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Dark chocolate preference on the rise

June 7th, 2013

A new report from Mintel shows that dark chocolate is creeping up in popularity.

The latest research from Mintel reveals that for just more than half, 51 per cent, of all adult consumers favour milk chocolate in the plain category, followed by 35 per cent who favour dark chocolate and eight per cent who prefer white chocolate.

In contrast, Mintel’s 2011 report found that 57 per cent of consumers favored milk chocolate and 33 per cent of consumers’ preferred dark chocolate.

“The progressively better understood health benefits of dark chocolate may be increasing its popularity as more consumers are looking for indulgent foods that can serve multiple functions such as nutrition or convenience,” says Sarah Day Levesque, food analyst at Mintel. “An exception to the pattern of milk chocolate being the consumer favorite is among consumers aged 55+ who are more likely to favour dark chocolate, most likely because they are seeking added nutritional benefits.”

Some 46 per cent of men age 55 and up, and 48 per cent of women more than age 55 favor dark chocolate. In contrast, 38 per cent of men and 40 per cent of women that prefer milk. These numbers are indicative of the trend toward the increasing favour for dark chocolate. Indeed, 73 per cent of all chocolate consumers are aware that dark chocolate is healthier.

The chocolate confectionery market has fared seemingly well in a lagging economy, growing 19 per cent from 2007 to 2012. This growth can be attributed to consumers’ demand for affordable luxuries or indulgence, as well as the foodie culture that has increased interest in premium, high-quality and artisan varieties of chocolate.

However, due to countering trends, Mintel expects slow growth for the chocolate confectionery category in the next five years, with sales growing 15 per cent from 2012 to 2017.

“As the economy recovers ever-so-slowly, consumer demand for the affordable indulgence that chocolate provides is expected to remain and interest in chocolate as part of the larger food culture will continue. However, obesity, the dark cloud that looms over this category and many other indulgent categories, and related health risks will remain a concern for many consumers and present challenges to increasing category sales,” adds Levesque.

When deciding to purchase chocolate, some 89 per cent of consumers buy chocolate as a treat or reward and 87 per cent buy it as a snack option. Meanwhile, 83 per cent of consumers look carefully at the size of chocolate candy packages to determine the best value for the money and 72 per cent buy chocolate as a way to improve their mood or provide an energy boost.

Source: Bakers Journal

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