The New Era Of Chocolate And Nut Spreads

Friday, October 18th, 2019

The fast-growing market for chocolate and nut spreads offers manufacturers a unique opportunity to expand their business. By Marco Oomen, AAK’s Global Business Director for Chocolate & Confectionery Fats.

Remember when the kids were crazy about chocolate hazelnut spread? They still are, of course, but these days there’s a difference—they’re not the only ones reaching for the jar. Our latest consumer survey at AAK shows that 60 percent of consumers, irrespective of their ages, have been eating sweet spreads, primarily chocolate spreads. Because, today, consumers of all ages are getting a taste for sweet spreads, and they are looking for exciting new flavours, great textures and, very often, a healthy touch.

The chocolate and nut spreads trend is visible globally and Euromonitor forecasts an average year-on-year growth rate of 3.7 percent up to 2026. According to Mintel, chocolate and nut spreads represent close to 50 percent of new product launches in the European spreads’ category—and 70 percent in the Middle East & Africa, which is the sweetest region of all.  When it comes to the total value of spreads sales, Euromonitor reports that France, Germany, Italy, US and Turkey are the top five countries.


Nutrition In A Nutshell

So, what are the main drivers of this cross-generational consumer movement? One of the most significant is the growing consumer awareness of nuts as a rich source of nutrients—protein, heart-healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and fibre. On top of that comes their delicious crunch and creamy taste. Peanut, almond and hazelnut are currently the leading nut spread flavours. According to a consumer survey 2018 at AAK, 39 percent of global consumers eat spreads with a high content in nuts.

For manufacturers, successful inclusion of nuts in spread recipes can be a tricky challenge. Nut oil has a notorious tendency to separate, forming an unattractive oily surface layer in the jar. Fortunately, with the right recipe and process, this problem is easily solved.

Product development opportunities also lie in the trend towards spreads that are low in sugar- or dairy-free, or which have a clean label. Our own consumer survey 2018 at AAK has revealed that 30 percent of chocolate consumers read the ingredient list before they buy.


The Critical Choice For Success

That brings us to a critical ingredient in spread recipes—the vegetable oils and fats. Representing on average 28 percent of the total recipe, the right choice of oils and fats is essential to achieving the desired taste, texture and stability during their shelf-life. In products with a nutritional claim or clean label, the choice requires even more consideration.

This is where spread manufacturers can turn to AAK to co-develop from idea to launch the best solutions for the product. AAK’s broad range of specialty fats for spreads includes many different textures as well as non-trans, non-hydrogenated and low saturated fat options. Combined with the knowledge and expertise of the AAK customer innovation team, manufacturers can count on the range to meet sensory, shelf-life and nutritional goals.

Consumers of all ages can therefore enjoy soft and creamy spreads straight from the fridge, with no oil separation or loss of texture in warm climates—and the optimal healthy profile.

And manufacturers can enjoy prospering sales of spreads!


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