U.S. chocolate market to reach $18 billion by 2011

by FoodBusinessNews.net Staff
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NEW YORK — The U.S. chocolate market is set to grow to $18 billion by 2011 from $16 billion in 2006, according to "The U.S. Market for Chocolate," a new report from consumer market research firm Packaged Facts.

"Even in categories such as gift box chocolates, which saw a notable decline in the last year, brands such as Ghirardelli and Lindt that are targeting a more hip and upscale clientele are seeing tremendous success," said Tatjana Meerman, publisher of Packaged Facts. "We expect that the trend toward high-end products, especially those touting wellness benefits, will be the life force in this market for the next several years."

The main factors driving the market are the reported benefits of dark chocolate and a general trend to product premiumization. The market share for premium chocolate rose from 13% of the total market in 2002 to almost 17% in 2006, and Packaged Facts estimates this market will grow to 25% market share and $2.5 billion in sales by 2011.

Market gains happened mostly through price increases as opposed to increased unit sales in 2006. The higher-prices premium trend has helped stimulate the market and prevent steady declines in other categories, including the sugar-free/diet, gift and novelty products segments.

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