UK consumers are indulging in chocolate again after cutting back during the recession, finds Datamonitor.
Research* by the independent market analyst has revealed that chocolate sales have begun to turn the corner. Although chocolate was predicted to be ‘recession-proof’ at the beginning of the economic downturn, sales were hit when consumers begun sacrificing this type of indulgence in a bid to save money.
However consumers are starting to return to buying their favourite chocolate treats as the market is predicted to be worth £4.68 billion – up from £4.59 billion last year. Datamonitor predicts the market to continue to show healthy growth, reaching £5.1 billion by 2014.
Mark Whalley, consumer analyst at Datamonitor, said: “The growth in the chocolate market is not outstanding but it is a mature market which has not only had the challenge of the recession to overcome but also the growing consumer tendency to move away from chocolate to ‘healthy indulgence’ snacks.
Therefore manufactures have had had to work hard to demonstrate that having a bar of chocolate isn’t a great compromise to a balanced, healthy diet.”
Therefore brands are making efforts to remove the stigma of chocolate being perceived as unhealthy. Mars announced in August this year that it would be introducing its Mars bar, Snickers, Milky Way and Topic with 15% less saturated fat per bar compared with its previous recipes – the result of a E10m investment in how to lower saturated fat, which a majority of consumers recognise as being unhealthy.
Mr Whalley continued: “Manufacturers are also trying ignite the chocolate market by using unusual flavours. In Germany Collage Schokolade are available in a number of varieties including “Pomegranate Coconut” and “Curry Poppyseed in white chocolate”. In the US there’s a new range of handmade raw organic chocolate bars which come in “Cashew Goji Cherry” and “Lemon Berry Rose” flavours.
“This illustrates how manufacturers need to go to greater lengths to encourage growth. Innovations in terms of introducing new flavours and making products less unhealthy is therefore essential.”