Consumers’ changing attitudes to life are affecting the way they indulge. Chocolate manufacturer Barry Callebaut’s recent research showed the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on changing consumer attitudes which also ultimately lead to different types of indulgence.
This survey on consumer attitudes towards indulgence and chocolate consumption was fielded digitally in August 2021 in Brazil, China, the UK, the US and France with 420 respondents per country. Barry Callebaut also analysed data from other consumer surveys, especially from global trend agency ForesightFactory. They conduct yearly in-depth analysis in 27 markets into consumer needs, motivations, expectations and behaviors to create mega trends, consumer trends and sector trends.
The following are the main insights from Barry Callebaut’s ‘The Future of Indulgence Report’ (2022):
For many years, consumer research from Barry Callebaut showed 2 attitudes toward life: one of ‘Celebrating Life’ and the other of ‘Living Consciously’. In the past, these 2 attitudes were typically experienced separately. Recently however, the chocolate manufacturer has seen these attitudes merging. By exploring this, they have discovered a growing need for ‘Living a Symbiotic Life’. This results in 3 types of coexisting indulgence. Depending on their mood or mindset, consumers have a specific attitude towards life and that attitude will determine the type of indulgence they choose.
Bas Smit, Global VP Marketing at Barry Callebaut said, “While there will always be a need for intense and healthy indulgence, we expect consumers to live more with a soft health approach to life, increasing the mindful indulgence space. How these changes affect the indulgence landscape for the decades to come is what Barry Callebaut is focusing on.”
Celebrate life with intense indulgences
Barry Callebaut’s ‘The Future of Indulgence Report’ finds that celebrating life is about enjoying life to the fullest, turning the moment into something special and looking for intense experiences.
Celebrating life is about enjoying life to the fullest, turning the moment into something special and looking for intense experiences. Following the pandemic, one third (32%) of consumers say that they have been indulging more compared to one year ago (Barry Callebaut, 2021).. And almost two thirds (64%) of global consumers say they need to find more excitement (ForesightFactory, 2019). This mindset leads consumers to seek products that are a feast for the eyes and taste buds. When they want to celebrate or indulge, 75% of consumers choose something with chocolate in it (Barry Callebaut, 2021).
Live consciously with healthy indulgences
Consumers are making active choices that positively impact their health, other people, and the environment, as observed in a Barry Callebaut survey.
When a consumer ‘lives consciously’, they live a life that is purposeful and intentional. They make active choices that positively impact their health, other people, and the environment. For instance, half of consumers have been taking their health more seriously compared to a year ago. Moreover, 44% of consumers have been eating healthier compared to a year ago, both according to Barry Callebaut’s survey (2021). When consumers have this attitude, they seek out ‘healthy indulgences’, i.e. food for health. Out of the same survey, 70% of consumers would love a health boosting chocolate.
Live a symbiotic life with mindful indulgences
Barry Callebaut finds that consumers are seeking out ‘mindful indulgences’, choosing to live a symbiotic life by combining their soft health approach with care for the planet and its people.
A consumer might have different attitudes toward life depending on their circumstances and context. Until recently, the 2 different attitudes described above were typically experienced separately. Now, consumers find these two attitudes merging, resulting in a new outlook on life: ‘Living a symbiotic life’.
‘Living a symbiotic life’ is the sweet spot between ‘Celebrate life’ and ‘Live consciously’. Consumers combine their soft health approach with care for the planet and its people. They want to have the ability to indulge without compromising their well-being, the health of others or the planet. For instance, in 2022, 43% of consumers are influenced by general health concerns when choosing what to eat and drink (Foresight Factory, 2022). And almost three quarters (73%) are concerned about what they personally can do to help protect the environment (Foresight Factory, 2022). Compared to Foresight Factory’s research in 2021, this is an increase in all but one of the 9 markets surveyed in both years.
Bas Smit concludes, “This attitude leads consumers to seek out ‘mindful indulgences’: products that are both tasty, good for them and good for the planet. As much as 81% of consumers agree that chocolate needs to be not only tasty, but good for them too (2021). This evolution in consumer attitudes will become increasingly important in the coming years. By understanding this shift, the industry has the opportunity to unlock new opportunities in the world of indulgence.”
With annual sales of about US$7.9 billion in fiscal year 2020/21, the Zurich-based Barry Callebaut Group is the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality chocolate and cocoa products – from sourcing and processing cocoa beans to producing the finest chocolates, including chocolate fillings, decorations and compounds.