A new report from Leatherhead Food Research, Global Players in the Confectionery Industry, forecasts that chocolate sales will rise by around 15 per cent to $93.5bn in the next four years.
The publicationclaims that much of this growth will be generated by the developing world in places such as Africa and the Middle East, and particularly in China and India.
‘In many of these regions, chocolate is less of an established product, since both the warm climates and an underdeveloped infrastructure have traditionally hampered sales.
‘However, chocolate confectionery is gaining acceptance amongst the more affluent consumers in these regions, especially within younger age groups, where it is becoming popular as a snack,” said the researchers.
Central and Eastern Europe also has a growing market for chocolate, claims the report.
The analysts argue that although per capita consumption of chocolate confectionery is higher than the global average throughout much of Western Europe, volume growth has been rather limited in recent years, due to factors such as consumer health concerns and people switching to healthier snacks.
“In some countries, volume sales of chocolate have actually declined since 2004. However, the rising popularity of dark chocolate has aided growth in major markets such as the UK,’ states the publication.
The report notes that the chocolate sector also recorded the fastest increase in market value during 2004 to 2008, with sales rising by almost 19 per cent.
While in the more developed parts of the world, sales of chocolate have been aided by the growing demand for more premium varieties, such as single-origin and Fairtrade products, as consumers become more discerning, continued the researchers.
The report outlines that bite size products for social occasions are also a growth area, particularly in the UK.
Gum and sugar sales
Overall, in 2008, the global confectionery market was worth an estimated $134.85bn, having grown in value by almost 17 per cent compared with levels in 2004, according to the market analysts.
The researchers found that, since 2004, growth in the chewing gum sector, at nearly 16 per cent, has been slightly lower than its chocolate counterpart, falling to around 14 per cent for sugar confectionery.
But the chewing gum and sugar confectionery sectors have also witnessed a recent trend towards more expensive products. The analysts caution though that it remains to be seen whether this consumer trend is maintained in the face of the global economic downturn.
Growth has been rather modest in the sugar confectionery sector, report the authors. They maintain that the market is mature with health concerns over sugar reduction having an impact on consumer choices.
However, the publication notes that the development of healthier products such as sugar-free and medicated sweets, as well as varieties marketed as additive-free, has aided growth in parts of the world.
The sector, said that analysts, has however seen robust growth in Latin America owing to sugar confectionery’s affordability and a taste for spicier sweets has spread to the Hispanic population in the US.
Sales of chewing gum across many parts of the world remain on an upwards trend as a result of its benefits to dental health, although new product activity offering functional health benefits has also contributed towards recent growth, maintain the authors.
‘The fact that more public places throughout the world are banning smoking has also benefited the market, since it has increased the number of people wanting to quit and therefore turning to smoking cessation gums,’ added the researchers.
In terms of confectionery manufacturers, Mars leads the way with revenue of around $16bn last year, states the report.