Rockville, MD — The rising profile for premium chocolate items are pushing the overall candy category, according to Packaged Facts, which notes the sector has spurred innovations around ingredients, particularly for clean labels, and charts the path for flavor trends.
While everyday chocolate still accounts for a vast majority of the market, year-on-year sales growth has been negligible, the researcher reports. However, premium chocolate, which makes up just 18 percent of the market, had sales gains of 5 percent compared with the year prior.
This growth is spurring players in the premium market to develop ways to appeal to a wider audience, according to Packaged Facts, giving as examples Lindt & Sprüngli’s acquisition of Russell Stover Chocolate and the launch of its moderately priced Hello line. Other demographic-expanding activities include adoption of mass-market brands’ strategies such as introducing bite-size items and standup pouches.
For smaller manufacturers quality and purity are vital, with ingredients’ origins being a key factor.
“The premium segment thrives on dark chocolate, single origins and inclusions of healthy ingredients, such as lavender and blueberry,” says David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts. “These play to the perception of luxury and authenticity. Product claims usually also note natural ingredients and, to an increasing degree, ethical certification.”