US consumers still craving premium chocolate

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 3rd December 2008

Gourmet chocolate continues to capture the attention of shoppers despite cost cutting caused by concerns about the economy.

A new market research report released by Packaged Facts, Premium Chocolate in the U.S.: Mass, Gourmet, Prestige and Super Premium, 4th Edition, explains how it is that premium chocolate is thriving despite grim economic times, with a 9% gain over 2007 gourmet chocolate sales.

chocolate swirl - Cadbury

It seems that Americans, while scaling down consumerism generally, are permitting themselves indulgence in life’s “little” pleasures. Sales of upscale chocolates are expected to advance at a rate more than five times that for chocolate overall by 2012. The market figures suggest that chocolate makers can benefit by shifting focus onto gourmet and/or green products.

Filled with dozens of exclusive interviews with industry leaders, the report reveals that product premiumisation claims (“upscale,” “gourmet,” “natural” or “organic”) account for 60% of all claims staked in chocolate packaging and promotion. Wellness and health claims account for an 11% share. “No preservatives,” “high antioxidants,” “no trans fat,” “low calorie,” “no gluten,” “no artificial colour,” “no sugar” and “no trans fat” or “low artificial flavour” are words enticing the premium chocolate consumer crowd to pay more than ever for the satisfying confection.

“What’s going on in the world of premium chocolate is a delicious swirl of innovation and flavour still affordable to main street America,” Packaged Facts Publisher Tatjana Meerman said.

Growth rates this year are not as high as previous years, however, although the gourmet remains robust as more and more innovative new products enter the fray. At the moment affordable premiumisation is what many manufacturers are striving for as they note a trend toward people staying at home more often. With more in-home entertainment, the sales of chocolate can be anticipated to remain solid but some are expected to “trade down” when purchasing chocolate.