Seasonal Offerings Led New Chocolate Products in 2016

Seasonal launches accounted for one-quarter (25 percent) of global chocolate new product launches in 2016 — the biggest area of chocolate new product development, according to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD).

In 2016, nearly 28 percent of seasonal launches globally were positioned for Easter, highlighting the popularity of eggs, bunnies and other chocolate treats. The most chocolate innovation occurred in Brazil (14 percent of all Easter chocolate product innovation), France (11 percent share) and South America (10 percent share). 

However, overall launch activity in the confectionery channel was somewhat restrained in 2016. The number of chocolate confectionery launches globally grew by just 3 percent between 2015 and 2016, according to Mintel GNPD.

The United States leads the way in volume sales of chocolate. In 2016, the U.S. consumed 1.3 million tons worth of chocolate, followed by Russia with 979,000 tons; Germany at 680,000 tons; and the United Kingdom with 555,000 tons.

Spend per head. The United Kingdom tops the leaderboard in chocolate spend per head. In 2016, the average British consumer indulged in 8.61 kilograms of chocolate (per capita), followed by Switzerland (8.58 kilograms), Germany (8.32 kilograms), Russia (6.57 kilograms) and Austria (5.37 kilograms).

International appeal. Although international appeal of chocolate remains strong, Mintel found that a change in consumers' eating habits in the top five chocolate markets as per capita consumption in the U.K. and Germany remained flat between 2015 and 2016. In Austria and Russia, it fell nearly 1 percent, and in Switzerland, per capita consumption of chocolate confectionery fell 3 percent.

The big issues revolve around permissibility and the blurring of lines between snacks and confectionery. Even though boundaries are fading, there is still something about chocolate confectionery that has remained constant. Chocolate is still a treat and, as something special, it typically gets a pass. While consumers may be looking for more healthy foods, they will trade health for indulgence when it comes to chocolate."

Consumer demand will likely affect the conversion to organic offerings, according to Mintel GNPD. In the U.S., 15 percent of chocolate buyers purchase organic products, while in Europe, interest is uneven with 14 percent of Italian chocolate eaters considering organic to be an important factor when buying chocolate, compared to 4 percent of Polish chocolate eaters.


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