These factors trumped other factors such as price, flavor, packaging, sale location, size and location of production, according to the results of the survey that was based on interviews with 2002 Brazilian consumers.
Younger consumers and consumers in southeast Brazil primarily associate premium chocolates with certain brands. Consumers in south Brazil and more affluent consumer groups tend to define a premium chocolate by the quality of its ingredients, said ABICAB vice president Ubiracy Fonseca, in a presentation of the survey results at the Latin American Chocolate Congress (ChocoLatino) on September 11.
While Brazil is a chocolate-loving country and remains the world’s third largest market for chocolate confectionery, “there is still low access and experimentation with products containing higher quantities of cocoa and with imported chocolate”, said Fonseca in his presentation.
“It is the more affluent classes and the young who experiment the most.”
Nestlé leads the overall Brazilian chocolate market with a value share of 41.6% through brands such as Garoto, Especialidades and Alpino. CacauShow is fourth but is the most consumed brand in specialized-premium chocolate outlets.
Medium class driving growth
In order to get better insight into the penetration of premium chocolate products across Brazil, ABICAB established that 764 municipalities in the country fulfill two important criteria: They have at least 20,000 inhabitants and at least one premium chocolate store.
ABICAB mapped 3,254 premium chocolate stores in these 764 municipalities, including 76% franchise stores and 24% independent or licensed stores. The premium chocolate sector could reach 7,305 stores across Brazil by 2020 – equivalent to a 14% expansion per year.
“This target figure refers to the expansion of existing market players and the entrance of new players in the segment. This movement is propelled by the middle class, which has already been sustaining the strong growth of this market segment for years, because they wish ever more sophisticated products,” said ABICAB’s director of premium chocolates, Caio Tomazeli.
Premium accounts for around 7% of chocolate sales
The premium chocolate market has been growing at 20% and broached 30,000 t recently, but it is still a small proportion of the 473,000 t Brazilians consume each year.
“For industry and retailers, this means more business opportunities; for consumers it represents a diversification of supply of higher quality products.”
More than a third of all premium chocolate stores in Brazil are located in Sao Paulo state (1259 stores), followed by 372 in Rio de Janeiro, 276 stores in Minas Gerais, 257 in Rio Grande do Sul and 220 in Parana state.
Chocolate consumption in Brazil
Brazilians average an annual per capita chocolate consumption of 2.5 kg per year, a rate that far exceeds other emerging markets such as China (1.2 kg) and India (0.7 kg) but is lower than Russia (5.9 kg).
The dark chocolate sector accounts for a larger share of the overall retail value sales for chocolate in China (34%) than it does in Brazil (6%), according to data from Euromonitor International.
Brazilian consumers prefer the chocolate candy box format, which is the principal product of all the large brands. In the specialized chocolate stores that focus on premium chocolate, chocolate truffles are the most popular format.