As the chocolate candy category grows increasingly fragmented, manufacturers are finding new ways to innovate.
The chocolate segment, which represents 60% of candy industry sales, or nearly $21 billion annually, according to the National Confectioners Association (NCA), is frequently divided into milk, dark and white chocolate types. More broadly, mainstream chocolate is seeing growing competition from premium and what’s known as “fine” chocolate varieties, defined as small, artisan chocolatiers that use the highest quality cocoa.
To navigate all the consumer desires within the chocolate opportunity, Washington, D.C.-based NCA released new survey highlights in collaboration with the Fine Chocolate Industry Association (FCIA).
Released in advance of the Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago, the research found that while preferences for dark, milk and white chocolate vary widely across age groups, a new generation of millennial shoppers is impacting the chocolate retailer experience.
The report divided consumers into three groups: mainstream chocolate, premium choclolate and fine chocolate consumers. The NCA/FCIA survey shows that millennials have an “above average” preference for fine chocolate, purchasing treats at supercenters, specialty/organic or alternative stores.
Fine chocolate consumers also believe that small-batch chocolate possesses superior taste and are willing to seek it out more frequently than other chocolate consumers, according to Bill Guyton, executive director of FCIA.
Click through for nine recent releases across the various chocolate segments.