Consumers looking for ‘sustainable’ chocolate products
Confectionery manufacturers should promote chocolate products as an indulgent treat with natural ingredients and sustainable production in order to tap into the chocolate market, according to market research organisation Canadean.
Mid-lifers becoming an important consumer group
According to Canadean, the UK’s confectionery market recorded sales of £5.3 billion in 2013, with the value of chocolate expected to increase at a Compound Annual Rate Growth (CARG) of 2.7 per cent from 2013-2018 – a growth rate higher than sugar confectionery and chewing gum.
Chocolate is becoming increasingly popular among mid-lifers (35-44 year old consumers), when compared to other demographic groups. This can be linked to the pleasure that comes from eating a bar of chocolate during a relaxing moment of ‘me-time’, according to Canadean.
Consumers pay less attention to how products are formulated
Canadean said that, as middle-aged consumers are under constant stress, they often turn to chocolate as a form of escapism and as such are not as concerned by issues such as healthy eating.
Moreover, when it comes to chocolate, consumers pay little attention to product formulation. Canadean’s survey found that 46 per cent consumers aged 35-44 claim that ‘natural products’ are neither important nor unimportant when they look for chocolate.
Moreover, 66 per cent have never put a confectionery product back on the shelf because it was not ‘natural’ enough. Canadean said this indicated that mid-lifers bought chocolate mainly because they were looking for a treat to enjoy during their moments of relaxation.
‘Contributing to a sustainable world’ as an added value for chocolate consumption
Only 20 per cent of UK consumers said they believed that confectionery is artificial, meaning that the majority of consumers already saw chocolate as a natural product.
In order to emphasise the often overlooked natural positioning of chocolate and its ‘better for you and the world’ credentials, Canadean said marketers needed to establish a link between concepts such as ‘natural’ and ‘sustainable’.
To improve a sustainable conscious behaviour, marketers should appeal to consumers’ emotional bonds.
“Chocolate can be positioned both as an indulgent treat and a ‘good’ product,” said Raquel Perez-Lopez, analyst at Canadean. “This can be done by positioning a product around the claim of ‘creating a better and sustainable world’,” she said.
“Moreover, appropriate labelling, such as Fairtrade certification, would allow consumers to enjoy a guilt-free moment of indulgence by eating a product that has been produced in an ethical and environmentally friendly manner,” Ms Perez-Lopez said.