Sweet-toothed Aussie youngsters build platform for chocolate spreads

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock

Related tags Australia

While nowhere near as popular as salty spreads like Vegemite and peanut butter, or as widely consumed as honey or jam, chocolate and hazelnut spreads have gained a definite cult following among certain sections of the Australian population. 

In an average week, 6.4% of Australians—or just over 1.2m people—eat Nutella or a similar brand of spread. While this figure pales in comparison to Vegemite, Marmite and Promite (which are consumed by 40.2% of the population), jams (31.5%), peanut butter (30.0%) and honey (29.4%), it still has a more youthful demographic unlike most of the old favourites, which tend to be most popular among those over the age of 50. 

Consumption of chocolate/hazelnut spread by age/gender

Teenage girls aged 14-17 are the most avid consumers of chocolate spreads, being almost three times more likely than average to eat Nutella and its counterparts each week (18.6%). Boys are close behind (17.5%), as are young women aged 18-24 (16%)—after which the consumption rate drops off quite steeply, bottoming out among older Australians. 

Age is not the only factor influencing a person’s taste for chocolate and hazelnut spreads, with ethnic background also appearing to have some relevance. While a modest 6.0% of Australian-born consumers eat it in an average seven days, the rate jumps among those born in Asian countries such as the Philippines (24.4%), China (10.5%) and Malaysia (9.5%). Moreover, 17.2% of Australians born in the Middle East and 14.0% of those hailing from America enjoy these spreads. 

Conversely, consumption is almost negligible among Australians born in New Zealand (3.5%) and India (3.4%). 

According to Andrew Price of Roy Morgan Research, which carried out the research, chocolate spread manufacturers need to develop to extend the “cachet” these have already gained.

The challenge for brands is to broaden their customer base across age groups, while ensuring their young consumers continue to enjoy eating them as they get older​,” he said.

Data shows that targeting consumers from different ethnic backgrounds could be one effective way of growing their market share. It also reveals that Aussies who eat choc/hazelnut spreads in an average seven days are markedly more likely than the average Australian to satisfy their sweet tooth with chocolate, lollies and sweet biscuits during that same period​.

Could this be a cross-promotional campaign waiting to happen? Or even the basis for a whole new product – a Nutella-filled chocolate bar, perhaps​?”

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