WASHINGTON – The National Confectioners Association today released a detailed look at chocolate consumers which 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 retail experience. The Fine Chocolate Industry Association underwrote the report and assisted in developing the survey questionnaire, and the research was conducted by 210 Analytics.
“This deep analysis of the chocolate consumer should be helpful to everyone in the industry – from manufacturers to suppliers and our retail customers,” John Downs, NCA president & CEO, said. “Understanding how people enjoy chocolate helps us develop a clearer idea of what lies ahead for this very important part of the confectionery industry. Chocolate is a significant piece of our industry, representing about 60 percent of the confectionery industry’s sales, or nearly $21 billion annually.”
The report explains the demographics of the chocolate consumer as well as overall chocolate purchasing patterns. Providing choice to the consumer continues to be key as the preferences for types of chocolate, cacao percentages, and added flavors or ingredients vary widely across age groups and demographics.
“The insights show that Millennials are changing purchasing patterns for chocolate, with an above average preference for fine chocolate and likelihood for purchasing treats at supercenters, specialty/organic stores and alternative channels,” Anne-Marie Roerink, principal and founder of 210 Analytics LLC, said. “In line with the generation’s socially conscious reputation, we found that Millennial shoppers also demonstrate a clear preference for certifications and specific production and ingredient claims.”
The report also divides chocolate consumers into three segments, with distinct definitions for a mainstream chocolate consumer, a premium chocolate consumer and a fine chocolate consumer. Findings from the report indicate that the fine chocolate consumer explores a variety of channels to locate small artisan chocolatiers that source high quality cacao.
“We found that the fine chocolate consumer is generally younger, more socially conscious and more driven by experimentation and trial, even if they already have a favorite chocolatier,” Bill Guyton, Executive Director of FCIA, said. “Fine chocolate consumers believe small-batch chocolate has a superior taste and are willing to seek it out, visiting farmer’s markets, festivals and specialty online channels more frequently than other chocolate consumers.”
More insights into the chocolate consumer can be found in the key findings and executive summary. Interested parties can learn more at the “Getting to Know the (Fine) Chocolate Consumer” session at the 2019 Sweets & Snacks Expo at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, May 22. Register for the Expo here.
About the National Confectioners Association (NCA)
The National Confectioners Association is the trade organization that advances, protects and promotes chocolate, candy, gum and mints, and the companies that make these special treats. As the leading association for the U.S. confectionery industry, NCA helps ensure the public understands and appreciates the unique role that chocolate and candy can play in a happy, balanced lifestyle. Confections are produced in all 50 states, creating jobs for approximately 54,000 workers in more than 1,300 manufacturing facilities across the country. For every job created in confectionery manufacturing, another ten are supported in related industries. In total, more than 607,000 American jobs are supported by the U.S. confectionery industry. America’s leading chocolate and candy companies support the Always A Treat Initiative, a commitment to transparency, portion guidance and choice, and consumer education. Learn more at CandyUSA.com, or follow NCA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About the Fine Chocolate Industry Association (FCIA)
The Fine Chocolate Industry Association is the only organization focused 100% on supporting fine chocolate professionals. it promotes the artistry and craftsmanship of the chocolate professional focused on producing superior products made from premium chocolate and natural ingredients. It believes in using best practices in cacao processing and chocolate production; and transparent labeling and marketing practices. FCIA’s mission is to promote quality, innovations, ethical sourcing, and best practices in the fine chocolate industry from tree to bar and bonbon. This can be achieved by communicating with consumers, educating chocolate professionals, helping define standards, and building partnerships to strengthen the value chain while preserving fine cacao varieties.