Be they spiced, salted or seeded, new chocolate bars and confections to suit nearly every palate abound.Innovation’s the name of the game when it comes to this category’s growth, according to market research firm Mintel, and even leading conventional brands are developing more health-conscious combinations.
New launches such as Mars’ goodnessknows snack squares play up cacao’s natural nutritional benefits while pairing chocolate with nuts, dried fruits and other nutrient-dense ingredients to make each indulgence that much sweeter. This approach is paying off. Chocolate confectionery sales grew 16 percent between 2006 and 2011 to reach $18.6 billion, Mintel reports. Better-for-you ingredients combined with special diet considerations and third-party quality standards differentiate these next-generation chocolates. Taste, however, remains paramount.
Raw, organic, fair trade and/or vegan bars mimic longtime conventional standbys such as Snickers, Hershey’s Milk Chocolate with Almonds and Andes Mints to deliver familiar flavors with a nutritional boost.