From chocolate bunnies to candy chicks, this year is set to be a bumper year for Easter treats as according to new research from Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD) launches of new seasonal Easter chocolate products have increased 19% over the past 12 months.
While there has been an explosion in Easter chocolate innovation, the same is not true for chocolate innovation as a whole; it’s remained virtually unchanged increasing just 1% over the last year. Innovation for seasonal chocolate as a whole increased 5% over the same period. Overall, Easter innovation accounts for a sweet 41% of all seasonal chocolate launches.
When it comes to regional launch activity, the UK is officially top of the chocs leading the way in Easter innovation globally. Over the last year, the UK was responsible for an impressive one in eight (16%) Easter chocolate launches, leaving British chocolate lovers spoilt for choice. In fact, Easter innovation has come on leaps and bounds in the UK, as the number of Easter-specific launches has grown almost 40% over the past two years.
Across the globe, the top five Easter chocolate innovators are the UK (16%), France (9%), Germany (8%), Brazil (8%) and the US (6%), collectively responsible for almost half of global chocolate innovation.
Mintel Food and Drink Director of Insight Marcia Mogelonsky says, “Following several subdued years of Easter celebrations, chocolate lovers are set to enjoy an impressive array of chocolate eggs and novelties this Easter. As the world becomes more relaxed about social gatherings, celebrations will be more plentiful, sparking improved revenue for seasonal chocolates, especially those linked with an interactive component, like Easter egg hunts.
“Multiculturalism is set to grow opportunities for seasonal confectionery. Beyond the egg, there is room to broaden the range of seasonal confectionery. Increased travel, immigration and the changing dynamics of migration across the globe will expose consumers to a range of new cultures and holidays. For example, seasonal confectionery has room to grow around holidays like Eid and Diwali as consumers embrace multiple nationalities and traditions. Perhaps the earliest example of a holiday with confectionery traditions that have spread successfully is Halloween. Originally a Celtic harvest festival, it is now celebrated around the world.”
Social and environmental claims
The importance of social and environmental responsibility in chocolate is confirmed by the fact that, over the last 12 months, nearly three in five (57%) Easter chocolate launches globally carried an environmental/ethical claim up from less than half (48%) the previous year. But, while the confectionery industry continues to respond to a number of sustainability issues, consumers are not as enthusiastic about sustainable attributes. In the UK, ethical certification (9%) does not rank highly among chocolate purchase factors compared to other criteria such as a favourite flavour (37%) or interesting texture (16%). Meanwhile, a quarter (25%) of UK chocolate lovers would be enticed by recyclable packaging.
“While consumers have some concerns about end-stage sustainability—for example recyclable packaging—our research shows they are not as concerned about how the cocoa is produced. Currently, ethical certification is not as important for chocolate buyers as criteria such as a favourite flavour or interesting texture,” Ms Mogelonsky said.