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Brand Experience

How the world’s largest chocolate company is cracking the vegan market

For Barry Callebaut - the world’s leading producer of chocolate products, perhaps best known for its Ruby chocolate - vegan products are seen as a key growth opportunity.

But as an emerging and fast-growing market, Barry Callebaut wanted to understand generational and geographical nuances when it comes to vegan and plant-based experiences.

“We don’t sell directly to consumers, but our customers need to understand how to position our products on the market,” explains Eva Teyssier, Consumer and Market Insights Manager.

So to ensure its new vegan product landed with consumers, the Barry Callebaut team went to work to test a few hypotheses that were shaped by their market knowledge and observations.

Closing the experience gap in vegan chocolate

After spending months crafting the right product, Barry Callebaut’s R&D teams came up with a chocolate they were proud of.

“We knew the market potential was huge, but marketing it in the right way and connecting with our target audience would be key to the product’s success,” says Camille Lannoy, Brand Development Manager.

“We’re using Qualtrics to test out our hypotheses and use consumer feedback to guide our marketing and brand positioning,” explains Eva. “The speed at which we can get results utilizing Qualtrics Research Services really helps us to generate insights at pace.”

The research uncovered polarised views on vegan advertising, but the term ‘plant-based’ was seen more positively.

“14% of UK consumers consider themselves flexitarian, preferring a vegan diet some of the time, but still eating meat and dairy products,” says Camille, “so we refined our message to include them.”

Germany and the UK emerged as markets where the product would be best received, crucial information for Barry Callebaut’s global customers.

Moreover, the study showed that younger consumers are more likely to consume vegan products, with 56% of German millennials eating vegan products at least weekly vs only 10% of baby boomers.

Landing with customers

The product will hit the shelves in 2021, but it’s already made waves with Barry Callebaut’s customers and the confectionary industry as a whole.

“We launched the product at ISM Cologne, the world’s biggest trade fair for confectionery and snacks,” explains Camille.

“The response from attendees has been fantastic, in no small part because of our ability to articulate the target audience and brand positioning, and the great taste we achieved.”

The press coverage has also been really positive, with proof points from the Qualtrics research helping Barry Callebaut to tell a more compelling story with the media.

With the vegan trend showing no signs of slowing, Barry Callebaut is now expanding its Plant Craft range into other areas including ice cream, continuing to use customer insights every step of the way.

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