Sir: A combination of the downturn, volatile raw material costs and increased price promotions have squeezed chocolate manufacturers’ margins in recent years, meaning NPD among the big boys has been about as exciting as Sex and the City is to a toddler.
Yes, there were new sharing bags, new pack-sizes and various chocolate co-branded mash-ups but this wasn’t exactly the awe-inspiring, boundary-pushing choccy genius that the category needed.
Furthermore, when the raw material in question is cocoa - one of the most adored, loved, and worshipped foodstuffs in the world, it seemed a bit crazy to me that NPD focused on packaging. Then again, I started manufacturing chocolate in Madagascar, so I will let you judge who’s crazy.
The good news for chocolate lovers as seen in last week’s Focus on confectionery (‘Opposite attract’, p71) is that there is a definite growth in flavour, taste and texture-centred NPD with new trend ingredients and techniques coming to the fore. This appetite for adventure is creating a real buzz and helping to put cocoa and the craft of making chocolate on the pedestal again.
Brett Beach, co-founder, Madécasse