Godiva CEO says premium chocolates remain ‘very resilient’ ahead of Valentine's Day

By Ryan Daily

- Last updated on GMT

Image Credit: Godiva
Image Credit: Godiva

Related tags Godiva Valentine's day Chocolate confectionery market

The Valentine's Day candy season is poised for growth in 2023 with year-over-year sales expected to grow 5% to around $4bn, despite rising inflation and supply chain issues, according to the National Confectioners Association.

Just as the broader confections market is preparing for a busy Valentine's Day season, one of the leaders in the premium chocolate space Godiva is unveiling a portfolio of holiday offerings​ and readying a market strategy that’ll make “[Godiva] products available in more points of sale,​” Godiva CEO Nurtac Afridi told FoodNavigator-USA.

Godiva CEO Nurtac Afridi

Premium chocolate market still growing

When asked about the impact economic factors will have on consumers, Afridi noted that the chocolate category, and the premium chocolate segment especially, has remained strong despite economic challenges, as consumers look to chocolates for wellness and self-care benefits – a trend from previous Valentine’s Day​. 

"Chocolate is a very resilient category, even during downturns. And with the inflation, which put some pressure …[on] household budgets, the consumers still seek quality and value rather than only focusing on low prices.​"

And as we’ve seen similarly from previous years, “premium chocolate is growing faster than the mass category,​” said Afridi.  

Looking at the broader market, the overall chocolate market is projected to be worth $130bn in 2023, according to a study from chocolate ingredient company Barry Callebaut, Afridi shared. And the U.S. market is worth $17.7bn per retail sales for the 52 weeks leading to October 2022, per IRI market research.

Classic chocolate flavors remain the most popular for Valentine's Day

Though today’s consumers have many options when they purchase Valentine’s Day sweets – from the classic confectionery hearts to sour candies and more – consumers still largely prefer flavors they know, Afridi explained.

When it comes to selecting a snack flavor, six out of ten consumers still prefer flavors they know as opposed to newer flavors, according to a Mondelez snacking survey. For the chocolate category, this means consumers are gravitating towards the milk and dark chocolate flavors, as opposed to trying bolder, more unique flavors, Afridi said.

While dark and rich chocolate flavors are still the main drivers of chocolate flavors, Afridi noted that Godiva consumers are showing interest in berry and red fruit flavor chocolates. With its portfolio, Godiva offers dark cherry cordials, raspberry stars, and chocolate-dipped strawberries (which are available to purchase from Godiva’s website).

Expanding channels to reach consumers anywhere

Godiva is leveraging its nearly 100 years of chocolate-making heritage and an omnichannel market strategy, which includes online and in-store offerings, to reach consumers.

"Instead of expecting [consumers] to go to specific locations where Godiva is present, we are going to those locations where they are shopping other products as well. If they go to a department store for any purchase ... we are present. If they buy groceries or other products in Amazon, Godiva is there.​"

Godiva products are now available to purchase from a range of grocery, department, and drug store while also being available to purchase online through various channels, Afridi said, adding Godiva has also released chocolates in different sizes and occasions, whether that be weddings, graduations, or as a simple thank-you gift.

Godiva takes multi-channel approach to V-Day offerings

For the Valentine’s Day occasion, Godiva has expanded its omni-channel approach to include special limited edition Valentine’s Day offerings for its website, select retailers, and department stores.

For department stores, including Macy's, Kohl's, and Bloomingdales, and Godiva's website, the company released:

  • Valentine's Day Fabric Heart Chocolate Gift Box​: This chocolate box is filled with Godiva chocolates, including ralinés, caramels, truffles, sweet fruits, and crunchy nuts.
  • Valentine's Day Assorted Chocolate Heart Gift Box​: Available in milk and dark chocolate assortments, this chocolate box includes a range of classic Godiva flavors, including Milk Praliné Heart, Midnight Swirl, Raspberry Star, White Praliné Heart, and other chocolates.
  • Heart Tin with Assorted Wrapped Chocolates​: This gold tin includes 12 truffles that are individually wrapped.

And for casual gifting, sharing, and novelty, Godiva released in select local retailers, including Target, CVS, Walgreens, Kroger, Publix, ShopRite, and Walmart, the following products:

  • Godiva Masterpieces Heart Tin​: This new tin features an assortment of milk and dark chocolate ganache hearts, which are individually wrapped.
  • Godiva Goldmark Assorted Heart Gift Box​: An assortment of chocolates, which include individually wrapped Milk Chocolate Hazelnut Heaven and Dark Chocolate Raspberry Velvet.
  • Godiva Goldmark Dark Chocolate Assorted Heart Gift Box​: This dark chocolate assortment includes individually wrapped Dark Chocolate Raspberry Velvet and Dark Chocolate Caramel Embrace and others.

Additionally, Godiva has partnered with jewelry company Le Vian with a special Valentine's Day giveaway. Now through Feb. 15, consumers can enter to win a Godiva X Le Vian Ruby Heart Pendant Necklace by buying a Godiva product and uploading the receipt to GodivaInstantWin.com.

Expanding into new categories, meeting consumers on price

Looking beyond Valentine’s Day, Afridi noted that Godiva is expanding in product categories, pointing to Godiva’s ice cream and coffee business, and hinted at innovation around sugar-free and vegan options – an emerging trend in the larger chocolate category​. But most importantly, Godiva will be looking at what its consumers want and meeting them with “different price points and different formats that fit everyone's needs and each budget,​” she added.

"As we are evolving and innovating as a leader in the premium chocolate category, we are adding new flavors and new packaging innovation in order to meet different purposes of our consumers.​" 

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