Confectioners are finding the need to diversify their product offerings as consumers cut back on their consumption of confectionery items.
New research on consumer trends suggests that consumers are now decreasing their consumption of confectionery items, and the chocolate industry is expected to see marked declines in the coming years.
According to a recent report from Confectionery News, Euromonitor International has released data that indicates that North American consumers are likely to decrease their consumption of chocolate by four bars per person a year by 2021. And, as North America accounts for 22% of the global chocolate market and the U.S. is the world’s single largest market for chocolate, the industry may be in trouble.
As consumers continue to seek healthier snack options, other snack items are gaining popularity over chocolate. In response to this shift in the market, many confectionery brands, such as Hershey and Mondelez International, are working to reposition as general snack manufacturers by diversifying their product offerings and expanding into new markets, Confectionery News reported.
However, although these confectioners are branching out to different categories, they are not giving up on chocolate. While it is unlikely that chocolate can be repositioned as a healthy option, regardless of health claims on cocoa flavanols, chocolate is likely to become more sophisticated as confectioners shift their focus to creating premium products. Confectionery News reported that dark chocolate sales have increased rapidly over the last five years, suggesting that consumers are seeking a higher cocoa content in their chocolate. This new trend is one that confectioners are likely to capitalize upon as the chocolate market faces marked declines.
Evidence that moving towards the creation of more premium products will be beneficial to confectioners has been found in the fact that, while the overall global chocolate market declined 2-3% over the past year, premium chocolatier Lindt recorded 7.1% organic sales growth in 2015, Confectionery News reported.