Cocoa is the seed of the cacao tree (Theobroma cacao), a tropical plant that typically belongs to the equatorial regions of America. Hence, they are abundantly dried and fermented to produce cocoa liquor, which is a key raw material for manufacturing chocolates. It is evaluated that approximately more than 40% of the global cocoa is utilised just to make chocolates. Thus, growing demand for chocolates, especially among kids across the globe, is expected to increase the demand for cocoa. The Covid-19 pandemic has also significantly boosted the food and beverage industry as the food consumption considerably surged during the lockdown. The prevalence of intermittent lockdown during the pandemic enforced people across the globe to stock up their food supplies at once to avoid redundancy in purchasing essentials.
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End products such as cocoa butter and cocoa powder are produced from cocoa liquor. Thus, cocoa butter, cocoa liquor, and cocoa powder are extensively used in the food industry for numerous applications. They are widely used to make confections, and also used as fillings in the bakery. These constructive cocoa products are also used as flavouring in beverages and as toppings in various food items. Apart from that, cocoa has tremendous applications in the healthcare, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and nutraceutical industries as coloring and flavoring agents. Due to the tantalizing fragrance and flavor of cocoa, it is also widely used to manufacture toiletries. These extensive and surging applications of cocoa across several industries is expected to drive the growth of the global cocoa market in the coming years. According to the report published by Allied Market Research, the global cocoa market is expected to reach $15,501.1 million by 2027, registering a CAGR of 4.3% from 2021 to 2027.
Remarkable Trends in the Cocoa Industry
Surge in Bean-to-Bar Concept and Single-Origin Products
There has been a growth in the demand for bean-to-bar and single-origin chocolate products, especially in Europe. Bean-to-bar is a concept in which a maker takes a full control over the production process, from purchasing high quality cocoa beans to the formation of chocolate bar. It enables an adequate number of producers to add appreciable value to their cocoa production. There has been a significant surge in the number of European bean-to-bar makers in the last few years. The bean-to-bar segment is famous for its single-origin offer since these chocolates attract immense sales and provides a supreme product satisfaction among consumers.
Thus, numerous retailers have initiated an extensive range of single-origin private label chocolates. For instance, Delicata, a private label brand of Netherlands-based Albert Heijn, offers high-quality chocolates from Peru, Tanzania, Costa Rica, Uganda. E-Leclerc, a French hypermarket chain, also introduced its chocolate collection called ‘L’origine du goût’, which is prepared from Nicaraguan single-origin cocoa.
Addition of Extra Flavonoids to Maximize Health Benefits
Cocoa contains flavonoids, a class of polyphenolic secondary metabolites, that are associated with tremendous health benefits including enhanced blood vessel health, lowered blood pressure, improved cholesterol levels, and others. Dark chocolates provide the greatest number of health benefits due to the high flavonoid content in it. Consumers across the globe, especially after the pandemic, have become increasingly conscious about their health and the quality of products. Thus, prominent chocolate brands are adding extra flavonoids to their bars to enhance their health perks.
For instance, Barry Callebaut, a dominant manufacturer of cocoa products, collaborated with a U.S.-based manufacturer FlavaNaturals to launch Flavabars. This delicious line of chocolate bar contains 500 mg cocoa flavanol content, which is five times the cocoa flavanol content of a traditional dark chocolate bar.
Addition of Natural Ingredients to Enhance Health Benefits
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In addition, some of the chocolate manufacturers have also considered adding more natural ingredients such as nuts, fruits, or vegetables to their cocoa products for optimized health benefits. For instance, Côte d’Or, a global Belgian chocolate producer, launched its product line Brut, which is chocolate bar that includes almonds, cranberries, pecan nuts, and orange.
The COVID-19 Impact on the Market
The outbreak of COVID-19 has had a considerable impact on the growth of the global cocoa market, owing to the prevalence of lockdown in various countries across the globe. In-home consumption of chocolate among consumers surged subsequently during lockdown as they increasingly stocked up chocolates and snacks, among other consumables in supermarkets and hypermarkets. Thus, the demand for traditional chocolates surged expeditiously, leading to higher volume sales.
On the other hand, the demand for premium sector of chocolate plummeted during the pandemic, leading to low sales volume due to supply-side apprehensions regarding certification and quality. In addition, stringent social distancing norms imposed by the government led to large scale closure of cocoa manufacturing units across the globe during the pandemic. However, the market is expected to recoup and become more stable when all the strict restrictions are eased off, across both exporting and importing countries.
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