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Disruption in the chocolate market

Changing lifestyles and personal wellbeing are disrupting the chocolate market, new research suggests, presenting an opportunity for manufacturers who respond to new consumer demands.

According to the research company’s ‘Chocolate strategy – Repositioning indulgence to remain relevant in the healthy snacking era’ report, the snacking market is being revolutionised by a consumer backlash against sugar, salt and artificial ingredients, as well as changing lifestyle and personal wellbeing.

Euromonitor predicts healthy snacks sales will rise by 3% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2016-2021 compared to ‘conventional’ snacks, which will only increase by 2%. While growth of ‘conventional’ snacks is boosted by emerging markets, it’s mature markets such as western Europe and North America driving the growth of healthy snack – a trend that is expected to intensify.

“Snacks used to be biscuits, confectionery, crisps and soft drinks but consumers’ desire to migrate to snacking options with a higher emphasis on healthy, all natural and free from is redefining the industry,” says Lianne van den Bos, global lead analyst at Euromonitor.

Euromonitor forecasts chocolate confectionery’s share of snack will decrease from 17.9% in 2002 to 16.2% in 2021. To change the growth trajectory of chocolate and remain relevant in the healthy snacking era, the chocolate industry is redesigning its offering from texture to flavour, ingredients to packaging.

While chocolate volumes are declining, values still offer a huge opportunity. Van den Bos explains, “How we apply wellbeing is changing. Before it was reducing sugar, now it’s about high quality ingredients, better taste, and moderation. Some of the current value gain strategies in chocolate have been centered around its attributes.

“In fact, big successes have been booked by the sudden popularity of dark chocolate, which is positioned as a healthier alternative to other types of chocolate. If you’re going to go for chocolate which we know is bad, better go for the best kind of bad.”

Van den Bos adds, “In 2017, trying to change things for the better is becoming increasingly important. Living in a conflict-ridden world, consumers – especially younger consumers –want to enrich lives and preserve the earth’s natural resources. In this environment, their expectations regarding brands are growing.”

This disrupted consumer environment is not necessarily a threat, Euromonitor believes, but can become an opportunity for chocolate manufacturers who embrace it and respond to new consumers’ demands.

“Lessons can be learned from coffee’s revolutionary growth strategy which managed to turn a simple drink into a little luxury, a treat that fits in well with fast-paced lifestyles.

“In that sense chocolate has a role to play to position itself towards mental wellbeing, a moment of premium indulgence, as opposed to competing against healthier snacks with reduced calories. When selling premium chocolate, consumers need to be educated on premium ingredients, cocoa content and origin, something for which foodservice outlets are a great point of contact,” concludes van den Bos.

So how are you responding to these changing demands? Let us know by emailing katie@bellpublishing.com tweeting us @confectionprod.

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