Las Vegas.

At the same time, consumers are increasingly interested in natural and authentic ingredients, as well as products that are free from artificial additives and have simple ingredient lists. More than half (54%) of consumers prefer pure chocolate without e-numbers or artificial flavors and colors.