Organic chocolate firm Green & Black’s, acquired by Cadbury in 2005, soared from 399th place to 53rd in a new brand survey that asked over 2000 UK consumers to vote on 1,350 popular consumer brands from non-food and food industries.
But the flight of the Green & Black’s brand, with its vibrant fairtrade status, compares with the plight of other chocolate brands such as Mars, which fell out of the top 100, dropping 117 places to 175 in the 2008 survey conducted by the UK’s Centre for Brand Analysis (CBA).
In today’s tough market climate, brands are increasingly perceived as a powerful weapon in a company’s armoury to attract consumers and to lock into their loyalty.
And for chocolate makers, the CBA survey suggests brands that project ethical concerns or boast a luxury positioning, particularly dark chocolate, are among the most valuable assets a firm may possess in the fight for market share.
While Cadbury slid from 10th position to 19th position, premium chocolate makers Lindt and Thornton’s both rose up the CBA table, with Thornton’s moving to 18th position.
Luxury brand Ferrero Rocher came in at 131, but the remaining eight chocolate brands that made it into the top 500 were all below the 200 mark. Toblerone, After Eight, Bendicks, Galaxy and Quality Street came in at 218, 236, 238, 271 and 302 positions respectively.
Iconic brand Kit Kat reached 416th position and Maltesers rounded the list off at number 500.
Findings from the CBA survey, that selected brands for their quality, reliability and distinctiveness, supports recent research from analysts Mintel that suggested growth in the dark chocolate segment is mushrooming with the consumer desire for a slice of luxury.
Although chocolate aficionados are buying less, they are splashing-out on more premium varieties when they do make a purchase.
"Even though people are still cutting back on the amount of chocolate they eat, sales in the two years to 2007 saw no less than a 10 per cent increase in value," states the Mintel report.
A figure that amply shades a mere 1 per cent growth between 2003 and 2005.
Likewise, fairtrade products are witnessing growing demand from consumers in the shopping aisle. According to market analysts Organic Monitor, in 2007 the global fairtrade market pulled in €25.8 bn, representing a massive 47 per cent rise on the previous year.