The global premium chocolate market is projected to witness steady growth over the forecast period (2017 to 2025). Rising awareness regarding adverse effects of synthetic food products on consumer health has driven preference for organic products, a trend that has emerged as one of the major factors driving the market. Growing popularity of premium foods has also resulted in new product launches in the market, which is likely to contribute to industry expansion. From 2011 to 2015, the trend of product innovation in the premium segment grew by around 70% globally and over 7% of the chocolates launched in 2015 were labeled premium. A number of large- and small-scale manufacturers are focusing on diversifying their product portfolio by introducing premium products.
For example, Nestlé S.A. recently launched a new range of chocolates to expand its operations in India. Made in Switzerland, the new product range is made from solely organic ingredients and contains whole pieces of fruits and nuts, creating a product that is both unique and delicious. Similarly, Parle Products Pvt. Ltd. launched new super-premium brand to cater to escalating demand for premium products. However, premium chocolates are more expensive than traditional chocolates, which may hamper global demand and have a negative impact on market growth. In addition, fluctuating prices of raw materials such as milk powder, cocoa beans, and sugar could lead to increase in production costs, thereby increasing the price of the final product. This can also said to hinder market growth.
On the contrary, high demand for organic, vegan, gluten-, and sugar-free products as a result of increasing health consciousness is projected to be a lucrative factor for vendors. Furthermore, increased consumer disposable income levels, particularly in emerging regions, is estimated to fuel product demand over the next few years.
Dark, white, and milk premium chocolates are the major product types. Dark chocolates are expected to witness greater demand over other variants owing to increased awareness about their health benefits. In recent years, many manufacturers have been incorporating organic sweeteners, such as coconut sugar and stevia, to meet rising demand for healthier products. This is also estimated to spur the growth of the product segment over the coming years.
Major regional markets in the global industry include Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa, and the Americas. Middle East and Africa is expected to be one of the key markets during the forecast years. Presence of leading suppliers of cocoa beans such as Ghana and Ivory Coast in Africa is expected to drive the regional market. Asia Pacific is likely to witness high growth on account of rising product demand and increasing consumer disposable income levels.
The Americas and Europe are also expected to register significant growth on account of strong presence of prominent chocolate manufacturers, such as Hershey's and Ferrero. Most companies in the global market have undertaken several business expansion strategies such as M&A to gain a competitive advantage. They also invest in research and development activities to introduce innovative chocolates and associated products. For instance, Lees introduced new range of Meringue Shells with dark Belgian chocolate. ITC Ltd. recently launched Ruby Chocolates through their luxury brand Fabelle in India. Some of the leading companies operating in the global premium chocolate market are Chocoladefabriken Lindt & Sprüngli AG; Ferrero SpA; Mondelēz International, Inc.; and The Hershey Company.
Research Support Specialist, USA