Are Millennials Changing the Chocolate Industry?

Yes, they are, according to a new National Confectioners Association report.

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Photo by: Funwithfood ©Funwithfood

Funwithfood, Funwithfood

Will Millennials soon be blamed for ruining chocolate, too? Who knows, really, since they are blamed for ruining so many things, but a new report suggests they may have a large effect – neither clearly negative or positive -- on the chocolate industry.

“While preferences for dark, milk, and white chocolate vary widely across age groups, a new generation of Millennial shoppers is impacting the chocolate retail experience,” declared a press announcement about the report, released by the National Confectioners Association.

How so? According to the report, Millennials’ taste for high-end chocolates and innovative flavors, ingredients and textures is driving change in the industry.

“The insights show that Millennials are changing purchasing patterns for chocolate, with an above average preference for fine chocolate and likelihood for purchasing treats at supercenters, specialty/organic stores and alternative channels,” Anne-Marie Roerink, principal and founder of 210 Analytics LLC, which conducted the research, said in an industry release.

Plus, Millennials’ broader interest in health and wellness, convenience, and transparency (in terms of who made a product, how it is made and what it is made of) is transforming the way chocolate is sourced, packaged and marketed.

“Using the Millennial response as a barometer for future interest, certifications in the areas of fair trade, non-GMO, organic and responsible sourcing matter ...,” the report notes. “People and planet are two more ‘Ps’ to add to the traditional 4P marketing mix: products, price, promotion and place.”

Ingredient claims -- such as vegan, gluten-free or raw -- also matter more to Millennials than to the average consumer, according to the report.

“In line with the generation’s socially conscious reputation, we found that Millennial shoppers also demonstrate a clear preference for certifications and specific production and ingredient claims,” Roerink said.

So the next time you bite into a vegan, gluten-free, fair-market, non-GMO, ethically sourced chocolate bar, you’ll know whom to thank. (Or blame.)

Photo: iStock

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