The Global Market for Premium Chocolate

The international market research firm Research and Markets has released a new report on the future of the global market for premium chocolate. The report points out that the market for said chocolate amounts to almost $7 billion. That size reflects a 65 percent increase since 2002, quite a steep growth rate. At the same time, however, premium chocolate still only represents a small share (less than 10 percent) of the total global chocolate market of $75 billion.

The report predicts an increase in the size of that market to about $12.9 billion by 2011. It’s not clear from the report’s summary if the increase comes as part of an expansion of the general market for chocolate or if the premium market will expand its share at the expense of lesser chocolates.

It’s also not clear how the term “premium chocolate” is defined. On the basis of what I could glean from the freely available summary and sample information, R&M bases its definition on data provided by manufacturers like Nestlé have provided. Apparently, they used numbers for dark, organic and single-origin chocolate bars. A narrower definition of “super premium” and “gourmet” reduces the size of that market to about $1.25 billion.

Much of the growth has and will come from established chocolate makers offering new products in those categories. The report indicates that these have added some 1,500 new products to their respective product lines since 2002.

Driving factors for this market currently are the well-trodden areas of single-origin (I’ve never quite understood the appeal of that), the whole wellness/nutrition debate (a lot of misdirected attention to nutrients rather than focusing on the complete food) and the increase in private label/own label packaging. Ethical sourcing (unfortunately often only an afterthought) also seems to play a role.

Just as much of the premium chocolate it covers, the report is not cheap (€557 = about $700). I wonder if there is a connection.

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