India is among the world’s fastest growing chocolate markets

While the global chocolate confectionery market posts slow growth, new research from global market intelligence agency Mintel reveals that India is defying the odds. Indeed, India is now one of the world’s fastest growing chocolate confectionery markets.

Sales of chocolate confectionery in retail markets grew by 13% between 2015 and 2016 in India, followed by Poland which saw sales growth of 2%. In comparison to the rest of the world, Poland and India were the only two markets to see sales of chocolate grow in 2016, with sales in the United States (US), United Kingdom (UK), Germany and France flat over this period, while sales fell in Russia (-2%), Brazil (-6%), and China (-6%).

Data from Mintel also reveals India’s chocolate confectionery market has had a strong CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 19.9%, in retail market value, between 2011 and 2015, and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 20.6% from 2016 to 2020.

When it comes to chocolate confectionery consumption (volume sales), it seems India is a nation of chocolate lovers, as Mintel research reveals that India consumed 228 thousand tonnes worth of chocolate in 2016. Other markets that have consumed in excess of 200,000 tonnes of chocolate last year include France (251 thousand tonnes), Brazil (236 thousand tonnes), and China (202 thousand tonnes). Meanwhile, Australia and Indonesia consumed 95 thousand tonnes and 94 thousand tonnes worth of chocolate in 2016 (respectively). The US and the UK, on the other hand, consumed 1.3 million tonnes and 555 thousand tonnes of chocolate (respectively).

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Marcia Mogelonsky, Director of Insight, Mintel Food and Drink, said: “Chocolate confectionery had an uneven year in 2016. Volume sales in developed markets remained flat, while the picture was a bit brighter in emerging markets, like India, where sales generally fared better.”

Indeed, according to a consumer study by Mintel, 42% of Indian consumers have eaten sweet or sugary snacks (other than biscuits) like chocolates and cakes in the past three months, rising to 53% of consumers aged 18 to 24. On the benefits of chocolates, Mintel research reveals over two in five Indian consumers (44%) find sweet or sugary snacks like chocolates and cakes to be healthy, while over one in three (35%) Indians believe these snacks provide them with energy.

Meanwhile, as many as one in two (49%) Indian consumers associate sweet or sugary snacks like chocolates with convenience. Data from Mintel also reveals 43% of Indians consume sweet or sugary snacks like chocolate and cake between lunch and dinner, with over half (53%) of Indian consumers reporting that they tend to snack in between meals because they get hungry.

“Our research shows that seasonal chocolate tops all chocolate new product development, a testament to the popularity of seasonal treats among consumers across the globe. This reflects the fact that these products are typically bought to help celebrate holidays or special occasions. With this in mind, seasonal chocolate is somewhat immune to recessionary pressures as these products are bought on an occasional basis.”

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Proving chocolate lovers have a heart, interest in ethical products remains relatively strong, with 17% of new products claiming some sort of “ethical-human” positioning, which could include fair trade, Rainforest Alliance, or some other independent “bean-to-bar” certification. Although still a small part of the category, accounting for less than 6% of global new product introductions in 2016, launches of chocolate confectionery with an organic claim increased 6% between 2014 and 2016.

Finally, Mintel research shows that consumer demand is likely to be the major impetus for more conversion to organic offerings. In India, as many as 19% of Indian consumers would like to see a wider variety of natural snacks that have no additives or preservatives, for instance.

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