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Crossing the Atlantic: Cémoi eyes growing US private label chocolate market as Europe stagnates

By Oliver Nieburg+

17-Oct-2013
Last updated on 17-Oct-2013 at 12:09 GMT2013-10-17T12:09:58Z

Slowing European private label chocolate market prompts Cemoi to explore opportunities overseas
Slowing European private label chocolate market prompts Cemoi to explore opportunities overseas

France’s leading private label chocolate maker Cémoi sees little growth in the European chocolate market and hopes instead to promote its branded goods in Asia and in the developing US private label market.

The company sells branded goods through its Cémoi and Jacquot brands, manufactures chocolate products for private label customers and sells cocoa ingredients.

In a statement to ConfectioneryNews, Cémoi said of the European chocolate sector “there is no longer any opportunity for strong growth in this mature market.”

The company hopes instead to grow in North America, another mature market, but one in which the private label chocolate sector is growing rapidly.

US private label chocolate

 “The private label market, whilst well-structured in America, is way behind that of Europe but its recent growth is particularly strong,” said Cémoi.

Private Label in the US

Food market shares
Brands - 81%
Private Label - 19%

Chocolate and confectionery market shares
Brands - 96%
Private Label - 4% 

US private label chocolate sales have risen 27.5% since 2009, according to the company. Cémoi valued the total US private label market at $59bn this year, up 2.9% on 2012.

Annual turnover for private label brands has risen around 2.6% every year since 2009, while branded goods have increased only 0.9%.

However, while the US private label food sector has a 19.1% market share, the private label chocolate market is still dominated by brands with private label only accounting for 3.6% of the market.

Europe’s private label culture

The picture is slightly different in Europe, where Cémoi said private label culture was “strongly implanted” particularly in Scandinavian countries.

Cémoi is the leading private label chocolatier in France and number three in Europe.

Cemoi in figures

 “Market shares in Europe for all year round chocolate follow a similar trend to those of the food sector, but the seasonal and chocolate confectionery market is still dominated by the brands.”

Cemoi said it was pushing impulse gifting as a means to stand out from branded goods.

Asia: branded approach

Cemoi sells its own brands and contract manufactures for private label customers

“Private labels are not particularly present in emerging countries however due to the retail market structure which is dominated by independent retailers that do not adhere to private label policies,” continued the company.

Cémoi will therefore push its own brands rather than its private label services in emerging markets like Asia and South America.

It claimed that it has key points of differentiation through its “French touch”, ethically sourced cocoa and appeal in the gifting segment.

It said that it hopes its Cémoi and Jacquot brands will become emblems of French chocolate in a similar manner to Godiva and Belgian chocolate.

“These assets are an integral part of the group's strategy in developing in the emerging markets such as Asia, where the necessity to be able to adapt to local requirements is particularly demanding.”

Gifting in China

In its market assessment, Cémoi has highlighted Ukraine, China and Indonesia as the strongest growing markets in volume terms.

The firm said that American confectioners like Hershey and Russell Stover were making the most of the growth of the number one retailer Walmart in emerging markets such as Asia and South America.

“The smaller formats under 100g are developing rapidly in the emerging countries where chocolate consumption is commencing its rise as a trend and it appeals more and more to the consumer.”

“The Chinese still hold great importance to offering a gift and chocolate is a product that appeals to this type of purchase and as is considered as a gift when offered in small format.”

However, Cémoi said that the premium chocolate segment was underdeveloped in South America as people still preferred to consume chocolate themselves at home rather than offering it as a gift.

[Table data source: Cémoi]

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