Healthy, organic, functional chocolate with reduced sugar content is enjoying strong sales growth as consumers look for indulgent snacks good to the body. Global retail sales volumes of health and wellness chocolate are forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 2.6% between 2016 and 2021, according to Euromonitor International. The increase is double the rate of regular chocolate confectionery, which is expected to grow 1.3% CAGR in the same period. In terms of value, global retail sales of healthy chocolate are expected to grow 3.50% by 2021, compared with a 2.30% advance of chocolate confectionery, Euromonitor said.
Fruit and natural flavors
Explosive demand for free-from and organic food products has prompted chocolate makers to innovate their offering by adding natural ingredients, new flavors and emphasize the nutritional aspects of polyphenols and other substances. Dark chocolate bars with crunchy bites of natural fruit such as strawberry and orange, perhaps combined with spicy flavors such as chili pepper, have become a very popular choice for consumers. However, chocolate confectionery’s share of the snack market is expected to decrease from 17.9% in 2002 to 16.2% in 2021 amid a growing variety of healthy sweet snacks. This trend is prompting chocolate makers to refocus on flavor, premium ingredients and elegant packaging. Healthy snacks sales rising. Euromonitor data show that healthy snacks sales will increase by 3% over 2016-2021 compared to conventional snacks, which will only rise by 2%. Western Europe and America are the largest markets for healthy snacks, while traditional indulgence is still very popular in emerging markets. Lianne van den Bos, global lead analyst at Euromonitor, said in the research that all-natural and free-from is redefining the snacking industry. We are now seeing a movement towards healthier snacks such as yogurt, milk drinks, energy bars and nuts, as a growing segment of the non-snack food market is rebranding itself as snack replacements, she said.