The top 4 premium trends in confectionery in 2024

By Natasha Spencer-Jolliffe

- Last updated on GMT

Premium chocolatier Läderach offers its FrischSchoggi classic chocolate in milk, white and dark varieties. Image: Läderach
Premium chocolatier Läderach offers its FrischSchoggi classic chocolate in milk, white and dark varieties. Image: Läderach

Related tags Premium chocolate Premium Packaging Packaging and labeling Sustainability Chocolate Candy

Luxury, artisanal and quality collections are drawing in shoppers with a love for elevated indulgence and premiumisation. Here's what's disrupting the market

Whether bought as a gift or for themselves, the ever-popular permissible indulgence trend continues to evolve. So, too, are the flavours, textures, packaging formats and sales channels that show confectionery is premium.

In 2024, the global confectionery market will take more than half a trillion ($586.30 billion) in revenue, Statista reports​ and while confectionery as a whole is expected to grow by 5.33% every year from now until 2028, premium chocolate is set to rise by 8.34%.

Popular around the globe, North America is a particularly captive market for premiumisation trends, with consumers wanting diverse taste profiles and product varieties. With its growing young demographic, the Middle East also sees demand for premium products that capture the mix of traditional sweets with a modern twist.

Online shopping and digital engagement opportunities create a theme park for brands and buyers. With more to choose from, increased availability and the convenience of saving busy shoppers’ time, premium is a big hit online.

Top 4 trends

Here, we look at 4 of the leading premium trends in confectionery in 2024.

1. Putting a modern spin on classic confectionery content

Think luxury confectionery and bitter chocolate often comes to mind. With rising cocoa prices​ and ingredient costs, manufacturers are having to get creative with their formulations to ensure they provide high-quality confectionery and remain relevant to premium audiences.

Cellular agribusiness startup Kokomodo released its ‘high-value’ cell-cultivated cocoa powder in April 2024​. With its first product, the newcomer aims to provide a stable supply of cocoa at a time when the market is experiencing uncertainty.

Meanwhile Hotel Chocolat’s’ Exuberantly Fruity Sleekster hopes to give shoppers the chance to “celebrate fruit in all its zesty, punchy glory”. The £25.95 selection combines fresh fruit flavours with milk, white and dark chocolate in its 34-treat collection.

US-based Zaitoune Sweets which specialises in Arabic sweets and delicacies has developed its premium Turkish Delight treat. Choosing a baklava bar format, they are made with pistachio cream with a sweet and sour taste profile.

Premium brands are also combining unexpected textures. One popular route is mixing chewy nougat or smooth, silky chocolate with high-end nuts like almonds, walnuts and pistachios. Adding crunch with creamy texture elevates the overall experience—a must for the premium sector. Premium chocolatier Läderach offers its FrischSchoggi classic chocolate in milk, white and dark varieties, with nuts and fruit. At £49.50, the brand’s pouch bag packs a punch with texture, adding almonds, pistachios and hazelnuts to its products.

2. Better-for-you and dietary preferences

Artisanal confectionery makers are also elevating their premium offerings by catering to the specific dietary needs of consumers. Natural ingredients and reduced sugar in confectionery is proving popular among health and eco-conscious consumers. Made for vegan confectionery consumers, Kakoa has created a 24-piece premium chocolate collection, called Vegan Iconic. The selection, which plants seagrass with every order, says it offers the UK’s biggest selection of vegan chocolate flavours.

Added fibre, protein and gut health benefits are also pushing functionality​ in confectionery, presenting new opportunities for premium brands to elevate their offerings with high-end ingredients and storytelling. EatProtein has developed its premium confectionery product, Chocteaser snack balls, which are high in protein, low in sugar.

CassPea-Chocolate-21
Luxury chocolatier CassPea has created a box of 15 handmade luxury crafted chocolates. Image: CassPea

3. Tapping into occasion eating

Celebrating special occasions and at-home fine dining were transformed during Covid-19, forcing brands to become inventive with their confectionery offerings. Calls for imaginative and delectable sweet treats haven’t gone away, with occasion eating a popular way to appeal to premium shoppers.

Luxury chocolatier CassPea has created a box of 15 handmade luxury crafted chocolates in bold colours, premium mirror glaze finish and unique flavours including banana caramel, chestnut, vanilla and whiskey and olive oil.

Belgian praline creator Neuhaus has targeted the luxury gift-giving market with its premium offering, The Timeless Masterpieces Ballotin. The 1kg worth of chocolate contains 88-luxury treats and costs £114.

Afternoon tea, luxury desserts and premium ingredient combinations that reflect sumptuous and indulgent eating experiences are a big win with consumers. Taking inspiration from food ‘events’ are seeing a wave of high-end products combine occasion eating in pre-packaged confectionery formats with permissible indulgence.

Luxury sweet brand, XO, has launched a 12-piece Bonbon box that captures a variety of dessert flavours including apple crumble, s’mores and passionfruit and coconut.

Luxury sweet brand, XO, has launched a 12-piece Bonbon box. Image: XO
Luxury sweet brand, XO, has launched a 12-piece Bonbon box. Image: XO

4. Perfecting the premium package

Less really is more with premium, high-quality and artisanal products. If shareables signal mass mainstream confectionery eating, for premium, it’s single-serve packaging and small gift boxes. Mini bar libraries like Montezuma’s or Coco are popular formats as are pouches like Kopper's new-for-2024 Chocolate Pastel Chocolate Jelly Beans.

With value big on the agenda, shoppers are paying even closer attention to the quality of ingredients, provenance and the overall package when deciding whether or not to buy premium confectionery. Brands are transforming their content, textures, claims and channels to appeal to premium-seeking shoppers.

It’s not only the literal packaging itself that brings in the premium crowd but also how it’s promoted. Limited editions that tap into seasonality when selecting flavours are also proving popular. Sweet brand Candy Kittens has teamed up with Surreal Cereal to create a limited edition bundle. The duo aim to reimagine wild strawberry gourmet sweets in cereal and give consumers a new high protein, zero sugar, gluten free breakfast option.

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