Consumers are looking for fruit and nut pairings in chocolate treats, according to a new survey by Dawn Foods.

The supplier found that fruit flavours such as fig, raspberry and tropical fruits were chosen because, to some extent, they minimised feelings of guilt and were perceived as “healthier”. The primary reason, however, was because “it tastes good”.

Other flavour combination suggestions for chocolate included matcha, marshmallow, mint and red wine.

Milk chocolate was the favourite variation of 45% of those surveyed, followed by a combination of milk, dark and white at 30%, dark at 17% and white chocolate falling into last place. 

Nuts were found to be the preferred inclusion, accounting for 26% of responses, which goes hand in hand with the survey finding that different chocolate textures – soft, crunchy and chunky – were popular with consumers. 

When purchasing chocolate products, quality was ranked the highest influencing factor at 33%, flavour combinations at 22%, price at 17% and then a drop to 7%-and-under for branded versus own-label, promotions and pack size. Cocoa percentage and health benefits tied for bottom place, at just 3% each.

The study found the majority of respondents (54%) bought their chocolate bakery products from supermarkets as branded products.

Purchasing at cafés was the second most popular answer, scoring 11%. Of the 30% of people who preferred chocolate bakery products to chocolate itself, the majority liked the variety of such products and believed them to be more indulgent.

“Milk chocolate continues to be one of the most popular chocolate flavours, as evidenced by our survey. The combinations of chocolate with fruit, nuts, peanut butter and marshmallow are established, tried-and-tested flavour combinations that are popular in sweet bakery products,” said Jacqui Passmore, marketing manager UK and Ireland at Dawn Foods.

“Many of the new flavour and inclusion suggestions in our survey are certainly interesting and although some, like matcha, can already be seen on the high street, many of the others are definitely worth further consideration.”

Subscribers to British Baker can read our report on chocolate flavour pairings here.