The potential health benefits of premium dark chocolate versus higher sugar, higher fat mass-market counterparts are causing consumers to reevaluate their attitudes toward the gourmet chocolate market, the study reveals. Overall sales in this segment have been on the rise in recent years, growing to a retail value of $243 million (€198m) in 2003.
Conducted by market research publisher Packaged Facts and entitled Market Trends: The U.S. Market for Gourmet Chocolate, the report finds that sixty nine percent of Americans agree that rich, dark chocolate is an upscale, indulgent alternative to standard off-the-shelf chocolate varieties.
Overall, the gourmet chocolate market has enjoyed a vitality that is seemingly missing from the mass market, which the study says is due to innovative niche marketers, the increased availability of better quality chocolates and the highly publicised health benefits of dark chocolates.
"American consumers like to have their cake, or in this case candy, and eat it too," said Don Montuori, Acquisitions Editor for Packaged Facts."And the darker chocolate varieties offer a healthier, and for retailers profitable option with which we can satisfy this type of indulgence."
The U.S. Gourmet Chocolate Market offers insight and analysis into new product trends, demographic shifts, and consumer behaviors that are affecting the marketplace for gourmet chocolates. It concentrates on the premium market, but also addresses boutique marketers and mass-market manufacturers that offer upscale products.Scientific studies have in the past shown that dark chocolate has a number of health-giving properties, including the potential to reduce heart disease and even cancer. Furthermore the high antioxidant properties that are said to reduce such symptoms are said to far outstrip its milk chocolate counterparts The full report is available for from the publisher, Packaged Facts.