Chocolate is part of the weekly lineup 1 in 2 for chocolate consumers, suggesting that chocolate hits the permissible indulgence sweet spot for many. Perhaps some of this is tied to chocolate’s strong role as the go-to comfort food for around half of chocolate consumers, too. The uncertainty of the last few years may have further solidified this category’s role as solution for solace. Now, though, a different type of uncertainty remains tied to surging ingredient costs and supply chain challenges.

With inflation likely to persist in impacting chocolate prices, the importance of value and accessibility will persist. Private label has proven its ability to deliver on value and quality, which is resonating particularly with younger generations and contributing to year over year category growth that outpaced the market overall.

Balancing quality and value while delivering modernized options that meet the interests of frequent category explorers will be an ongoing opportunity for the chocolate market. Brands can continue to reach consumers with options that make exploration more accessible like snack size formats, portionable products, single serve options. There’s also space to take existing products on more explorative routes with pairing inspiration.

This report looks at the following areas:

  • Chocolate purchases and purchase details
  • Frequency of chocolate consumption and new product trial
  • Chocolate purchase factors and new product trial motivators
  • Engagement or interest with different chocolate product concepts
  • Chocolate consumption occasions
  • Attitudes and behaviors toward chocolate

Chocolate puts the routine in indulgence, with the category's strong ties to comfort food and its portionable nature.

Kelsey Olsen, Food & Drink Analyst

Market Definitions

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.

For purposes of this Report, Mintel has segmented the chocolate confectionery market as follows:

  • Bars/bags/boxes weighing less than 3.5 oz – includes novelty candies; excludes seasonal candies
  • Bars/bags/boxes weighing 3.5 oz or more – excludes seasonal candies
  • 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
  • Seasonal – chocolate confections marketed for a specific holiday (eg Halloween, Easter)
  • Sugar-free – chocolate confections sweetened with sugar alcohol or a sugar substitute.

Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary

    • What you need to know
    • What consumers want and why
    • Market size & forecast
    • Market predictions
    • Opportunities
  2. Market Dynamics

    • Market context
    • Market drivers
    • A spotlight on skyrocketing cocoa prices
    • Graph 1: global price of cocoa, US Dollars per metric ton, monthly, not seasonally adjusted, 2000-24
    • Climate challenges and supply chain struggles highlight complexity and importance of change
    • Potential implications of rising cocoa prices
    • The rise of seasonal chocolate prices may necessitate smaller scale special chocolate occasions
    • Graph 2: price in US dollars of seasonal chocolate confectionery product launches, 2019-23
    • Graph 3: price in US dollars of non-seasonal chocolate confectionery product launches, 2019-23
    • Market size and forecast
    • Nevertheless inflation persists, but steadier growth on the horizon
    • Retail sales and forecast of chocolate confectionery
    • Market segmentation
    • Lingering inflation boosts larger segments, while smaller segments struggle
    • Graph 4: total retail sales of chocolate confection, by segment, at current prices, 2019-24
    • Retail sales of chocolate confectionery, by segment
    • Market share/brand share
    • Store brands balance quality and value in chocolate
    • Ferrero's first chocolate facility in North America meets company's growing market share
    • Sales of chocolate confectionery, by company
    • Strength in well known box/bag/bar <3.5 oz brands, but its not a story across the board
    • Box/bag/bar <3.5 oz company and brand sales
    • Larger size may be challenging the accessibility of box/bag/bars > 3.5oz
    • Box/bag/bar >3.5 oz company and brand sales
    • Large players lead snack size, yet growth points to ample space for variety of players
    • Snack size company and brand sales
    • Gift boxes were a mixed bag in brand performance, with a roadblocks to growth
    • Gift box company and brand sales
    • The Hershey Company sees reason to celebrate in seasonal chocolate segment
    • Seasonal company and brand sales
    • Sugar free segment sales: not so sweet
    • Spotlight on consumer perceptions of Zero Sugar Chocolate
    • Sugar free company and brand sales
  3. Consumer Insights

