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3 Consumer Trends chocri Taps Into

Chocri’s idea of personalized chocolate bars taps into three emerging trends in the U.S.:

Mass Customization

Thanks to the internet and modern production technologies, mass customization has emerged as a new frontier in business. Customers increasingly expect to have a product or service that caters to their specific needs. Consumers expect to gain control of more aspects of the value chain as modern technologies allow for greater deviation from mass production. Self-expression through products and brands is brought to the next level.

Customization of products has always existed, from personalized jewelry to custom machinery. In the U.S., it was NikeID that really brought customization to the masses. Until today, many other companies have picked up on that trend, the most prominent example in the candy industry being My M&Ms.

Whereas in the U.S., mass customization is mostly a domain of big brand names that add customization as a “feature” to their existing offering, German mass customizers are mostly startups and smaller companies. That is also why mass customization exists in many niches in Germany, a trend that is now coming to the U.S. thanks to startups like us, chocri. Read more about [mass customization](http://www.mass-customization.info) on Carmen Magar's blog on the topic, or by the online magazine [egoo-journal](http://www.egoo-journal.com/).

Premium, Organic Chocolate for the Health Conscious Consumer

According to research (e.g from Mintel Oxygen, 2008), people tend to buy fewer chocolate while at the same time spending more on higher quality chocolate. As Americans become more health conscious, chocolate and especially dark chocolate is gaining popularity over sugary candy and lower quality treats. Consumers are also more aware of the health benefits of dark chocolate, such as its ability to lower cholesterol and increase serotonin levels.

With the financial crisis, the concept of indulgence has changed: People indulge less often, which benefits their health and wallet, but when they do, they pick carefully what they spend their money and calorie intake on. Organic ingredients are increasingly demanded, and premium quality is preferred.

Chocri benefits from this trend as a hand-manufacturer of premium quality, organic chocolate. Instead of having to pick a pre-designed chocolate bar off the shelf, consumers can now design exactly the indulgence that excites their taste buds the most. In addition, chocri allows for a combination of healthy toppings, such as cranberries, fennel or ginger.

Social Media and Open Innovation

An exciting sister trend of mass customization is so-called “open innovation” – the idea of integrating (potential) consumers in the product creation process. In mass customization, the consumer is automatically involved in the process as they configure their preferred product. However, open innovation is more, and chocri is a great example of it. Our customers did not only influence which topping choices are offered on the website, but also proposed the name of chocri, or determined the term “toppings”. To get in touch with those external innovators, chocri has tapped extensively into social media. We can be found on Facebook and Twitter, and engages in dialogue with their customers via their blog. We also conduct tastings in the US to get closer to our consumers.