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Asia Pacific: India poised to be huge consumer of chocolate, report

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While the global chocolate confectionery market posts slow growth, research from Mintel finds that India is defying the odds as one of the world’s fastest growing chocolate confectionery markets.

Sales of chocolate confectionery in retail markets grew by 13% between 2015 and 2016 in India, followed by Poland which saw sales growth of 2%.

In comparison to the rest of the world, Poland and India were the only two markets to see sales of chocolate grow in 2016, with sales in the US, UK, Germany and France flat over this period, while sales fell in Russia (-2%), Brazil (-6%), and China (-6%).

Data from Mintel also reveals India’s chocolate confectionery market has had a strong compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.9%, in retail market value, between 2011 and 2015, and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 20.6% from 2016 to 2020.

India consumed 228 thousand tons worth of chocolate in 2016.

Other markets that have consumed in excess of 200,000 tons of chocolate last year include France (251,000 tons), Brazil (236,000 tons), and China (202,000 tons).

Meanwhile, Australia and Indonesia consumed 95,000 tons and 94,000 tons worth of chocolate in 2016 (respectively).

The US and the UK, on the other hand, consumed 1.3 million tons and 555,000 tons of chocolate (respectively).

“Our research indicates that consumers in India believe chocolate to be beneficial and convenient – seemingly the key reasons behind the growth of the country’s chocolate confectionery market both in value and volume,” says director of insight, food and drink, Marcia Mogelonsky.

From a consumer study by Mintel, 42% of Indian consumers have eaten sweet or sugary snacks (other than biscuits) like chocolates and cakes from April to June 2016, rising to 53% of consumers aged 18 to 24.

Some 44% of Indian consumers find sweet or sugary snacks like chocolates and cakes to be healthy, while 35% Indians believe these snacks provide them with energy.

Meanwhile, 49% of Indian consumers associate sweet or sugary snacks like chocolates with convenience.

Data from Mintel also reveals 43% of Indians consume sweet or sugary snacks like chocolate and cake between lunch and dinner, with 53% of Indian consumers reporting that they tend to snack in between meals because they get hungry.

Overall, global launch activity in the confectionery category was somewhat restrained in 2016.

The number of chocolate confectionery launches globally grew by just 3% between 2015 and 2016, with seasonal chocolate launches accounting for 25% of global chocolate new product launches.

This was the biggest area of chocolate new product development in 2016, according to Mintel Global New Products Database.

Proving chocolate lovers have a heart, interest in ethical products remains relatively strong, with 17% of new products claiming some sort of ‘ethical-human’ positioning, which could include fair trade, Rainforest Alliance, or some other independent ‘bean-to-bar’ certification.

Although still a small part of the category, accounting for less than 6% of global new product introductions in 2016, launches of chocolate confectionery with an organic claim increased 6% between 2014 and 2016.

Mintel research shows that consumer demand is likely to be the major impetus for more conversion to organic offerings.

In India, as many as 19% of consumers would like to see a wider variety of natural snacks that have no additives or preservatives, for instance.