Primary market analyst at Leatherhead Jonathan Thomas told ConfectioneryNews that there were opportunities for premium producers in the Dutch confectionery sector in both chocolate and sugar confectionery.
“In the chocolate sector, for example, boxed assortments remain popular with Dutch consumers, and are seen very much as an indulgence. The move towards more expensive forms of sugar confectionery has been illustrated by the growth within the sugar-free sweets market, and I expect this trend to continue.”
In Leatherhead’s latest Confectionery Industry Update it valued the Dutch confectionery market at €1.6bn ($2.1bn) in 2012, up 11.9% since 2008.
Fair trade chocolate
One sub-segment to look out for is fair trade chocolate. Although the Netherlands is one of the smaller European markets for fair trade chocolate, with the category only accounting around 3% of overall chocolate sales, it could be set for growth
“The country is home to FTO (Fair Trade Original), one of the pioneers of the Fairtrade market, and the fact that its product range and turnover has expanded in recent years suggests that future growth can be anticipated within,” said Thomas.
Dutch fair trade chocolate sales amounted to €22m ($29m) in 2011, or 1,000 metric tons in volume terms.
However, chocolate consumption in the Netherlands, at 5.4 kg per capita, is far lower than many Western European nations such as Switzerland (11.9 kg) and the UK (9.5 kg).
Big candy consumption
In contrast, Dutch sugar confectionery consumption (6.2 kg per capita) is higher than many other nations such as Germany (4.8 kg) and the UK (4.6 kg).
Licorice is particular popular and accounts for 30% of value sales in the Dutch sugar confectionery segment.
The Dutch Confectionery Sector in 2012
Sales Value (2012)
Source: Leatherhead Food Research
Mars leads the Dutch chocolate market with a 24% share followed by Nestlé on 20%. Mondelez has a 16% share while Ferrero and Korean confectioner Lotte through its Guylian brand are also present.
Scandinavian firm Cloetta and Dutch-Italian company Perfetti Van Melle lead the sugar confectionery segment. Mars, Werther’s Original maker Storck and Haribo are also major players.
Another market research firm, Canadean, has earmarked gum as the future growth driver in the Netherlands. It told this site in March that the gum category would grow faster than both chocolate and sugar confectionery and said opportunities existed for low-cost functional gums.