    • Consumer fast facts
    • Chocolate purchases
    • The epitome of a little treat: portionable chocolate products lead purchases
    • Graph 5: chocolate purchases, 2024
    • Near universal engagement translates to top categories, yet highlights emerging spaces, too
    • Graph 6: chocolate candy purchases, by generation, 2024
    • Put the 'self' in self care treat with flexible size options
    • Graph 7: chocolate candy purchases, by household size, 2024
    • Get creative with value positioning beyond price points
    • Graph 8: chocolate candy purchases, by financial situation, 2024
    • Trended chocolate purchase details
    • Hitting the accessible premiumization sweet spot
    • Graph 9: trended types of chocolate purchased, 2022-24
    • A new chocolate age or just a matter of life stage? …
    • Graph 10: types of chocolate candy purchased, by generation, 2024
    • Connecting at special occasions can foster year round trust
    • Graph 11: types of chocolate candy purchased, by financial situation, 2024
    • Frequency of chocolate consumption
    • Chocolate: the Swiss army knife of treats
    • Capturing an audience will look different for generations and genders
    • Graph 12: frequency of chocolate consumption, by gender and generation, 2024
    • BFY establishes (and perhaps justifies) stronger chocolate routines
    • Graph 13: frequency of chocolate consumption, by type of chocolate purchased, 2024
    • Chocolate purchase factors
    • Reassure satisfaction in an evolving chocolate market
    • Graph 14: chocolate purchase factors, 2024
    • Adapt brand messaging for multigenerational chocolate consumers
    • Graph 15: chocolate purchase factors, by generation, 2024
    • Keep chocolate type at the front and center
    • Graph 16: chocolate purchase factors, by types of chocolate purchased, 2024
    • Frequency of chocolate product trial
    • Indulge in the joy of emotion-driven exploration
    • It's a wide open road for young frequent chocolate explorers
    • Graph 17: frequency of new chocolate product trial, by generation, 2024
    • Specialty diet chocolate consumers can redefine touchpoints
    • Graph 18: frequency of new chocolate product trial, by type of chocolate purchased, 2024
    • Chocolate new product trial motivators
    • Chocolate trial: a story of spontaneity
    • Graph 19: new chocolate product trial motivators, 2024
    • Expectations for excitement reach beyond LTOs and seasonal flavors for Gen Z
    • Graph 20: new chocolate product trial motivators, by generation, 2024
    • Like a kid (or a parent) in a candy shop
    • Graph 21: new chocolate product trial motivators, by parental status, 2024
    • Engagement or interest with chocolate concepts
    • Continue to cultivate chocolate curiosity
    • Graph 22: engagement or interest in chocolate products, 2024
    • Tone down the indulgence to up engagement with women
    • Graph 23: engagement or interest in chocolate products, NET – any current purchase, by gender, 2024
    • Think outside the chocolate box to garner Gen Z and Millennial brand loyalty
    • Graph 24: engagement or interest in chocolate products, NET – Any current purchase, by generation, 2024
    • Consumption occasions by chocolate types
    • The world is chocolate's oyster, regardless of format
    • Graph 25: occasions by specific chocolate type, 2024
    • Emerging chocolate occasions can maintain generationally inclusive positioning
    • Graph 26: chocolate occasions – NET – Any chocolate consumption, by generation, 2024
    • A self-care treat with gaps in self-treating occasions
    • Graph 27: chocolate occasions – NET – Any chocolate consumption, by household size, 2024
    • Attitudes and behaviors
    • Flexible, convenient comfort sets chocolate apart
    • Graph 28: chocolate attitudes and behaviors, 2024
    • Keep up with evolving demands for comfort foods
    • Graph 29: chocolate attitudes and behaviors, by generation, 2024
    • Break up the monotony of the work day
    • Graph 30: chocolate attitudes and behaviors, by work from home status, 2024
  4. Innovation and Marketing Trends

    • Launch activity and innovation
    • Will chocolate innovation resiliency persist?
    • Graph 31: GNPD product launches in the chocolate confectionery category, 2019-23
    • Enhance the special feel of chocolate outside of traditional special occasions
    • A chocolate for every season, even in the in-between
    • Format and texture pair up for the power of suggestion
    • Plant based is one piece of the ethics of chocolate
    • Graph 32: trended chocolate confectionery GNPD products with select ethical and plant based claims, 2019-23
    • Plant based chocolate becomes more mainstream by way of oat milk
    • Chocolate fillings break out of their shell
    • Taking the cocoa out of chocolate
    • Savory moves beyond salted
    • Flavorscape AI: chocolate confectionery
    • Marketing and advertising
    • Drink up!
    • Get ahead with supply chain transparency
    • Opportunities
    • Snacking can pave more pathways
    • Chocolate's inherent comfort provides a solid foundation for further differentiation within the indulgence space
    • Portionable translates to permissible, sharable and inclusive
  5. Appendix

    • Market definition
    • Market size methodology
    • Consumer research methodology
    • Generations
    • Abbreviations and terms
    • Forecast methodology
    • Forecast fan chart methodology
    • Total retail sales and forecast of chocolate confectionery, at inflation-adjusted prices
    • Total retail sales forecast of chocolate confectionery, at current prices, 2024-29
    • Total retail sales and forecast of box/bag/bar chocolate <3.5 oz, at current prices,
    • Total retail sales and forecast of box/bag/bar chocolate >3.5 oz, at current prices
    • Total retail sales and forecast of snack-sized chocolate, at current prices
    • Total retail sales and forecast of gift-box chocolates, at current prices
    • Total retail sales and forecast of seasonal chocolates, at current prices
    • Total retail sales and forecast of sugar-free chocolates, at current prices

About the report

This market report provides in-depth analysis and insight supported by a range of data. At the same time, introductory and top-level content is provided to give you an overview of the issues covered.


Mintel provides a range of market information, frequently through the category level, including market size and forecasting, complete with market drivers that illustrate the forces that shape a category or market.


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