http://homescope.ca/biggest-sales-drop-this-year/ With a whopping 50% of snack sales, the average European consumer has a sweet spot that deserves a greater purpose than previously attributed to it. Snacking is more popular in 2018 than any year before it. Skipping meals and snacking (no matter the time of day), has entered the mainstream of our lives with 60% of us admitting to having a snack instead of a meal. We would rather skip breakfast (48%) and miss lunch (64%) and have a snack, with this especially being true of young women (30%). These numbers go to show that our hectic routines in and outside of work and the expectation to do everything straightaway has led to a more functional role with food in our lives, with our inability to relax and have a proper meal.
But it’s also become more competitive
On the back of this, snacks are about to experience a tidal wave of success – if they can surf it. Whilst this category is maturing and becoming more functional, it’s also becoming more popular with the average Brit snacking on a variety of treats around seven times a week. One of the key observations of snacking in recent years has been that snacking is no longer seen as an indulgent taboo and snacks are seen more and more as an essential fuel. But with opportunity for growth comes a list of new challenges – one of which is a need for clarity.
This clarity is not just of the consumer – but also of their different demands. If their pallet is reflective of their identity, then the drivers are forcing previously unknown areas to emerge and finding popularity within these areas. Love Cocoa (owned by James Cadbury) is a good example of this. As the first chocolate brand in Europe to launch a vegan avocado flavoured bar last year, we can see a hunger for a more varied chocolate display mirroring our diverse taste demand. Many new brands are emerging and making the marketplace even more competitive as a result of this. This makes it harder and harder for bigger brands to stand out.
According to Bell flavours, this is reminiscent of what we have seen in the craft movement overall. Bell sees the largest impact of which coming from “culinary innovations, with inspiration coming from gourmet cuisine, foodservice or current food and drink trends’.
But what does this mean for chocolate?
But what does this mean for chocolate? In this heavily urbanised, compact and stressful world – a chocolate snack is the perfect medicine. More than medicine, chocolate is fast becoming synonymous with liberation. This provides chocolate with an opportunity to capitalise on the deeper meaning and purpose it enshrines.
We are already starting to see vibrations of the above. Cadbury’s recent advert depicting a hard working mum and he daughter is indicative of this. Not only is her life taken up by work, looking after her daughter, but it’s also her birthday and she has no time to celebrate. Luckily for her, her daughter remembered that a little indulgence here and there is also essential to the vitality in our lives. Although she doesn’t have much, she gives everything she has for this bar of chocolate to alleviate her mother’s tireless workload.
Some brands are responding to this
Some brands are already responding to this. Some have created a façade in the pursuit of trying to look quirky and relevant to a new generation. Whilst others have veered toward founding stories to find purpose and it’s clear where strength has been found. This strength isn’t just in the way that a Cadburys or a Nestle portrays the role of a chocolate bar, but also in the way they present their idea. The craving for a real brand, for a real person, tied to an honest narrative is the perfect platform for a chocolate brand to build on.
And this is the opportunity
These chocolate brands and more need to rethink the role they play in people’s lives and then consider how their purpose can appeal to the modern consumer through their communications. This story can echo through the ingredients of their bars, the functional position they serve and in the pillars of their communications. Chocolate has always represented the requirement for fun and treating in our lives, but our lives have changed. Fun and treating has become a necessity in our lives as they have become more stressful and congested.
Chocolate can serve as the fundamental dose of necessary relaxation in an intense world full of noise. It’s time for chocolate to grow into this fresh definition and its time for chocolate brands to start shouting about it.