Naveen Pessani, Technical Category Manager for Chocolate & Confectionery, ofi says: “As Halloween grows in popularity around the globe, we’re seeing product development teams moving beyond traditional confectionery and candy to bring consumers more exciting and personalized creations. From bringing a fun seasonal twist to better-for-you product lines to adding new variations to family favorite treats, Halloween is an opportunity to experiment with new flavours and switch up existing formats to surprise and delight customers.”
Autumnal flavour pairings
We’re seeing more and more Halloween-themed chocolates incorporating autumnal flavours like pumpkin spice, apple cider, caramel apple and cinnamon. We’re also seeing chili emerging as a flavour trend in European confectionery, as identified in ofi’s recent research. Manufacturers can tap into this trend and give consumers a warming seasonal twist on traditional chocolate flavours using cocoa liquor paired with spicy chili, for example.
Plant-based and alternative confectionery
With plant-based continuing to grow in popularity, it’s no surprise that brands are increasingly looking to cater to different consumer preferences and needs around seasonal holidays. For brands looking to develop plant-based treats, finding the right base is key. We’ve found that oat milk works particularly well with our cocoa powders, as its strong and distinctive flavour helps to minimize any bitter notes in the cocoa and create a well-rounded flavour profile.
The rise of seasonal home baking
We’re seeing home baking and pre-mix recipe kits rising in popularity, with more themed and seasonal options appearing on shelves. For example, the Dr Oetker spooktacular science bake and learn allows families to get into the scary season with some seasonal baking, at little effort. To help our customers reformulate traditional bakery products to give them a dark and delightful new edge, our deZaan black cocoa powder D11B offers the perfect way to add colour to home bake kits, for treats like indulgent black chocolate cookies.
Seasonal novelty formats
Increasingly companies are seizing the opportunity provided by seasonal holidays to innovate and trial exciting and experimental new concepts with consumers for a limited time period. We’ve seen limited-edition activity explode in recent years, with seasonal product launches like the Starbucks’ Spook-a-ccino Midnight Mocha Frappuccino or their Pumpkin Spice latte. We’ve experimented with spiced white chocolate, using cocoa butter with chai spices, building on the familiar cinnamon flavours.
During Halloween, the reconfiguration of nostalgic customer favourites has become more commonplace, with a rise in limited edition ranges. From Bourbon’s mysterious sour candy and Lindor’s Jack O Lantern truffles in Japan, to KitKat’s breaking bones skeleton bars in the USA. As well as flavour, cocoa ingredients can create novelty through colour to catch the eye of consumers. For example, you can create contrast using ingredients such as speciality white cocoa butter against the orange of dried pumpkin pieces.