The European cocoa grind, an indicator of demand for chocolate products, fell 3.9% compared to the same quarter last year to 339,377 metric tons (MT).
The figures are obtained from the bean usage of 27 firms including ADM, Barry Callebaut, Cargill, Ferrero, Mondelez and Nestlé.
Debt crisis impact
Francisco Redruello, senior food analyst at Euromonitor International, told ConfectioneryNews.com that the weak grindings were consistent with projections for chocolate sales in the EU.
“Demand in the EU area will be dampened by the current debt crisis in peripheral economies.”
“Chocolate confectionery sales [retail volume] in Greece will decline by 2% in 2013, and so will do in Portugal (-2%) and Spain (-0.2%),” he said.
The German grind posted a 13% decline to 97,999 MT during the quarter.
“In Germany, obesity concerns and competition from snack bars and sweet and savory snacks will result in chocolate confectionery sales declining by 1% in 2013,” said Redruello.
Asia and North America
According to figures from Euromonitor, Western Europe has the largest retail volumes for chocolate, around 1m tons more than North America.
Euromonitor forecasts that chocolate retail volumes will grow in all regions globally from 2012 to 2013. It is anticipating a 1% rise in Western Europe, a modest 0.03% in North America and a 5.2% hike in Asia.
“The cocoa grindings picture will be far more lively in Asia Pacific. Chocolate confectionery sales in this region are projected to rise by 5% in retail volume during 2013, according to our estimates,” said Redruello.
The North America cocoa grind is expected tomorrow.
“We expect cocoa grindings in North America to be flat or slightly declining this year. Chocolate confectionery sales in North America are forecasted to stagnate in retail volume during 2013, according to our projections,” added the analyst.