Chocolate: The Recession-Proof Good

When looking at the global chocolate market, one could comment that it is a recession-proof commerce. Despite the troubled state of the global economy, the market for chocolate is still growing steadily, leading to the conclusion that chocolate is a small, affordable luxury which people still choose to indulge in.

The global chocolate market is dominated by five large multinationals [protected]including Mondelez (former Kraft Foods), Ferrero, Nestlé, Lindt & Sprüngli and Mars. The confectionery market, of which chocolate represents 55%, is expected to reach sales of $208 billion within the next 4 years.

It is thought that innovation will be the key to growth: large players, including Cadbury and Mondelez have noted that their new products and brand extensions are their fastest growing products. New ingredients and flavors such as combining chocolate with jelly, fruit juice, nuts and sweets are proving popular among customers seeking more varied and original choices. This has led to many innovative products, including Milka’s chocolate combined with sweet and savory biscuits in some parts of Europe.[1]  We can therefore expect to see many brand extensions, and increased product launches in the near future to expand business.

The recent growth in the chocolate market has been remarkable, both in terms of value and volume. When it comes to value, the US, the UK, Brazil, Germany and Russia compose the top five markets.[2] That said, it is emerging economies, such as China, India, Indonesia, Mexico and Eastern Europe that show the most potential for growth, with the Asia-Pacific region predicted to develop the fastest in the next few years.

The example of India is particularly interesting seen as it is currently the fastest growing market globally. The chocolate industry there has registered a growth of 15% per annum from 2008 to 2012. In the future, this should be even stronger.[3] It seems that one of the main reason behind the success of chocolate in some Asian countries, is not only a taste for sweetness, but it is rather a cultural trend. These countries have a strong gift-giving culture and chocolates prove an original, varied and sometimes exotic present – a definite point for Occidental chocolate producers to keep in mind when selling to those countries.

This incredibly strong market will prove more and more competitive for global players. Not only will confectionery producers need to be more innovative to please customers with more diverse tastes than ever before, they will need to be proactive and strategic when it comes to international expansion. This will allow them to reach new, sometimes untapped markets, where there is much room for growth though this may involve strong marketing and advertising strategies and product adaptation.[/protected]