CHOCOLATE, A COMFORT FOOD FOR COUNTLESS CONSUMPTION OCCASIONS
The chocolate market is continuously growing, offering endless consumption occasions and great business opportunities for the Ho.Re.Ca channel.
Chocolate is one of the most indulgent, versatile, and sensual foods that exist. Its characteristic rich flavor and enveloping texture can conquer palates worldwide, providing intense multisensory pleasure that satisfies both body and mind.
In this article, we explore the origins and properties of chocolate, why it’s so beloved, its main uses, and why it represents a great business opportunity for the Ho.Re.Ca channel.
The Origin of Cacao, the Food of the Gods
A precious ally of good mood, with a seductive and incredibly satisfying taste, chocolate is obtained from the processing of cocoa beans.
Its origins are ancient, dating back to the Olmecs era: an ancient civilization in the tropical area of Southern Mexico, which over 3,000 years ago began cultivating the first cocoa plants.
However, its spread as a food, medicine, ritual beverage, and currency dates back to the Maya, recognized as the creators of the first cocoa-based beverages: infusions flavored with chili and pepper, mainly consumed by the wealthier classes on ceremonial and religious occasions.
For these populations, cocoa, called Theobroma (Food of the Gods), was considered a divine gift for its incredible beneficial properties and enchanting taste.
In Europe, cocoa arrived around 1500 when Cortez, from Mexico, presented it as a gift to Charles V, the King of Spain at the time. Initially not appreciated, over time, with the addition of vanilla and sugar and the processing into chocolate, it became the ecstatic food we know today.
The Beneficial Properties of Chocolate
Chocolate has always been considered a superfood with beneficial properties, especially in its dark form.
Rich in micronutrients like vitamins and minerals, when consumed moderately, it brings numerous health benefits and proves to be a powerful ally in preventing inflammation and reducing insulin resistance and blood pressure. But that’s not all. Dark chocolate is also known for its antioxidant effect, its energizing charge, and its power to improve mood, providing an intense pleasure sensation that pervades and satisfies all the senses.
The Comfort Food Loved by All
Thanks to these properties, chocolate rightfully ranks among the favorite comfort foods of consumers worldwide, who enjoy it to indulge or quickly lift their mood.
Comfort foods are mostly chosen by nostalgic consumers who feel the need to find in food – or in a drink – the instant satisfaction of an emotional need, or a desire for gratification, consolation, or reassurance.
While every country has its own customs, recipes, and culinary traditions, it’s equally true that a universal food like chocolate is considered everywhere a principal ingredient, capable of providing intoxicating and seductive consumption experiences.
A Versatile Product Suitable for Every Occasion
Today, chocolate lends itself to countless recipes and increasingly meets the mixology trend, making it the undisputed protagonist of an infinite variety of creative combinations – from ice cream to hot chocolate, from cocktails to gourmet dishes – in response to the desire for experimentation and innovation of the new generations.
Its versatility and elegance make it an exclusive ingredient even in haute cuisine, where flavors, textures, and aromas meet the mastery and creativity of the greatest international chefs to translate into exquisite delicacies of the highest quality, suitable for any consumption occasion and ideal for every season.
A Must-Have for Moments of Intense Pleasure
Chocolate has now become part of the consumption habits of entire populations because it can adapt to any need to satisfy any type of demand:
- From the choice of premium ingredients to light options without added sugars;
- From organic and sustainable products to plant-based options;
- From the search for multi-sensory experiences to comfort foods and indulgent beverages, which allow you to experience and share intense moments of pleasure and personal gratification.
These trends are widespread especially among Millennials and Gen Z, today more than ever in search of healthy and sustainable lifestyles, unique and personalized consumption experiences, and a broad spectrum of cognitive well-being.
An Opportunity for the Ho.Re.Ca. Channel
Chocolate is not only one of the most beloved products in the world but also represents a continuously developing business, which today can offer tremendous opportunities for experimentation and innovation for the Ho.Re.Ca. channel.
According to Mintel, an international market research company, the new trends that will drive the chocolate market in the coming years are:
- Flavor innovation
- Reduction of sugar content
Professional operators will therefore be called upon to invest in technological innovation to expand their offer and provide memorable and multisensory consumption experiences, essential to satisfy the growing demand for unique and unconventional products.
In this context, SPM Drink System can be an excellent ally for coffee shops, ice cream parlors, and restaurants.
Thanks to the innovative range of ice cream dispensers, frozen desserts, and chocolate makers, in fact, we can offer the ideal equipment – in terms of size, functionality, practicality, and design – to meet any need and help you elevate your menus to a higher level.
With our elegant chocolate makers, during the winter season, you can propose delicious hot recipes like Hazelnut Hot Chocolate, an ideal beverage capable of satisfying soul and body thanks to its enveloping, creamy, and intense taste that delights every sip.
Throughout the year, you can create endless sweet combinations with super creamy chocolate soft serve ice cream, or creative and tasty desserts to add to your menus to amaze your customers.
Whether you are an experienced professional or a novice bartender in search of new ideas and inspirations, with us, you can find all the assistance you need in terms of recipes and product usage guide (link to the relevant section). To take advantage of all the potential of your machine, prepare specialties that do not go unnoticed, and enrich your menu with delicious recipes and new successful proposals. Try it to believe it!