Chocolate fiends may be surprised to discover that the hollow, chocolate Easter egg as we know it is something of a recent phenomenon. While the humble egg has long been associated with the religious holiday, chocolate is a much more recent addition to the celebration, though this could all be set to change again. According to trend analysis, unicorn, avocado and flat, vegan eggs could be the future...
We explore the past, present and future of the Easter egg (it's much more interesting than you might imagine).
The history of the Easter egg: from hardboiled eggs to vegan-friendly Easter treats
In many cultures, exchanging Easter eggs has long been a custom and a symbol of rebirth celebrated during the transition from winter to spring. The consumer journey, however, started only a few hundred years ago. This is how it looked...
Eggs were hardboiled before being painted using charcoal and vegetable dyes to become colourful and decorative. They were then handed out to children as celebratory gifts.
Egg-shaped toys for children were made and sold for the first time. They were initially made from a form of cardboard, before being covered in plush satin. Inside, the toy would be filled with sweets, chocolates and sometimes miniature toys.
In 1873, J.S Fry & Sons of England introduced the first ever chocolate egg to the UK. The Bristol-based company used a patented technique to grind cocoa beans using a steam engine, and as a result, the first egg-shaped chocolate for Easter was created.
The first filled egg was introduced by none other than the Cadbury brothers in 1923, resulting in a whole new and previously untapped offering within the Easter market. This started a real demand for filled eggs, with Cadbury’s introducing the Creme Egg as we now know it in 1963.
The rise in alternative Easter gifts begins to emerge, with everything from novelty Easter eggs, non-egg-shaped gifts to those free from sugar, gluten and dairy, and those suitable for vegans.
The future of the Easter egg?
With a notable rise in the offerings of alternative Easter eggs, dairy, gluten- and sugar-free options, as well as vegan Easter eggs that can now be seen in the Easter market, there's a notable a shift that's not likely to change any time soon.
'When you think about how far Easter gifts have come... it isn’t all about the typical chocolate egg anymore,' says Simos Kitiris, founder of Yumbles. 'Last year over 45 per cent of our Easter range was dairy free or vegan and 50 per cent of items ordered were alternative Easter products.'
This begs the question, with an ever-evolving market and a constant demand for more innovation, what is the future of the Easter egg? Yumbles predict what they believe will be the future offering of the Easter egg.
Similar to food trends in general, it’s expected that credible healthy alternatives to the chocolate egg will become more popular, with a real emphasis on chocolate gifts that are refined-sugar-free.
With recent surveys suggesting upwards of 51 per cent of UK consumers prefer to do their shopping online, the demand for a more easily transportable and deliverable Easter egg is great. While traditional eggs are ever-popular, flatter options are becoming more readily available in order to supply the demand for letterbox posting. Not only will this reduce shipping costs, but it could also reduce the amount of plastic waste caused by extra packaging.
Innovation of shapes and styles
Recent years have shown Easter eggs in the shapes of popular trends are particularly popular. For example, 2018 saw the first avocado shaped egg, and this year, unicorn eggs are expected to hit the market.
The evolution of eggs may well follow the trend of what’s popular at that current time, in order to tap into demand and catch the attention of the consumer.
Personalised Easter eggs
With so many products available for personalisation, and with a real demand for this in 2019, personalisation of the humble Easter egg could go beyond the traditional egg adorned with an iced name.
Research into photograph adorned Easter eggs is well underway and could be the next big thing.
So, it seems as though there's a lot of change afoot in the world of Easter eggs, we're excited to see what's next.