Asian chocolate demand is weaker than hoped but the market still represents significant potential, according to an analyst.
Asian cocoa grinds, an indicator of demand for chocolate products in the region, rose 8% in the fourth quarter (Q4) to 155,237 metric tons, according to figures released yesterday from the Cocoa Association of Asia.
‘Not as robust as we would like to see’
Marcia Mogelonsky, director of insight for Mintel Food and Drink, told ConfectioneryNews.com that while Q4 figures rose significantly, grind growth for the full year was less prominent.
“The total change year over year is +3%, which is not insignificant, but which indicates that the market is not as robust as we would like to see, considering the continued interest in chocolate, as a category in its own right and as an ingredient in other food and beverage products in Asia and especially China,” she said.
Asia - 155,237 - +8%
Europe - 327,982 -6%
North America - 120,053 - +0.9%
However, she added: “Considering the dismal showing of grindings in Europe a +3% looks promising and suggests that Asia provides significant potential on an ongoing basis."
The cocoa grind in Europe dropped 11% in 2012 as chocolate consumption remained stagnant and exports fell.
Mogelonsky said that a growing Chinese chocolate market was the major driver behind rising grinds in Asia.
China’s chocolate market climbed 16% last year to $4.6bn in 2012, according to data from Mintel.
“While the global economy continues to decelerate, Asia will continue to provide a market for cocoa products, especially chocolate confectionery,” said Mogelonsky.
Asia cocoa market set for 2013 expansion
Barry Callebaut has noticed the potential in the region and recently acquired the cocoa processing operations of Singapore-based Petra Foods for $950m. See HERE.
“The growth in the Asian market - as demonstrated by the increase in grindings and in the growth of the Chinese chocolate confectionery industry suggests that interest in expanding the Asian cocoa market - as seen by Callebaut's recent Petra purchase - will continue through 2013,” said Mogelonsky.