The global premium chocolate market was valued at USD 29 billion in 2020, projected to grow at a CAGR of 9.20% during the forecast period (2021 - 2026).
The premium chocolate market was impacted by low sales volumes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including supply-side issues linked to quality and certification. The public sector is providing support to strengthen partnerships and relationships between fine cocoa producers and premium chocolate companies, to enhance the resilience of marketing infrastructure. This is expected to provide an important means of assistance to the recovery of this sub-sector.
Although chocolate is not an essential food item, consumers have been observed to engage in stockpiling of chocolates as it is a source of indulgence and comfort that consumers have seeked even in times of COVID-19. However, the Federal Association of the German Confectionery Industry (BDSI) reported that medium-sized companies were hit the hardest with 64% of manufacturers reporting the yearâ€™s business prospects more difficult than in the previous year.â€‹
Key trends in the market impacting the market are, growing demand for organic, vegan, sugar-free, and gluten-free chocolates. With the growing awareness of the negative effects of synthetic products on health and the environment, most health-conscious and informed consumers have started using organic products.
Furthermore, the demand for limited edition chocolates plays an important role in the market studied. Various companies are launching a wide range of premium and luxury chocolate varieties during occasions, like Easter. Factors, such as the shape and packaging of chocolates, are the key strategies adopted by companies to attain maximum sales during a festive season.
Key Market Trends
Growing Demand For Dark Premium Chocolate
The influence of the organic and clean label trend is also palpable among dark chocolate manufacturers, with demand for premium and organic ingredients witnessing a spike due to their increased health benefits. This factor is expected to increase the demand for dark premium chocolate in the coming years, facilitated by the indulgence purchase of consumers. Moreover, as consumers in the United States and Europe are more informed about the health benefits of dark chocolate, and as the overall demand for packaged products is high, they are increasingly inclined toward opting for dark chocolate as a dessert option, thus increasing its demand in developed regions, as compared to the developing economies. Another major growth driver is the branding of seasonal and premium dark chocolates as gifts, primarily attracting consumers who are influenced by the price, packaging, ingredients, authenticity, or product, and the buying experience. Therefore, with the growing popularity of the product, there is a rising number of new vendors venturing in the premium dark chocolate space and an increasing number of new product launches featuring dark chocolate. For instance, ITC is launching its premium chocolate brand, Fabelle, which was sold exclusively in ITC hotels, into the mass markets. Similarly, Mondelez India announced the introduction of a new taste experience to its thriving bouquet of premium chocolates, with Cadbury Dark Milk.
Europe Remains the Largest Market
The trend of premium textured chocolate, added with grains or cereals, is growing among the chocolate consumers in the European Region. In addition, the packaging is playing an important role, as the consumers are selecting the carefully packed premium chocolate gifts with â€˜high offering valueâ€™. The supermarkets, such as Aldi and Lidl in Germany, are also offering their own premium brands of chocolate. For instance, Aldo offers Moser-Roth premium chocolates to cater to the growing demand for the products in the country. The consumers are opting for premium chocolates, especially from the supermarkets, as they offer a unique addition to assortment, attractive shelf, ready packaging, in-store promotions, and consistent quality of the chocolates. The number of private-label chocolatiers in the region is also growing, with more artisanal and specialized products (such as House of Dorchester) being launched to meet the consumersâ€™ demand in the premium chocolate market. Such companies offer premium chocolates as chocolate gifts. This factor is leading more people to purchase the product as a luxury present for gifting it on special occasions.
The global premium chocolate market is highly competitive, with a significant presence of global and regional players. Global players that held a prominent share include Chocoladefabriken Lindt & SprÃ¼ngli AG, Ferrero SpA, the Hershey Company, MondelÄ“z International, and Yildiz Holding. Major players in the market studied have been building an appetite for higher-priced chocolates among young consumers, by increasing the accessibility and innovative products. Tourists and travelers are major consumers to premium chocolates across the region. Hence, players in the market studied have been expanding their presence and offerings in the travel retail sector.
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