No longer niche: France’s organic chocolate market grows 21%

By Oliver Nieburg

- Last updated on GMT

Organic chocolate sales soar as big brands like Mondelēz's Côte d’Or enter the fray. ©Depositphotos/Anna_Shepulova-
Organic chocolate sales soar as big brands like Mondelēz's Côte d’Or enter the fray. ©Depositphotos/Anna_Shepulova-

Related tags Organic food Organic farming Germany

The French market for bio/organic chocolate tablets grew rapidly last year, according to trade body Syndicat du Chocolat.

The association – whose members include Cémoi and Ferrero – said sales volumes for organic chocolate tablets in France grew +21% to 2,633 metric tons (MT) last year.

This meant organic chocolate represented 3% of the total tablet market last year.

Tablets are the main category in the French chocolate market accounting for 33% of sales volumes in 2016, compared to 9% for countlines.

‘No longer confined to a niche market’

Organic chocolate growth came as nine out of ten French consumers ate organic food last year with 15% claiming to eat organic foods daily, according to Syndicat Du Chocolat.

“The phenomenon is no longer confined to a niche market and the supply of organic products is constantly expanding,”​ said the trade body in a release [French translation].

France’s national certification for organic products is AB (Agriculture Biologique), a label founded in 1985.

AB-certified chocolate complies with European Directive CE 2092/91​ on the organic production of agricultural products without chemicals such as pesticides.

All ingredients for AB-certified chocolate must be 95% organic (cocoa, cocoa butter, sugar cane and dairy). 

Latin American cocoa

Organic cocoa made up only 0.5% (110,000 MT) of world cocoa production in 2013.

Dominican Republic accounted for 63% of global organic cocoa that year, ahead of second-placed Peru.

Europe is the main market for organic chocolate ahead of North America, with the UK, Netherlands, Germany and France the main EU markets, according to Syndicat du Chocolat.

In France, organic chocolate is present mainly in gourmet tablets, making up 12.8% of the sub-segment. Gourmet organic chocolate tablets grew 20% last year in sales volumes, said the trade body.

Organic chocolate players

Organic chocolate sales growth came as overall chocolate market volumes declined. Overall, French chocolate sales volumes dropped -0.9% in 2016 year-on-year to 381,900 metric tons (MT), but value sales grew to €3.48bn ($3.74bn), data from Syndicat du Chocolat shows.

Premium tablet NPD helped accelerate value sales last year, Syndicat du Chocolat’s president previously told this site.

Mondelēz recently launched its ‘Bio Noir’ organic chocolate tablet range under its Côte d’Or brand.

French firms Cémoi, Ethiquable. Alter Eco and Jardin Bio are active in organic chocolate, while major French supermarkets Carrefour and Monoprix also have bio chocolate ranges.

The overall French chocolate market by value sales was led by Ferrero (23%), Lindt (13%) and Mondelēz (10%) in 2016, according to Euromonitor International. 

[Photo credit: Deposit Photos​]

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