Whether consumers are ready to splurge or watching their budgets, they're still finding the cash to spend on chocolate candy. That's the word from Packaged Facts, which issued an outlook that indicates the $22-billion chocolate candy market is in for even sweeter sales. Some 81 percent of consumers eat chocolate, the market research firm has found, and the future of the U.S. chocolate candy market looks bright, despite Americans' concerns about health and wellness, obesity and weight management.
The focus of a publication entitled, "Chocolate Candy in the U.S., 10th Edition," U.S. chocolate candy sales by 2018 should exceed $26 billion for the first time, the firm expects, up from roughly $22 billion in sales estimated by the end of this year.
Though the industry is faced with public issues about the cocoa farming process and the short-term challenges involved with the supply of cocoa, overall, chocolatiers are poised for continued growth, based on many positive trends unfolding in the market. What's more, Packaged Facts says, the chocolate candy category is quite dynamic. It's filled with innovation, an influx of creative new players and a steady flow of new products engaging consumers.
Several factors support continued growth for chocolate candy: sales continue to grow despite the economy, underlining consumers love of chocolate; the notion that the product is an accessible indulgence, which creates opportunities for consumers to trade up to premium products; and the research and perceptions that support the status of cocoa and chocolate as superfood.
"Despite some reports that Americans are starting to eat healthier overall, we still have a long way to go," states George Puro of Puro Research Group, who authored the report. The consumption of sugary drinks has gone down more than consumption of dessert. Chocolate continues to be a small indulgence that Americans aren't willing to give up."
Puro says chocolate sales have grown because chocolate manufacturers have raised prices, partially to offset the increase in commodity prices.