hot trends

Hot Trends: What's Hot? ...Chocolate!

Hot Trends: What's Hot? ...Chocolate!

Smart Hustlers know to take advantage of every market opportunity. They’re always on the lookout for the newest hot trends or newest innovations. Their goal is to disrupt. This week what’s hot is chocolate.

No, we’re not talking about the creamy and delicious winter treat. Chocolate, the flavor itself, is hot—and getting hotter. Mintel, a global consumer and market research firm, predicts the global chocolate confectionery market will continue to grow this year, nearing $92 billion in sales.

Take note entrepreneurial chocoholics—this isn’t your grandmother’s chocolate—this chocolate obsession is fueled by innovative, even “outrageous” flavors. If you’re in the chocolate business or aspire to be, you might want to dip into these chocolate trends.

  • Citrus. Orange-flavored chocolate is a perennial favorite, but Mintel reports, “The number of chocolate products flavored with lemon has doubled over the past year.”
  • Veggies. Only a smart hustler would think of covering vegetables in chocolate as an in order to get kids to gobble them up. Mintel calls the trend “still niche” here in the U.S., but in Asia “edamame covered with chocolate” is expected to be a big hit (wasabi-flavored chocolate was a 2013 favorite).
  • Fruit. Forget chocolate-dipped strawberries or chocolate-covered cherries—peaches and chocolate are hotter than, well, long-time favorite peaches and cream.
  • Nuts. Chocolate and nuts (particularly hazelnuts, almonds and peanuts) have “been married” for a long time. The new “smart” combo: chocolate and pistachios (which is this year’s “hot nut”).
  • Cereal. Most kids are familiar with Count Chocula, but now adults are clamoring for chocolate mixed in their granola and muesli.
  • Florals. Eating flowers isn’t all that common in most parts of the country, but Mintel says combining florals with chocolate “is an avenue with potential.” Already some smart hustlers, like Wild Ophelia, are launching chocolate bars made with flowers, such as hibiscus blooms.
  • White hot. White chocolate is not really new on the chocolate scene, but Mintel reports “an increasing number of white chocolate launches on the market, with a lot of different and innovative fillings and flavorings.”

Chocolate has always been a popular taste treat, but its gotten particularly hot since it was proclaimed a “superfood,” meaning it’s good for us. Dark chocolate, in particular, is loaded with cacao (which is “packed with healthy chemicals like flavonoids and theobromine”) making the bean, according to Women’s Health magazine, “a disease-killing bullet.”