The report found 24% of British consumers say they have bought chocolate confectionery in the last three months to boost their mood, while 64% of Chinese consumers agree that eating chocolate is an effective way to relieve stress.
Health-conscious consumers are minority
According to Mintel’s director of insight, Marcia Mogelonsky, chocolate gives people permission to indulge and to seek comfort.
“Consumers justify their chocolate consumption in many ways, and the top reason for eating chocolate has little to do with health and wellness, unless the psychological wellbeing enjoyed when eating a treat can be considered a health positioning,” she said.
Even though some Europeans chocolate eaters believe the product is healthy, they are in minority, Mogelonsky added. The report shows only 9% of German chocolate eaters believe the product is healthy, compared to 26% in Spain.
“The top reasons for consuming chocolate revolve around treating and cravings,” Mogelonsky said.
Emotional power instead of functionality
The biggest takeaway for the chocolate industry from this report is that chocolate confectionery has an appeal beyond functionality, according to Mogelonsky. For confectioners, she said that positioning of chocolate could probably benefit from emphasizing its emotional power.
“For example, only 17% of chocolate eaters agree that health plays a role in their chocolate candy purchase decision. That suggests that chocolate provides ‘something more,’ and that ‘something more’ comes from the emotional satisfaction chocolate delivers.”
In addition, the Mintel report shows chocolate eaters are looking for new and innovative flavors, especially Asia-inspired ones, such as wasabi and tea.
“44% of chocolate buyers in the UK say they're prompted to buy chocolate when they see new flavors in-store, whilst 21% of chocolate candy buyers in the US say they usually buy new types of the treat when they see them,” the report says.
Health has an impact on Millennial purchase
While chocolate’s mood-boosting properties are the main purchase driver, health's impact on Millennial purchase decisions cannot be ignored, the report says.
“This group is more likely than other generation groups to say health plays a role in their chocolate purchase,” the report says. “They are more likely to say premium chocolate is healthier than standard varieties, and are more likely than any other generation groups to say they are willing to pay more for healthier chocolate.”