“Chocolate eating has changed to chocolate savouring in the last 5 years amongst a small set of Indian consumers. Indians have traditionally never differentiated between sugar craving and chocolate craving and hence chocolates were consumed when sugar was craved. However, with increased travel related exposure and awareness, the increase in understanding of coffee/wine/tea, the bean to bar movement and exposure to different cuisines, a set of people have understood the need and benefit of slow consumption and appreciating foods rather than bulk consumption. This is the most prominent change we have seen,” shared L Nitin Chordia who found his true calling in 2014 in the sector by launching Cocoashala, a chocolate academy, and Kocoatrait, a brand of chocolates, that is all guilt-free.
Running a ‘Guilt-free’ business
Every year, 7th July is dedicated for people around the globe to celebrate the finest creation of all things- Chocolate! And restaurants and chocolatier across India are also celebrating the spirit of sweetness. For a country where a celebration, new beginning is incomplete with sweet, chocolate comes handy when celebrating it in high spirit.
“People have become a lot more choosy when it comes to chocolate, the options available have also given rise to these choices, the darker ones are now getting more recognition,” added Rakesh Talwar, Chef at Nurtridock by pointing that guilt free is at the hilt of the ordering pyramid at the moment. It's very simple, everyone wants to have a chocolate, but keep the calories at bay.
According to experts, “chocolate” is of Spanish origins and was derived from the classical Nahuatl word xocolātl. It was originally prepared as a drink and was believed to be an aphrodisiac that gave drinker strength. Today, it has come a long way from being just a drink to the present state, and it is still as enjoyable as before it underwent a transformation.
Indians have and always will be on top of trend, imagine chocolate gulab jamuns, we have been hearing of chocolate pani puris and chocolate kulfi; so, you know what’s gonna be in the pipeline in the next couple of years.
Playing with the right ingredients
Consumers are not educated enough about what difference a good chocolate will make. This prohibits most bakeries and chocolate shops to upgrade their offering. Also, the understanding of these chocolate origins by chefs is also very limited. Most recipes do not allow chocolate as an ingredient to stand out. However, we see this trend changing as we go along, because the need for differentiation as well as accessibility to specialised chocolates has increased.
Kocoatrait is targeting at well-travelled, educated and planet conscious consumers who believe in a minimalistic and low/zero waste lifestyle as their most loyal patrons/customers. “The traditional mass market chocolate consumer has not shown too much interest in our efforts and hence is not our target audience. However, we believe that our product will speak for itself to the other audiences,” added Chordia by adding that most desserts at speciality restaurants/bakeries are either inspired from the western world (or learnt during a course done abroad) and the usual suspects in the mass market are the choco lava cakes etc. Also, to be fair, there is such an open opportunity, even today, to innovate in Indian sweets itself, hence innovation using chocolate is not a priority for most.
Similarly, Nutridock that is into all things healthy and nutritious believed that brands target women as top client, they can resist men, but never a good chocolate. “We are also looking at the health conscious people who love their chocolate, but keeping a tab on their calories,” added Talwar whose chocolate brownie is a bliss.
And, hence, we can say that people always agree upon everything when chocolate is involved! And it is unarguably the perfect mood lifter one needs.