The amount of cocoa processed in the region – an indicator of demand for chocolate – was up 6% in Q4 2013 to 348,406 metric tons (MT).
This drove the full year European grind up 3% to 1,329,485 MT – a significant improvement on 2012 when the grind dropped 10% on the prior year.
Europe’s largest chocolate producer, Germany, reported an 8% increase in Q4, but the full year German grind was 3% lower than in 2012 mainly due to changes in the way Germany reported its figures.
Euromonitor: Europe chocolate sales set for growth
But, do the positive results signal high times for European chocolate producers?
Euromonitor valued the Western European chocolate confectionery market at $38bn in retail value sales in 2013, up 2% on the previous year.
The research organization projects that the chocolate market in Western European will grow 16% in the next five years to reach $44.2bn in retail value sales.
But slower than global market
However, this is at a slower rate than the global chocolate confectionery market, which is projected to rise 37% over the same period.
The increase in Western Europe will be propelled by the regions’ most popular chocolate format, the tablet. The tablet segment is forecast to increase retail sales 22% in the next five years, compared to 17% for seasonal chocolate, 12% for countlines and 7.9% for boxed assortments.
However, Euromonitor’s head of packaged foods Lamine Lahouasnia said this did not indicate a similar boom for premium chocolate as seen in the US.
“Unlike North America, the trend toward premium chocolates isn’t really expected to occur as unit prices for chocolate confectionery are already on the high side compared to North America and the rest of the world and higher priced formats such as tablets already occupy a far more prominent space on Western Europe confectionery aisles.”