Market Trends - Dutch confectionery sector

Premium confectionery drive in the Netherlands, says Leatherhead

By Oliver Nieburg

- Last updated on GMT

Fair trade chocolate, sugar-free candy and boxed chocolates to keep the windmills spinning in the Netherlands
Fair trade chocolate, sugar-free candy and boxed chocolates to keep the windmills spinning in the Netherlands

Related tags Netherlands Confectionery Belgium

Boxed chocolates, sugar-free candy and fair trade chocolate are likeliest to succeed in the increasingly premium Dutch confectionery market, according to an analyst at Leatherhead Food Research.

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)

Chocolate confectionery

€740m ($979m)

Sugar confectionery

€672m ($889m)


€192m ($254m)

Overall confectionery

€1.6bn ($2.1bn)

Source: Leatherhead Food Research

Market shares

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.

Related topics Markets Chocolate Premium

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