Cocoa products combine health and indulgence during COVID-19 crisis

The current COVID-19 crisis is changing consumer behaviour. The pandemic is increasing the demand for healthy products. And it is also increasing consumer desire for indulgence. This makes an interesting case for cocoa and cocoa products, as they are both healthy and indulgent.

Chocolate is popular among consumers looking for indulgence and pleasure. And cocoa is known for its health properties and benefits. Cocoa contains flavonoids, which are rich in antioxidants. Health benefits associated with antioxidants include:

  • Lower blood pressure;
  • Improved blood vessel health; and
  • Improvement in cholesterol levels.

Research also suggests that cocoa’s properties can provide stronger protection against influenza virus infection.

Indulgence and health

The European market is focussing more and more on offering consumer products that blend both health and indulgence. This trend is not new for cocoa products, but the current situation has made it even more relevant. This creates new opportunities for exporters of high-quality cocoa. The health benefits are the highest for dark chocolate due to its higher percentage of cocoa. The use of high-quality cocoa means that less sugar and other added ingredients are needed in chocolate.

A good example of a company marketing chocolate as both healthy and indulgent is the Belgian The Good Chocolate Company. Their Lavle range packaging promotes the fact that the chocolate is made from Belgian dark chocolate. It also states the health benefits of flavonoids, an EU-approved health claim.

More and more often, chocolate makers are introducing sugar-free or vegan chocolate products. These are healthier options. The Swiss Stella Bernrain produces vegan chocolates and chocolate products without added sugar.

Organic certification important in the health segment

Besides chocolate, cocoa nibs are also becoming popular in the health and indulgence market. Supermarkets and online speciality shops across Europe sell cocoa nibs. They are often marketed as superfoods and sold directly to consumers. Chefs and pâtissiers also use cocoa nibs. The Dutch chocolate maker Original Beans sells organic, single-origin nibs from Tanzania and Ecuador to this segment.

Most of the cocoa nibs sold on the European market are certified as organic. People consider organic products to be healthier, safer and of better quality. They are also associated with better traceability, an important market trend in Europe. In recent years, the European market for organic products has grown. And the COVID-19 crisis has led to a further boost in demand for organic foods. Organic certification is a competitive advantage in the health market. Still, always check what buyers are looking for and the direction the market is moving in.

Learn more about developments in the market

Visit CBI’s cocoa market intelligence page to learn more about the European cocoa market, its trends and promising target markets.

This news article was written for CBI by Gustavo Ferro and Lisanne Groothuis from ProFound – Advisers In Development.

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