Posted: April 19, 2021

Unwrapping what consumers desire in their chocolate products.

Gold foil, ornate labels, and an intriguing backstory are product characteristics highly desired by premium chocolate consumers, according to food science researchers in the college.

The study is one of the first to thoroughly research what American premium chocolate consumers find to be desirable attributes in their chocolate bars.

While participants responded favorably to every sample presented, they focused more on extrinsic cues, such as packaging, rather than intrinsic cues, such as flavor, to judge product quality. For example, almost all consumers were wowed by the craft chocolate sample's intricate label design and thick gold foil.

"The U.S. craft chocolate market is estimated to be worth $100 million and growing," said Allison Brown, food science doctoral candidate. "However, many companies are small startups with few employees. They do not have marketing teams to guide their brand strategies. Our findings will help them make decisions that could have a large impact on their businesses."

--Amy Duke