The pandemic spurred consumers to look for comfort and escape in their food. But as COVID-19 continues, consumers are seeking a balanced approach to indulgence, according to a new infographic by SMARTeam, Advantage Sales’ consumer goods insights team.

Many product launches this year have been indulgent, but “permissible,” options, such as pizza and pasta made with cauliflower, broccoli and vegetables, that allow consumers to enjoy classically indulgent entrees within a more balanced diet, according to “Indulgent Food Trend: Premium or Permissible.” Other new items lean into the “premiumization” of products — such as potato chips, desserts and ice cream featuring new flavors like pickle or sweet orange — that turn food into an experience.

Chocolate remains one of the top indulgent snacks of the pandemic, with nearly nine in 10 consumers saying they purchased some form of chocolate in the first quarter of 2021. Many are looking at chocolate as a functional aid; more than half of consumers say chocolate lifts their mood and “gets them through the day” and nearly 60% say it boosts their energy.

Download the infographic