In Australia today there is a wide selection of chocolatier’s, including iconic names such as San Churro and Max Brenner. However, in the midst of what seems to be a global health kick, how are these sweet treat suppliers surviving?
Whilst sales of mass-market brands such as Cadbury and Lindt may be dropping, consumption of high-end chocolate offerings is rising. Despite the perception that this health food era may dampen the success of chocolate-centric cafés, it is actually driving demand for the luxury chocolate dining experience.
A recent rise in consumers awareness of exactly what they are putting in their bodies has resulted in many opting to cut high sugar treats from their diet. This means that if they are going to treat themselves, they may as well splurge. The atmosphere & experience is the selling point that gets customers in the door of franchises such as San Churro. Even if it is only for a hot chocolate, the brand goes out of its way to make the experience feel like an indulgence, resulting in the perfect place for a sweet cheat meal.
In addition to this, they make sure their customers know that the chocolate they serve is the best of the best. This takes a little of the guilt away and allows brands to attach a premium price tag. However, despite our nation's love of chocolate, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing. Like many other companies across a broad range of industries, chocolate-centric franchises have had to adapt their offerings to meet ever-changing consumer demand.
While fitness and health food industries are seeing more consumer spending than ever, it is important that chocolate cafés look at how customers perceive their brand and adapt to fit in with consumer trends. As a result, the menus of Max Brenner, San Churro and many others have been tweaked to cater to those looking for a ‘healthier’ selection. Options such as smaller serving sizes, more dishes featuring dark chocolate (which we all know is the healthiest of the bunch), and the inclusion of more fruit, have won over consumers.
Although, this is not the only challenge that has been faced by such brands. Along with the rise of the health conscious consumer, has come the rise of dietary requirements. Now more than ever consumers are calling for gluten free, dairy free and vegan options to be widely available. As chocolate commonly features dairy, and other sweet treats offered likely contain gluten, you may think this could cut out a large portion of the market. However, stores are striving to be more inclusive in their offerings, stocking the fridge with almond milk and swapping out for gluten free alternatives.
Clearly, despite the healthy change that is sweeping the nation, chocolate-centric franchises are one step ahead, and embracing their position in consumers minds as an indulgent treat. Their ability to adapt to meet changing consumer preference has kept them relevant and inclusive. We predict that such brands will continue to thrive because, well, who doesn’t love chocolate!