“Chocolate confectionery is a treat. Nearly three quarters of consumers turn to these products as a treat, meaning the category will need to promise and meet this most basic expectation.”
– Beth Bloom, Food and Drink Analyst
This report answers the following questions:
- Are consumers noticing price increases?
- What’s the role of health in chocolate confectionery?
- What kind of innovation resonates with consumers?
This report covers chocolate confectionery products including those in bar, bag, and box form, and those sold year-round or seasonally for holidays. Primarily this includes chocolate that is sold in grocery outlets, such as supermarkets (conventional and natural), mass merchandisers, drug stores, and convenience stores. However, the report also covers chocolate confectionery that is sold in specialty chocolate shops operated by Godiva, Lindt, and Ghirardelli.
Chocolate sales grew from 2009-14. Seasonal and box/bag/bar greater than 3.5 oz segments drive growth, with innovation fusing familiarity and specialization. Struggling snack size, gift box, and sugar-free sales limited the category to a 2.9% increase in 2014. Small bites and premium additions in other category segments poach snack size and gift box share, while sugar-free struggles with indulgent health-focused offerings in other categories, including chocolate spreads.
For the purposes of this report, Mintel has used the following definitions:
For purposes of this report, Mintel has segmented the chocolate confectionery market as follows:
- Bars/bags/boxes weighing 3.5 oz or more – excludes seasonal candies
- Bars/bags/boxes weighing less than 3.5 oz – includes novelty candies; excludes seasonal candies
- Seasonal – chocolate confections marketed for a specific holiday (eg, Halloween, Easter)
- Snack size – also known as fun size, sold in multicount bags/boxes
- Gift boxes – a variety of chocolates packaged in a box with most or all of the individual pieces presented unwrapped; excludes gift-boxed seasonal chocolates
- Sugar-free – chocolate confectionery sweetened with sugar alcohol or a sugar substitute.
Chocolate confectionery is a mature category with a loyal consumer base. Leading brands are widely familiar, and evoke images of nostalgia, fun, and quality. While consumers exhibit an increasing sweet tooth, manufacturers will continue to be pressed to offer BFY (better-for-you) options and engage in responsible product positioning as the spotlight on health intensifies. The category leads as a treat, and the value of the pleasure derived from its products is a strong selling point that should not be discounted. A move toward mass market premiumization seen in product innovation as of late is a keen tack that benefits the category in multiple ways, including excusing price increases that have been passed on by manufacturers due to rising commodities costs, and moving products away from being seen as sugary candy toward worthwhile indulgences.