Sales in France increased by 6.9 per cent in value in 2007 to a total of €2,041.4m.
But estimates for 2008 show just a 0.3 per cent increase to €2,047.8m, said the report, called “France Chocolate Confectionery 2008”, from Snapshots which is part of the Mintel Group.
However this is expected to shoot up in 2009 as growth in value is forecast to see an increase of 2.7 per cent to €2,103.5.
A Mintel spokesperson told Confectionerynews.com that the drop in its growth rate estimation for 2008 was down to the global economic recession which “would highly affect the French chocolate market”.
They added: “We estimate that the market will recover as normal in 2009, and as we see some strong growth, specially in the sales of premium chocolates sector, we estimated that this trend will continue and will contribute to the market growth in 2010.”
Chocolate has been hailed as virtually immune to recession but questions about consumer demand could see prices fall in 2009, according to the International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO).
Also London cocoa prices hit a 23-year high on December 23 when futures closed at £1820 a tonne as speculative investors surged onto the market on the back of reports of extremely tight supply.
Meanwhile, in France, confectionery sales have been targeted by the government in a drive to combat obesity.
In February Health Minister Roselyne Bachelot presented three new measures to help reduce childhood obesity. One of these included the withdrawal of confectionery and sugary products from supermarket checkout counters by the end of June.
Shortly afterwards it was reported that the French supermarket Leclerc planned to withdraw thirteen makes of confectionery from counters by the checkouts. Products near the checkouts make up about 20 per cent of confectionery sales at the supermarket, according to Le Figaro.
According to Snapshots, the largest segment of the French chocolate market in 2007 was tablets, which represented 60.5 per cent by value.
Kraft and Lindt led the field with a 28.8 percent and 18 per cent share of the market by value respectively.
The other segments were loose chocolates, which accounted for 14.9 per cent of the overall market, and bars which made up 24.7 per cent.
In both these segments combined the clear leader was Ferrero with a 47.3 per cent market share in terms of value.
In 2012, the French chocolate market is forecast to reach €2,275.9m, representing a compound annual growth rate of 2.7 per cent since 2007.
The sources for the report were Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU), IRI, AC Nielsen and Snapdata Research. The market estimations were based on estimated macro-economic statistical data such as GDP growth, real industry, and private consumption provided by and industry trends.