Chocolate is experiencing lower retail sales as a result of higher prices, forcing major processors to cope by raising prices or reducing package sizes.
After a surge at the height of the pandemic, chocolate sales have been dropping, with a 1.5% decline year-over-year for the 13 weeks ending June 12. Prices during that time went up 8.2%
"We're going to see chocolate becoming more sensitive to price. Consumers will treat themselves, but it will be smaller sizes, a small treat,” an IRI spokesperson told Reuters. A spokesman for Hershey Co. confirmed those numbers to Reuters, saying Hershey’s sales have gone down 2% to 3% in that period.
Consumers have reacted in a variety of ways, including trading down to store-brand chocolate. Normally not a significant portion of overall sales, store-brand chocolate sales grew 8% in the last six months, according to IRI.
Companies have responded in many cases with “shrinkflation” – offering smaller packages for the same price. Hershey, Mondelēz and others have offered smaller versions of standard packages this year.