Author Laura Remory

Product Communication Manager
Photo by Puratos

What are today’s drivers for chocolate consumption? Is cocoa sustainability at play? To answer these questions, and many more about consumers’ behaviors, WCF-member Puratos has conducted an international research project in collaboration with Ipsos. Taste Tomorrow is the world’s largest bakery, patisserie and chocolate consumer survey, conducted in 40 countries* to gather opinions from over 17,000 consumers. The results? While taste remains the number one driver for buying chocolate and patisserie, the research shows that consumers are looking for more and more added value in their food. Food choices, lifestyle and ethics are more closely linked than ever.

Taste is King

Consumers today are looking for a clear added value. Seventy-nine percent of European consumers are willing to pay more for hand crafted products. But when it comes to buying chocolate or patisserie, taste remains the most important factor across the globe. Sixty-five percent of European consumers expect food to become even tastier in the future, but it goes further than that. Consumers want to be wowed by all their senses: a feast beyond the eye is essential to create a sensorial delight. Taste is king, but the experience provided is queen.

The Power of Cocoa

More than ever, consumers want to live a healthier life. Not only do they want undesirable ingredients to be removed, they also want ingredients added that can contribute to better health. The “coolness” of cocoa has grown. Compared to 2016, perception of cocoa as a healthy ingredient has gone up in Europe. The awareness of cocoa benefits has also increased. Now nine out of 10 European consumers consider that cocoa contributes to the tastiness of chocolate, and nearly seven out of 10 believe it has a positive impact on their health. So, with cocoa’s sexy image, it is not surprising that, in Europe, the percentage of cocoa is in the top three buying criteria for chocolate. Other “power” ingredients for chocolate are fruit fillings, nuts, and superfruits.

Perception of cocoa as a healthy ingredient has gone up in Europe
In Europe, 65% of consumers agree that “I am what I eat, and I choose my food carefully”

The Conscientious Consumer: Food as a Way of Life

‘Taste Tomorrow’ shows that European consumers increasingly want to make ethical food choices, based on their personal values and the interest of the planet and the people living on it. These consumers highly value quality, information on the origin of ingredients, authenticity of the recipe, and look for sustainably produced products. It’s about food with a human touch. In Europe, 65% of consumers agree that “I am what I eat, and I choose my food carefully”.

Responsible eating goes beyond the personal benefit: consumers now care for other people too.  They feel it’s important that farmers receive a fair price for their work. One in four consumers buy products corresponding to a ‘responsible eating’ ethos weekly and 32% expect to do it more in the future.

Cacao-Trace: From Trend to Solution

With transparency and sustainability as the next added value trends, and taste as the number one decision factor for buying chocolate and patisserie, Puratos’ Cacao-Trace offers chocolate lovers a solution. This sustainable cocoa sourcing program aims for chocolate with superior taste. Based on years of research, expert fermenters set new criteria for the fermentation process in local post-harvest centers spread across the world. The focus on superior tasting chocolate contributes directly to better living conditions for Cacao-Trace farmers and their communities. Besides individual training, cocoa farmers receive a quality premium for higher quality beans and on top, every year they receive an additional Chocolate Bonus coming from the sales of Cacao-Trace chocolates, which can add up to an additional one or two months of salary.

*Canada, Mexico, USA, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, Iran, Kenya, South Africa, UAE, Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam