Move Over Pumpkin Spice, Hot Cocoa-Flavored Everything Is This Winter’s Hottest Trend

Cocoa is making a comeback. Although, we here at VSAG think of cocoa-flavored anything as a food staple, not a trend… it seems the restaurant and hospitality industry begs to differ.

Cocoa-flavored everything is trending in 2019 and we’re taking notice of hot cocoa in the food and beverage industry!

Sure, pumpkin spice has remained the warm, winter beverage winner this past decade and then some, but searches and interest for cocoa-flavored food and drink items, and recipes featuring cocoa powder, are on the rise.

Not to be confused with hot chocolate-flavored offerings, traditional cocoa items contain (yup, you guessed it), cocoa powder (cacao solids separated from cocoa butter, which removes the fat). And when mixed with sugar and milk (in powder or liquid form), cocoa creates a richer, sweeter yet slightly bitter taste.

From cocoa-flavored candy, ice cream, and frozen yogurt to cookies, cake, popcorn, and the traditional deliciousness of hot cocoa, looking for ways to introduce this cocoa trend is a great way to elevate your menu offerings this winter. And don’t stop there. Look to your bar for more inspiration. Sprinkling cocoa atop winter beverages or adding rich cocoa flavoring to craft cocktails, are great ways to carry this trend cohesively through all your menus this season.

We’re not sure yet if cocoa-flavored food and drink items will rival the pumpkin spice revolution of (say, the 350 million Pumpkin Spice Lattes Starbucks has sold since its introduction in 2003), but hot cocoa and the nostalgia it conjures up for guests has a foothold as one of this year’s biggest trends, and we’re all in.

We say, bring on the cocoa!

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