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Functional chocolate bars must target a niche, says Herza

By Kacey Culliney , 19-Dec-2012
Last updated on 20-Dec-2012 at 09:59 GMT2012-12-20T09:59:38Z

Specialization is important in a sector dominated by big players, says Herza
Specialization is important in a sector dominated by big players, says Herza

There is no end to the possibilities of functional chocolate bar development and firms must specialize to succeed in a sector dominated by big players, a Herza Schokolade product developer says.

Functional chocolate specialist Herza Schokolade, part of the Stern-Wywiol Gruppe, has said functional chocolate bars are ‘booming’ within the rapidly expanding functional food market.

Dennis Stoffers, product development manager at Herza Schokolade, said that within such a surging sector, firms looking to compete must specialize.

“In times where big players dominate the cocoa market, you have to find your niche and produce and deliver tailor-made products,” Stoffers told

Kim Herrman, another product developer at the firm, said: “In principle there is no end to the possibilities.”

Herrman said variants that promote concentration and performance are conceivable through use of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and lecithin powder, as well as beauty bars developed using coenzyme Q10.

Key trends and drivers

Stoffers said: “The strongest trend is to make functional bars look and taste like ‘normal’ food.”

This is also one of the biggest challenges when developing a product, he added, particularly with reduced fat or sugar.

Stoffers said Herza will test new ingredients for use in reduced fat/sugar bars in 2013.

The product developer identified the ‘wellness’ trend as underpinning growth within the sector.

“This segment grows the fastest followed by users wanting bars containing high contents of cereals and fibers,” he said.

However, Marc van Essen, key account manager at Herza Schokolade, said that there continues to be a strong focus on active sports, but it is a niche that has diversified slightly.

“There are now special bars that meet the specific nutritional demands of different forms of sport,” Van Essen said.

“Cyclists need different nutrients from body-builders, so there is a correspondingly high level of diversification.”

Herza specializes in functional chocolate development

Herza specializes in functional chocolate development

Heading into 2013…

Looking ahead to 2013, Stoffers told this site that there will be higher use of ‘less processed’ ingredients like pieces of nuts, peanuts and fruits.

The product developer also predicted a continued shift towards clean labeling and perhaps clear packaging.

He said that future opportunities could be found by targeting the ‘best agers’ consumer group – those aged 50+.

“This group is constantly growing and they can afford to pay for food with added benefits.”

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