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Seasonal offerings tops chocolate NPD in 2016, Mintel research shows

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Douglas Yu

By Douglas Yu+

Last updated on 13-Apr-2017 at 10:28 GMT2017-04-13T10:28:39Z

Mintel said 28% of seasonal chocolate confectionery launches were positioned for Easter globally in 2016.  Photo: ©iStock/margouillatphotos
Mintel said 28% of seasonal chocolate confectionery launches were positioned for Easter globally in 2016. Photo: ©iStock/margouillatphotos

Seasonal launches accounted for 25% of global chocolate product launches in 2016, the biggest area of chocolate new product development, according to Mintel Global New Products Database.

The data reflects the fact these products are typically bought to celebrate holidays or special occasions, said Marcia Mogelonsky, director of insight, Mintel.

“With this in mind, seasonal chocolate is somewhat immune to recessionary pressures as these products are bought on an occasional basis,” she added.

However, the global chocolate confectionery category has experienced a slowdown in sales, Mintel data showed.

Changing eating habits caused sluggish chocolate sales

Mintel research suggested that launch activity in the confectionery category overall was somewhat restrained in 2016, as the number of chocolate confectionery launches globally grew by just by 3% between 2015 and 2016.

“In some established markets, volume sales declined during the 2015-to-2016 period. In the US, UK, Germany and France, sales were flat over the two-year period, while sales fell in Russia (-2%), Brazil (-6%) and China (-6%),” Mintel said.

“The only markets among the top 10 globally to see any growth were Poland (2%) and India, which saw an impressive 13% growth increase from 2015 to 2016,” she added.

Mogelonsky explained the changes in per capita chocolate consumption points to an important shift in consumers’ eating habits.

“The big issues revolve around permissibility and the blurring of lines between snacks and confectionery,” she said.

“Even though boundaries are fading, there is still something about chocolate confectionery that has remained constant. Chocolate is still a treat and, as something special, it typically gets a pass. While consumers may be looking for healthier foods, they will trade health for indulgence when it comes to chocolate.”

Easter candies remain popular

In 2016, 28% of seasonal launches were positioned for Easter globally compared to 33% for Christmas, Mintel said, highlighting the popularity of eggs, bunnies and other chocolate treats.

“Those countries accounting for the most chocolate innovation include Brazil, which accounted for 14% of all Easter chocolate product innovation, France with an 11% share and South Africa with a 10% share,” Mintel reported.

Additionally, the National Retail Federation expects Easter spending to reach record levels in the US in 2017 with an average spend of $152 per person, up 4% from last year, this site recently reported.

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