Healthy, ethical chocolate taps growing market

By Catherine Boal

- Last updated on GMT

UK speciality chocolate maker Venture Foods has invested in further
innovation to extend its range of Fairtrade, vegan and organic
confectionery.

The on-trend manufacturer has targeted a number of steadily growing niche markets in the global confectionery industry with its Organica range and now hopes to lure in consumers with chocolate sourced from exotic locations. Three new dark chocolate bars were added to the company's portfolio last week and, in common with other Organica products, the chocolate is gluten-free, vegan, certified as organic by the Soil Association and ethically-sourced as Fairtrade. The Tangiers bar contains 65 per cent cocoa solids and include orange oil and orange zest pieces. Also 65 per cent cocoa, the Marrakesh bar contains a mix of cinnamon and nutmeg. The last addition to the line is entitled 'Food of the Gods' and is comprised of solid chocolate with cocoa nibs. All three bars, which are sold from UK health food shops, are clearly intended for the luxury and premium end of the market but will tempt health-conscious consumers as well due to the high cocoa content and chocolate's recently-gained reputation as an antioxidant-rich foodstuff. And the ethical nature of the bars should boost sales as the market for conscious-led shopping grows. The UK's Fairtrade Foundation announced yesterday that sales of Fairtrade certified products rose 46 per cent to reach an estimated retail value of £290 million (€290m) in 2006. In addition, the organisation predicted the market was set to grow and said 2007 sales were already running at an annual rate of at least £300 million (€446m).

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