Golden ticket: Researchers examine what consumers desire in chocolate products

Gold foil, ornate labels and an intriguing backstory are product characteristics highly desired by premium chocolate consumers, according to research conducted by food scientists in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences.

The study is one of the first to thoroughly research what American premium chocolate consumers find to be desirable attributes in their chocolate bars. An additional focus was on these consumers’ perceptions of craft chocolate, which is made from scratch — bean to bar — by small companies using fine flavor cocoa beans.

Much like craft beer and specialty coffee, craft chocolate is gaining popularity among consumers who are seeking a unique experience, noted lead researcher Allison Brown, food science doctoral candidate in the college’s International Agriculture and Development dual-title degree program.

She added that study outcomes, which were published in the journal PLOS ONE , will aid craft chocolate companies when making decisions about product development and marketing."The U.S. craft […]

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