Valentine’s Day celebrations embrace sweet treats and trendy delicacies

Olam Food Ingredients’ experts have unveiled the top chocolate, confectionery, and bakery trends defining Valentine’s Day 2024 that provide insights for manufacturers to craft irresistible offerings.

Olam Food Ingredients (ofi) says it is seeing Valentine’s Day evolving, with Gen Z and millennials redefining traditions. Many consumers are choosing to celebrate this day with friends and family members, as well as significant others. In 2023, 40% of Gen Z and 20% of millennials said they were planning to buy their friends a Valentine’s gift. And what better way to do so than with cocoa?

“As consumers change the way they celebrate Valentine’s Day – and who they celebrate with – there is an opportunity for manufacturers to develop new products. From introducing more exotic flavours in confectionery to creating more experiential formats and expanding into new categories, we’re seeing companies inventing new ways for consumers to celebrate the season of love with those who matter most to them,” Madeline Bills, cocoa innovation manager at ofi said of ofi’s experts exploring the top chocolate, confectionery and bakery trends shaping Valentine’s Day 2024.

In helping manufacturers develop new offerings to win the hearts of consumers ofi has found:

Floral flavours bloom in confectionery
More floral-inspired flavours are spreading to confectionery. ofi’s AI-powered research tool shows that floral flavours are growing in confectionery in markets around the world, from lotus in Europe, to rose in Asia. These delicate floral flavours pair with ofi’s N23N cocoa powder.

Examples of this in Singapore with Foss Chocolate’s Lychee Rose Bar, and in the UK with Fortnum and Mason’s Dark Chocolate Rose & Violet Creams, and in the US combining fruity and floral flavours with Vosges Haut-Chocolat’s Blood Orange Hibiscus Caramels, celebrating the beauty of flowers with the joy of chocolate to create a luxury Valentine’s gift.

The rise in experiential food & beverage gifting
Many consumers now say they prefer activities over physical gifts. In response, ofi expects an increase in the popularity of gifts like Hotel Chocolat’s Velvetised Chocolate Tasting Experience Gift Set or Flying Tiger’s Valentine’s chocolate fondue set. These products turn a traditional confectionery gift into an experience that can be enjoyed together.

To tap into this trend, manufacturers should consider trialling new product formats, such as a chocolate tasting board, to offer consumers an interactive and exciting Valentine’s experience that can be shared with others – both in person and on social media.

Bold and bright fruit flavours in the spotlight
This year we ofi expects to see brands introducing more unusual flavours to reflect Valentine’s colours as consumers seek out more adventurous tastes. Leonidas’ Cherry Liquor Cream Gift Box in the UK, Fu Wan Chocolate Rose Lychee White Chocolate Bar in Taiwan or Rakka’s Dragonfruit Chai chocolate in the US still create the familiar pink and red colors we all know and love, but with an exciting flavour twist.

In ofi’s recent research, ofi highlighted how manufacturers could pair Dragon Fruit with our deZaan N11N cocoa powder, to create a bright and punchy dessert or pastry filling.

Premium pastries rival confectionery
Chocolate and confectionery have long been staple Valentine’s Day gifts, but this year bakery items, including luxury pastries, could take centre stage as a different way to treat loved ones, driven by growing conversation on TikTok, with ‘Pastry’ receiving 937.5m views.

The classic croissant has earned a place in the hearts of consumers but is being refreshed with new formats and flavours that give a premium feel – from the ring shaped ‘cronut’ to the croissant cube, and flavours ranging from chocolate to pistachio and hazelnut.

of has found that its D23ZR cocoa powder blends beautifully with black sesame in a chocolate croissant, providing a new, and extra indulgent treat to share this Valentine’s Day.

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