Key trends driving the growth of India's rich and delicious chocolate industry

Chocolatiers are transforming the chocolate eating experience with captivating flavours and textures, and the future of India’s chocolate industry looks bright – and delectable!
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Chocolate makes you happy – and that’s a fact. The aromatic, decadent, and melt-in-the-mouth texture of chocolates can make anyone go weak in the knees. In fact, just the robust signature scent of dark chocolate coupled with sweet and chewy raisins or roasted coffee can give you cravings that don’t go away until you bite into some rich, creamy chocolate.

The Indian chocolate industry is working to make all your chocolate-filled dreams come true! From crisp-coated biscuits to irresistible moulded confections and smooth-as-silk chocolate bars, the chocolate industry is more nuanced than one could imagine and is growing fast with the increased purchasing power among consumers and evolving tastes and preferences.

Let's dive into the key trends driving the growth of India’s chocolate industry:

The sweetest gift ever

Birthdays, festivals, weddings, or anniversaries – name the occasion, and there's a chocolate box for that! Chocolates are the new go-to gifting option and for a good reason. Most Indian sweets, mainly those made with khoya, have a fairly short shelf life.

In contrast, chocolates, (whether milk or dark chocolate, shelf life does not change) have a longer shelf life. With new, innovative brands offering a wide variety and range of chocolates, the popularity of chocolates in the gifting space is bound to grow.

Numerous brands are dipping into their pool of creativity and presenting exotic and luxurious gift hampers and customised chocolate treats for all special occasions. Thanks to constant evolution in the segment, assorted chocolates were found to be the fastest-growing sub-segment, comprising 42 percent of the entire space. Making celebrations sweeter, chocolates are nothing short of a heavenly gifting choice, and consumers agree!

Chocolates have always been a favoured gifting item, both for the receiver and the giver. Today, the variety of hampers available and the fact that majority of these can be customised makes gifting and receiving even more intimate and personal.

Know someone who wants to eat healthy? A hamper with chocolate-coated nuts and freeze-dried fruits would be just the thing. A coffee lover? A hamper with coffee-flavoured chocolates, coffee crispies, and a jar of gourmet coffee would make their day.

An environment-conscious friend would love hampers in a box made with eco-friendly materials like banana fibre (it could also be reused). Just think of it, and your preferred chocolatier can make it for you.

Captivating flavours and textures

When you think of chocolates today, it's not just that one blissful bar that comes to mind. Chocolatiers are transforming the chocolate eating experience with captivating flavours and textures, from something as simple as crunchy clusters with rice crispies or a bar of orange-infused chocolate to distinct flavour profiles -- such as cocoa-buttery couverture chocolate with praline offering alluring hints of cardamom, sea salt, blueberry, hazelnut, raisin, and much, much more.

Understanding the increasingly sophisticated palettes of Indian consumers, brands are continuing to experiment with chocolate, bringing delightfully refreshing sensorial delights like chocolates with a hint of chilli or chocolate and tea. Such multi-sensory experiences through chocolate are slated to boost demand further and contribute to the industry's growth trajectory.

Making snacking sweeter

After years of munching on namkeens and crisps, Indians are displaying an exciting shift in preferences. Chocolates are quickly becoming their snacking product of choice, a trend that is leading to multiple purchase cycles and an increase in consumption. But, what's led to the emergence of chocolate as a snacking option?

Here, again, the delicious diversification of offerings comes into play. Brands are bringing a volley of snack-like confectionaries such as barks, coated nuts, dragees, and more. Consumers are taking to this trend, and snacking on chocolate is here to stay. Many brands are also bringing forth variants filled with nutritious nuts and seeds, contributing to satiety without unhealthy binging.

Gone are the days when the concept of chocolate was just a journey from bean to bar. Today, not all chocolate is created equal, and not all of it tastes the same.

Brands are now looking at more options for new-age consumers, including low-fat chocolates, vegan chocolates, sugar-free chocolates, and more. With fresh innovations and hyper-growth on the horizon, the future of the chocolate industry in India is not just promising; it's delicious!

Edited by Teja Lele Desai

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)